Skyline trail closed until further notice

General Palm Springs area.

Re: Skyline trail closed until further notice

Postby Wildhorse » Wed Feb 09, 2022 2:51 pm

I suspect the closure is subterfuge.

It seems likely that a manager made a bad judgment sending a ranger and an aide to help the hikers. The ranger and the aide may have also made bad judgments. The land managers and their employees try to cover up their mistakes. Their culture celebrates risk taking and a false belief they can do anything. That leads to bad judgment.

Blaming foolish hikers diverts attention from their failures.

I suspect this to be subterfuge because I have seen that happen multiple times. That is, unfortunately, not all they will do. They will do almost anything to protect their honor. They make misleading statements and worse to cover up their mistakes. Deny. Distract. Feign indignation. They even fiercely attack anyone who criticizes them - even government watchdogs like OSHA and inspector generals. Within these organizations, covering up mistakes and attacking critics is considered loyalty.

This is what I have seen.
Wildhorse
 
Posts: 548
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:11 pm

Re: Skyline trail closed until further notice

Postby Ed » Wed Feb 09, 2022 4:30 pm

Could be. It is easy for me to see how an accident could occur making the descent from Long Valley, and conditions were probably worse than I have seen there. On the other hand, SAR people have done it many times without accident. It did occur to me that perhaps they sent down a state park ranger who was not as well trained and capable as RMRU people. But they had people who were more quickly available, and it was late in the day. Not sure what determines whether or not they wait for RMRU.
Ed
 
Posts: 794
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:04 pm
Location: San Diego Area

Re: Skyline trail closed until further notice

Postby zippetydude » Fri Feb 11, 2022 11:26 am

I'm trying to picture where it would have happened...the only places that come to mind are the traverse (the beginning sketchy part) or perhaps at the viewpoint looking up at Coffman's. Other than that, there are too many trees and scrub to slide 100 feet. If it happened at either of those, then it's a wonder that he was not killed. Maybe the snow was only icy here and there and a bit softer in the surrounding area. Anyone know where the fall actually took place?

z
User avatar
zippetydude
 
Posts: 2750
Joined: Tue May 09, 2006 5:40 am

Re: Skyline trail closed until further notice

Postby Ed » Fri Feb 11, 2022 7:15 pm

I assume he hit something, that would account for the injury and stop. Perhaps hit a tree, then slid further but slower. I would like to know where they hoisted him out. I am not a rescue expert, but my amateur opinion is that there aren't many places to do a safe lift between the manzanita and Long Valley. So perhaps an injury serious enough to call for a lift, but one that still left him able to walk to a good lift location?

In any event, not a good situation. Two subjects suffering from the cold, an injured ranger, late in the day, only one other ranger on the ground, the weather evidently worsening, and an area dangerous in the snow and difficult for rescue. Gives me the shudders to think about it. My hat is off to the chopper crew, particularly the pilot.
Ed
 
Posts: 794
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:04 pm
Location: San Diego Area

Re: Skyline trail closed until further notice

Postby guest » Sun Feb 13, 2022 11:34 am

Yeah, respect to the SAR's folks, and those pilots. I was involved on a horse rescue several miles up from Snow Creek village, and the pilot hosted a 1k pound horse, (property harnessed & rigged) with a bit of wind, from the side of that mountain.

One area that comes to mind re. a potential fall area, is the short downhill close to end, (high point) on the Traverse. That little hill gets spooky when iced, and the mountain in that area is all on a steep slope. There's steep slopes on 3 sides, with plenty of tall trees. It would seem that, (if subject was able), to have them climb to a bit past Coffman's Crag, (BFR), where the trees thin out a bit, and there are a couple small "platform" spots. It would still take a long hoist, which runs the risk of swinging, (I'd imagine).
I think Ed may be correct re. a person falling and contacting a tree or boulder on the way down. Still probably better than some place like the Baldy Bowl, or others above treeline.
Glad no one has been seriously hurt this season. ss
guest
 
Posts: 756
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 3:27 pm

Re: Skyline trail closed until further notice

Postby Ed » Mon Feb 14, 2022 9:17 am

Personally, I would rather fall on a slope without trees, rocks and logs, like Baldy Bowl with a thick snow cover, rather than risk a collision. But if you are lucky, the collision will occur before you pick up too much speed, and it won't be a collision with your head. Also, the ranger was presumably carrying a large, heavy pack. If his feet went out from under him while he was facing downhill, he may have gone down feet first on his back, with the pack serving as an awkward brake, until he was able to roll over and self-arrest. But many other scenarios are possible. Always wish we had more information.

I would love to see a website with case studies of wilderness accidents, SAR's, etc. I believe the American and Canadian Alpine Clubs still publish Accidents in North American Mountaineering annually, which you could usually find in the book section of REI stores. But it seems rather dated and specialized today, and I think they have noted that a modern concern for privacy has limited their sources of information.

I seem to recall that somewhere on his website SanJacJon says that his motive was to shift to prevention, after being involved in SAR. Perry's website was also prevention-oriented, and invaluable to me when I started hiking Skyline. It would be wonderful to see government agencies making similar efforts at prevention. While there are still people not reading or ignoring Perry's and SanJacJon's advice and warnings, there are surely many incidents that did not occur because of their websites. We simply don't hear about them. Prevention is not very exciting or glamorous.
Ed
 
Posts: 794
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:04 pm
Location: San Diego Area

Re: Skyline trail closed until further notice

Postby Pyrodude » Mon Feb 14, 2022 12:04 pm

I went up Skyline on January 22 with a friend.
There was a rescue on the 21st and 23rd, I believe.
We encountered no other hikers when we were on the trail.
The Traverse was icey and dicey in the usual spots, and the route indistinct for those unfamiliar with winter landmarks.
The final 550 foot ascent from Coffman's to Grubb's was slick and sporty in spots. More than a bit challenging for those unfamiliar with travel on that kind of surface.
In several spots I recall observing that while climbing was tricky, descending would have been trickier. There were several places that a slide of 100 feet
would have been possible if you lost your footing. I believe that somewhere on the slope between Grubb's and Coffman's is where the ranger slipped.
I'd also wager that you could easily count on one hand, which was missing some fingers, the number of winter Skylines that ranger had previously hiked----up or down.
User avatar
Pyrodude
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:59 pm

Re: Skyline trail closed until further notice

Postby Ed » Mon Feb 14, 2022 3:04 pm

Thanks for the enlightening post, Pyrodude. I have suspected that the ranger lacked the training and experience for the mission, though I am less sure of that than you. But for sure descending with a heavy SAR pack is very different from ascending with a day pack. I think the fall may have occurred lower than Coffman's. Not because a fall is more likely lower, but because lower makes more sense to me in terms of the likely location of the subjects and the helicopter lift. It seems likely to me, for example, that the uninjured ranger would have walked the subjects up from Coffman's Crag after the lift, rather than spending the night hunkering down. Unless he was lacking in self-confidence or equipment for the subjects.

I reviewed one media report, and it said the injury was a leg injury, which is consistent with falling feet first and colliding with a tree, rock or log.
Ed
 
Posts: 794
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:04 pm
Location: San Diego Area

Previous

Return to Mt. San Jacinto & Santa Rosa Mountains

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

cron