By Jon King
Special to the Town Crier
A female Pacific Crest Trailer hiker, Konstanze, 35, of Austria, was hiking with a small group near San Jacinto Peak on Wednesday, March 28, when she slipped and injured her knee. It seemed to be fine, but once they stopped at the emergency hut near the peak, she could no longer move it or put any weight on it.
One of the members of her group was able to reach me by text from the summit. They contacted me directly as a result of my website, San Jacinto Trail Report (sanjacjon.com), which gives current trail information for our area.
I evaluated the situation and it was clear her injury was bad enough that I couldn’t assist on my own. Through my search-and-rescue contacts, a Riverside County Sheriff’s Department helicopter carrying colleagues from the Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit was organized to remove the woman from the mountain.
The helicopter first attempted to extract her Wednesday evening, but winds were too strong for a hoist. The subject spent the night, along with six fellow PCT hikers, in the emergency summit hut. Fortunately for them, overnight temperatures were relatively warm for the time of year.
I hiked to the peak on Thursday morning to assist and the helicopter returned just after 9:30 a.m. with two colleagues from RMRU to safely hoist Konstanze from immediately in front of the summit hut.
She was taken to the Valley Station of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and taken by ground transportation from there.