Hikers plucked from base of Sierra alp
Two hikers, who became disoriented while descending from Matterhorn Peak near Bridgeport, were rescued with the help of a California Highway Patrol helicopter on July 1.
The group of three hikers set out from Horse Creek Trailhead on June 30, agreeing to turn around at 5 p.m. to make sure they were back at the trailhead before dark.
Two of the hikers made it to the base of West Couloir at about 4:30 p.m., dropped their packs and started their ascent.
The third hiker lagged behind, but realizing he couldn’t make the climb, stayed with the gear. He saw his comrades make the ridgeline toward the summit.
When at 8:40 p.m., when the pair hadn’t returned, the third hiker bivouacked for the night to avoid traveling the steep trail at night.
The next morning the hiker waited a couple of more hours for the rest to return before he hiked to the trailhead to get help.
At about 12:30 p.m. Mono County Search and Rescue were called and 16 responded to the area. They received good information from the hiker.
California Highway Patrol Helicopter H40 was requested to conduct an aerial search of the area and provide rescue assistance once the hikers were located.
Five Search and Rescue teams went into the field to search the area. At about 5:40 p.m. the helicopter located the hikers.
The helicopter was able to find a landing spot and contact the hikers, who were exhausted and out of food and water.
They said they couldn’t find the upper entrance to the Couloir, so they found shelter in some rocks and in the morning they retraced their route back to where the packs were before being flown out by the helicopter.