According to a Mt. San Jacinto State Parks report, rangers received a 911 call from the Riverside County Sheriff’s on Saturday of a single male adult trapped in snow and ice on the Skyline (Cactus to Clouds) Route. State Parks personnel responded.
The 29-year-old male with his dog was located a half-mile southeast of the trail at the 7,600-foot level. The man, clad only in short-sleeve shirt and shorts, was lying in the snow and shivering uncontrollably.
Other hikers, better prepared for the conditions, were also located in the same area. Nightfall was approaching and, with no special gear for the icy conditions, park personnel called for Riverside County Sheriff’s Aviation Unit Star 90 helicopter for an aerial evacuation. But owing to high winds, none of the hikers could be airlifted that night.
Park personnel led the hikers to a more suitable hoisting location. Star 90 later dropped some winter gear to ensure the subjects’ survival during the night.
At day break, Star 90 was able to hoist all hikers, the dog and the rescue personnel, landing them safely in the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway parking lot.
The Media Information Bureau of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department stated, “At this time, we can confirm we received the call to assist State Parks with the hikers on the Skyline Trail. They had staff on the ground. Our helicopter did provide support and drop off supplies, and began the extraction of three hikers and rescue staff just before 8 a.m. the next morning.”
The Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit also was activated and was on standby, according to the MIB.
The Skyline Route is not recommended because of 3 to 4 feet of snow and ice on the eastern side of the mountain.