TNSAR Search 29/12/2004

2 lost hikers near China Wall, Forest Hill

Placer County Sheriff's from Auburn paged TNSAR the evening of 12/29 for assistance with on ongoing search for two lost hikers, in the vicinity of China Wall near Forest Hill. There were already a number of searchers out on snow shoes, but the snowmobiles were having problems in the deep snow, thus the call for TNSAR.

The team left the garage at 9:00pm with Sage, our own Police escort. Through storm and temporary white-out conditions, the skiers made it down to Forest Hill by 12:00am. By 1:00am they were in a snowcat, bound for a drop off point where the two teams would circumnavigate the Humbug Ridge Loop trail, in search of the hikers. At about 4:00am the snowcat found the lost hikers, cold but in good condition.

The search was a challenge for TNSAR. At 5000 feet, there was plenty of snow on the ground, but often times this snow was covering large patches of brush and manzanita, which the skiers would collapse into while crossing. Still, it was a good chance to work more closely with the Auburn Search and Rescue group, which did an excellent job in coordinating and organizing the entire effort.

With Sage once again giving us an escort home, the team left Auburn at 10:15am on 12/30 and made it back to Truckee in 2 hours. Not bad, considering Hwy80 was closed and much of the highway was still snow covered. Thanks Sage!

Sheriff Dispatch Comm Van Truck Skiers Snow Cats Snowmobiles
Russ Viehmann Mark Johnson
Sarah Lagano
Jonathan Laine
Mike Le Francois
Jim Reinstra