Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue, Inc. Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue, Inc.


October 2013

The Farmer's Almanac tells us there are several ways to tell if there is a big winter coming.  Here are a few of the more interesting ones:  woodpeckers sharing a tree, pigs gathering sticks, thicker than normal corn husks and thick hair on the nape of a cow's neck.  I have come up with my own indicator that's similar to this last one.  Granted it's merely anecdotal evidence but I think I'm onto something as far as a predictor of heavy snowfall in the Tahoe Basin.
     My wife and I have a five year old pointer mix named Pancho.  He's a pretty short haired dog being a pointer and all.  In the winter he's good to go for an hour or so then he gets cold and has to wear one of those sissy dog jackets (catches endless crap from other dogs).  Through the years I've noticed that as winter approaches the hair in Pancho's groin area (this is a family paper right?) gets longer.  Long story short, I've been tracking hair length and Donner Summit snowpack totals for the last few years and what do you know….direct correlation between how hairy my dog's crotch is and how many powder days we get.  I'm pretty confident I'm onto something.  I'll be in touch Randall…

2012-2013 Members Of The Year
     Hats off to Holly Beattie, Cathy Strand and Gary Sterle for their selection as Members of the Year for 2012-2013 search season.  These three team members did an outstanding job contributing to the team, not only this past year, but year after year.  Thank you so much for your tireless hours and seemingly endless efforts.

Hypothermic Mountain Biker In Stanford Rock Area
     On Memorial Day at approximately 10PM pagers went off and reported that there was a lost mountain biker in the Stanford Rock area.  If you recall, it was one of those cold Memorial Days we've frequently seen in the last few years with some sort of frozen precipitation.  A truck team, a moto team and two ground teams entered the field and began their search in heavy freezing rain.  All of the teams worked their areas thoroughly for several hours.  The moto team rode until further progress was stopped and hiking was required.  At approximately 3AM a moto searcher found a footprint in the snow and followed it downhill.  He continued and soon heard someone screaming.  The MP was quickly located and he gave the rescuer a big hug.  It was determined the MP was in "in bad shape" (that's a real medical term…I swear).  He was in the advanced stages of hypothermia and also reported intermittent chest pains.  The rescuer quickly fed him and clothed him but was extremely concerned about the victim's report of chest pains and their ability to get our of the field.  He knew the truck team and the ground teams were out there for assistance but he was having difficulty making contact.  He called 911 on his cell and explained his situation.  911 then called the truck team who relayed the message to  the ground team. 
     Once the ground team received the victim's location and condition information, it wasn't long before they were on scene.  Another medical assessment was performed and it was determined that the MP could make it to the motorcycle.  At this point, the moto searcher tandem rode with the MP until he could meet up with the truck team.  All teams were out of the field at approximately 7AM and the victim did not require medical assistance.
We've Got A Runner!
     On June 19th there was a call out for a missing 16 year old boy who was last seen that morning in the Pineland area.  The MP was a Spanish exchange student and he had indicated to his host family that morning that he was going for a one to two hour hike.  When he didn't return that evening they called 911.  TNSAR searchers hit the trail at approximately 10:30PM and were told the boy was wearing jogging shorts, a t-shirt, tennis shoes and had an iPod. Two hikers searched and cleared the Ward Creek area and then the Paige Meadows area.  Two motorcyclist searched the Paige Meadows area as well as the Stanford Rock loop.  Both teams exited the field at approximately 7:30AM.
     A second operational period that included PCSO ground and OHV teams began soon after.  The teams in the field still hadn't found anything when a Placer deputy announced that the boy had been found….in Foresthill.  A good forty mile hike from his point of origin.  He had run into a jeeper on Chipmunk Ridge Jeep Road and asked the guy how he could get back to Lake Tahoe.  The kid had multiple scratches and cuts, blisters and his shoes were toast but other than he checked out fine.  Strong effort kid! 

Busted Ankle Half Mile From Trailhead
     That's what I'm told.  There were about a dozen through hikers moving through the Stanford Rock area (dangerous place huh?) on the PCT when someone turned their ankle pretty bad.  Our reporters in the field weren't sure if it was broken or a bad sprain.  Anyway…despite the fact that they were approximately a half mile from the trailhead and had ample help for a self-evac, the decision was made to call 911.  The Bird arrived, stabilized and extracted the patient and the call out was cancelled.

MDs Spun Around In Silverado Bowl
     On September 19th, the team was called out when two hikers got turned around in Silverado Bowl.  The coordinates for the MPs  seemed to put them approximately two hundred yards below Tram Tower 2.  Five team members  drove the team truck to the turn off road to the tram tower.  The team hiked twenty minutes and quickly found the MPs who were cold and embarrassed but otherwise fine.

Lost Hiker Near Mariah Point

     A 67 year old hiker set off for a day hike from the Ice Lakes Lodge area on Sunday, September 29th.  His intended destination was Mariah Point, which is within the Royal Gorge trail network.   TNSAR was called out at approximately 9PM that evening and began their search at around 9:40PM.  Two ATV riders, two motorcyclists and three hikers began working the Royal Gorge trails as well as the Cedars Road to the Sugarbowl area.  The searchers continued working for several hours but recent rains had cleaned the ground of all of evidence of foot travel, save for one lone footprint in a sandy spot near Mariah Point.  At 3:30AM searchers concluded their search and a second callout was organized.
     A large ground team from PCSO responded the next morning along with two TNSAR ATV riders.  This group searched for five hours to no avail.  At approximately 1PM the MP walked out of the woods and employed a rather sporty and avant garde signaling technique whereby he laid down in the middle of the road in front of an oncoming logging truck.  The driver was able to stop in time and soon called 911 to let them know he had found our MP.  The MP arrived back at incident command at approximately 2:30PM where he was re-united with his very grateful family.
     In the debriefing the searcher related that he had dropped off of Mariah Point and worked towards the American River in an effort to get additional water.  On his return trip he had lost his way.  He indicated that he had searchers shouting his name at some point that night and had replied but did not hear anything back.  Later in the evening, he stuffed his jacket with pine needles and hunkered down to wait for daylight.

Tahoe Mountain Sports Pro Night
     Dave Polivy has been nice enough to extend great deals to us again this year.  Come on out on December 3rd at 5PM to take advantage of killer deals on the newest 13/14 winter gear.   Anybody with an OES card can take advantage of this opportunity.

TNSAR Will Be Beneficiary Of Slideshow
     Alpenglow Sports will be helping us out on December 5th as we will be the beneficiary of a slideshow by Mountain Hardware climber/hardguy Freddie Wilkinson.  He has climbed the Cassin Ride on Denali and lives in New Hampshire in a 12' x 12' cabin with his fiance' (I'm not sure which is more impressive).  I can't find this slideshow series online yet but stay tuned for location and time details.

Snowmobile For Sale

     The team will receive sealed bids for the sale of a 200 Yamaha 500cc Mountain Lite currently with 1901 miles. The minimum bid is $500, and the bid deadline is 1700 Hours on Monday October 28th 2013. To download the surplus sale doc, click here.

The goal of TNSAR is to conduct fast and safe rescues, and to help educate the public on winter safety. If you would like to help TNSAR in this cause, please use the following PayPal donate link. Thanks!

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