Inyo Search and Rescue handles boulder fall and hikers stranded by snow

inyo_sar_truck.jpgFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  (ICSO press release, PIO Carma Roper)

Busy Weekend for Inyo SAR 

On November 23, 2013, at about 3:00pm, the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department received a telephone call regarding a female fall victim at Happy Boulders off Chalk Bluff Road. According to the reporting party, the female subject landed on her back and was screaming in pain.

The Inyo County Search and Rescue (SAR) team responded to the location. The female, identified as Kelli Iddings, a 25 year old woman from San Francisco, CA, was secured on a wheeled litter and brought out to Chalk Bluff Road where Symons Ambulance Service was waiting. While inside the ambulance, Iddings said that she was climbing the Happy Boulders when she missed her grip and fell about 15 feet to the ground, landed on her back and hit her head. Iddings was transported to Northern Inyo Hospital for treatment. Later that evening, Iddings was flown to Renown Hospital in Reno, NV due to her injuries.

On November 24, 2013, at about 10:40am, the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department received a telephone call regarding a stranded hiker near Upper Boy Scout Lake (located at the base of Mt. Whitney).

According to the reporting party (Pamela McKeown) her husband, James McKeown, called her in the morning to let her know he was neck deep in snow and could not get down the mountain. Pamela said James woke up Friday morning (11-22-2013) and had to dig his way out of his tent because he had about five feet of snow on him. Pamela said that James did not have any food, water, warm clothing, or shelter due to James leaving all of his gear behind in an attempt to get off the mountain. James was supposed to meet his friend David Webb at Iceberg Lake but never met up with David. Inyo County Sheriff’s Office received further information that David Webb may also be in trouble.

At about 1:20pm, CHP helicopter H-40 located James McKeown. H-40 was able to rescue James and transport him to Southern Inyo Hospital to be treated for frost bite, hypothermia, dehydration, and exhaustion.

At about 1:40pm, H-40 located David Webb and transported him to Southern Inyo Hospital for treatment of frost bite and exhaustion.

A further interview indicated that David Webb went to Iceberg Lake to meet James McKeown. After the snow storm hit, David said he decide to climb down the mountain to get back to his vehicle. As David was walking down, he was hit by an avalanche and buried up to his neck. David said he lost all of his supplies in the avalanche. Once David was able to dig himself out, he got hit by another avalanche. David said he was about to give up when H-40 found him.

Thank you Inyo SAR and CHP H-40 for your quick response and assistance!

7 Responses to Inyo Search and Rescue handles boulder fall and hikers stranded by snow

  1. andy November 26, 2013 at 8:08 am #

    It might be wise to check a weather report next time, just saying.

  2. MJA November 26, 2013 at 8:46 am #

    With the town still owing 25 million for the airport development, the development that will never be built, 2 million is not really a surplus but rather just another drop in the bucket. =

  3. Stevec5088 November 26, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    So glad they were rescued!!!

    I am sure they will learn from this experience. Nature granted them a second chance.

  4. Paul Fretheim November 26, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    Frostbite is one word.

  5. Wayne Deja November 26, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

    Those two stuck up by Mt.Whitney and rescued were lucky they were found and made it out alive….good job by all those involved in the find and rescue !!

  6. Steve November 26, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    Maybe late Spring and Summer would be a safer time to venture in the mountains.

  7. David Webb November 27, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    My deepest and most humble thanks go out to Inyo County Search and Rescue for all your help and assistance on this along with the CHP H-40 for your outstanding flying skills. If it wasn’t for your combined efforts I wouldn’t be typing this out today. I’m forever in your debt. Being a member of the mountain rescue community for many years I’ve seen that wild eyed look in someones face when they just skirted death. I can’t imagine what my face looked like when I climbed into that helicopter. All I can say is that now I’ve been on the other side of things, it wasn’t fun, it was scary, and I wouldn’t ever want to live through something like that again. It just goes to show that it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing this or how good you think you are, when you play with fire sooner or later your going to get burned. This time I got off lucky!!


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