Inyo SAR on Mt. Whitney

Thursday night, reports of a severely hypothermic woman unable to walk, filtered down the Mt. Whitney trail by word of mouth.

When three volunteers with Inyo County Search and Rescue arrived at the Whitney Portal trailhead, they met many hikers with similar reports, including the sick womans husband who said that his wife, Mary Jane, was still high up the trail being tended to by other hikers.

The Search and Rescue volunteers (some of whom had to be at work the next day,) headed up the trail by headlight to find and assist the woman. On the trail they met people that had helped the victim down from the summit and into the tent of a group that was camping above Mirror Lake, at about 11,000 feet.

After three hours of hiking, the Inyo SAR team found Mary Jane in a tent as reported. The group of campers had given up a tent and sleeping bag to help the victim who was no longer suffering the chills of hypothermia but showed signs of acute mountain sickness.

Vomiting and too weak to stand on her own, the SAR team gave Mary Jane oxygen and continued to monitor her condition until daybreak. After a night of rest and oxygen, SAR team members rose with the sun and helped the vastly improved patient walk back to her husband waiting at the trailhead.

After a night of work, Doug at the Whitney Portal Store served Inyo SAR volunteers a hearty breakfast.

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