Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit team, Les Walker (right) and Donny Goetz (center), prepare to lower injured hiker down Tahquitz Rock. Photo by Chad Marler


CalFire helicopter 301 attempts to lower a rescuer down to help hoist the patient out, but when winds picked up, they were forced to retreat. The injured climber had to be hiked out by ground crews. Photo by Jenny Kirchner

Approximately 50 personnel responded to reports of an injured climber on “Angel’s Fright” on Tahquitz Rock on Sunday, Sept. 23.


A man in his mid 50s climbing with his two sons at the iconic climbing destination fell about 15 to 20 feet and caught his foot on a rock edge in the fall. He sustained either a sprain or a break according to Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit volunteers on the scene.

Shifting winds made it impossible for a responding helicopter to lower a medic to the injured climber. As a result, the RMRU team consisting of Les Walker and Donny Goetz conducted a technical rescue of the injured man that required placing him in a litter and belaying him to a point where first responders could conduct medical evaluation and transport if needed.

The rescue concluded around 6 p.m. according to Walker when his team handed the subject over to waiting fire personnel. According to the CAL FIRE information sheet, the man refused medical treatment at the scene.

Agencies called out at about 12:30 p.m. included CAL FIRE, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Idyllwild Fire Protection District, Mercy Air Ambulance and the Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit.

Personnel from CAL FIRE and Idyllwild Fire all pull out the binoculars to try to locate an injured climber on Angels Fright trail on Sunday afternoon. The climber, a male in his 50s, sustained moderate injuries to his lower extremities according to a Riverside County Fire press release. Photo by Jenny Kirchner


Emergency personnel from Idyllwild Fire, USFS and CalFire try to locate an injured climber on Sunday afternoon near Angels Fright trail. Photo by Jenny Kirchner


Riverside County Fire has a pow wow to make a plan of action to help rescue an injured climber on Sunday afternoon. Photo by Jenny Kirchner


Bautista hand crews hiked in to help in the rescues efforts. Photo by Jenny Kirchner


The USFS Tahquitz crew were briefed on the situation before hiking in. Photo by Jenny Kirchner


Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit sets up a base to handle radio communications with the volunteers on the trail. Photo by Jenny Kirchner


Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit volunteers prepare to hike in to help rescue an injured hiker on Sunday afternoon at Humber Park. Photo by Jenny Kirchner


  1. Just because he refused treatment at base camp doesn't mean he didn't need the help of rescuers to get down. Often time treatment at base is refused to avoid a costly ambulance ride to the hospital when they can just as easily be driven by a friend. A sprained ankle is more than enough to require rescue from high on a mountain but doesn't require transport to the hospital by ambulance once you've been brought down.

  2. I was up there hiking myself the day this occurred. The rescue people were very professional and friendly. I just could not believe how many they sent. There had to be at least 50 people, from various depts that I passed on the trail. Not to mention the crew that was already up there. I asked if this was also a training situation and hey said "no"?? So not quite sure what to think about all that?