Thursday, August 6, 2009

John Muir Trail-Mammoth to Tuolumne Meadows (California) - Mountain Rescue

John Muir Trail - Mammoth to Tuolumne Meadows

This journey was a trip down to California to bag a reach of the John Muir Trail. Instead of hiking the trail in as little as 6 days as I've heard some people do, I have been climbing over the JMT passes for 6 years. Each year I have completed a reach of several dozen miles finding solitude at a slow moving clip.
Above Duck Lake

This year was originally a hike from Mammoth to the trail end at Yosemite National Park. However, as it always is in the backcountry, you need to stay flexible with your plans. Paul and I met Kastle (rhymes with Nestle) and John in Mammoth to begin the trek. 
John and Kastle mock the flow out of the Thousand Lakes basin.

JMT just north of Duck Pass.
Donahue Pass on the north side.
Chuck and Paul ham it up on the trail.
Chuck after a swim at Duck Lake.
Basin just north of Mt. Lyell.
Banner Peak at sunset

Snow north of Donahue Pass on August 7th!

Our pretty little hike took a scary turn. We were about 10 miles in from the nearest trailhead and we came across a young woman who was in a panic. She spoke a moderate amount of English and explained to us that her father was laying in a meadow and could not move. He was complaining of internal problems possibly related to surgery he'd recently had.

The woman had tried to get other hikers to stop and help, but no one would. She explained that even a pair of nurses had past by and she that he should just hike out. This guy was clearly NOT going anywhere when we found him. John, an experienced backcountry trip leader didn't hesitate. He took the role of first responder and for the next few hours we all jumped in. A CHP helicopter was called in to lift the man out of the backcountry and to the hospital.

The video below shows a short summary of the experience. We never learned what happened to the victim...

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