TNSAR Search 26/01/2006

Five Backcountry skiers at Benson Hut

On Wednesday, Jan 25, at 1:00 pm five local skiers left Granite Chief Peak at Squaw Valley to ski to Sugar Bowl. They had been told by an "expert" backcountry skier that it would take them about 2 hours for the trip and therefore carried very little equipment.
At 8 pm, from somewhere on the ridge between Squaw and Sugar Bowl, they called 911 from their cell phone to ask for help. TNSAR activated and 6 skiers boarded the team snowcat at Cabin Creek to ride up to Tinker's Knob, where they planned to head north and south along the ridge in search of the skiers. As the snowcat approached the Old Stanford Woodcamp the lost skiers phoned to report that they had found a hut, thought to be the Sierra Club's Benson Hut, and that they were comfortable calling off the search and rescue. The deputy and searchers concurred and everyone went home for the night.
At 8 am Thursday morning, the skiers called 911 again, to report that the weather had set in and that they weren't comfortable finding their way and were requesting help to get to Sugarbowl.
It was confirmed that they were at the Benson Hut and at 11:00 5 skiers set out from the top of Mount Lincoln at Sugarbowl, in steady 50 mph winds with 10-30 foot visibility, to get to the hut. They arrived there at 1:00, and turned around and started back with the skiers, arriving back at Sugarbowl, without incident, at about 4 pm.

Sheriff Dispatch Comm Van Truck Skiers Snow Cats Snowmobiles Other
Dan Ingalls
Fred Carey
Sage Bourassa
Kathy King
Diane Rienstra
Marty Schoonmaker
DD Driller
Brian York

Bill Healy Christine Rourke Mike Kennett
Mark Johnson
Paul Cushing
Russ Viehmann
Bob Wright
Jim Granger
Diane Rienstra
Jim Rienstra
Dirk Schoonmaker
Bernie Mellor
Scoop Remineh
Jimmy Smith
Scott Baumgartner
TJ Johnson
Brian York
Jim Zaloga (Sugarbowl)