Multiple Hikers Rescued Near Cathedral Peak

Two Different Search and Rescue Operations Conducted on Same Day

Tuesday, February 28, 2012
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Last Saturday, February 25, there were two different search and rescue operations around the Cathedral Peak area above Mission Canyon north of Santa Barbara.

The first incident was reported just after 3 p.m. Two hikers, a male in his fifties and female in her forties from the Los Angeles area, became disoriented just below Cathedral Peak. Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue (SAR) was dispatched to assist them.

While attempting to climb from Tunnel Road up to La Cumbre Peak, the hikers lost the trail and spent several hours crawling through foliage until they reached the bottom of Cathedral Peak. Exhausted and with an increasingly diminishing water supply, they dialed 9-1-1 to ask for assistance.

SAR made contact via phone with the hikers, determined where they were based on the hikers’ descriptions of the terrain, and responded with three ground teams and a helicopter to their location. After finding them, the helicopter dropped water to the pair, and by using cell phones the SAR team directed them safely back to the trail.

As SAR was coordinating the first incident, Santa Barbara County Emergency Dispatch received a report of a 55-year-old Camarillo woman who slipped backward over a rock, fracturing her ankle. Unable to travel farther, the group she was traveling with called 9-1-1 for help.

The hikers initially thought they were on Tunnel Trail, but a SAR team member on the helicopter already on scene for the first incident used GPS to determine that the hikers were actually on the steep portion of the Cathedral Peak Trail, just below La Cumbre Peak. Rescue personnel from SAR and the U.S. Forest Service went to La Cumbre Peak and hiked down with medical gear and a stretcher to the injured woman.

Given the steepness of the location, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department was requested to perform a hoist rescue with one of their helicopters. The U.S. Forest Service reached the injured hiker, splinted her fractured ankle, and assisted in hoisting her up to the helicopter, which flew her to a loading zone on Spyglass Ridge. SAR and County Fire personnel then transferred the woman to paramedics for transport to Cottage Hospital.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

WOW! Talk about busy. When I hiked the Foothills, I brought my "Santa Barbara Hikes by Raymond Ford", a Map of the area and had studied both before venturing into the wilderness. Now with Mapquest and Google earth, hikers today have a wide range of tools to plan their hikes, this "I got lost", problem really is unacceptable but just shows how inept the public really is when it comes to exploring the wilderness; which is really sad and disgusting. Have I ever gotten lost while hiking? Nope, I was prepared and didn't rely on someone else to come to my rescue when I failed but that si not the case today.
Great Job, SBCSAR!

dou4now (anonymous profile)
February 29, 2012 at 5:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Your empathy needs a new battery. How nice that you have never "gotten lost" but armchair quarterbacking is easy, especially on Monday morning. Further, it's easy to impugn a "couple from LA" who likely didn't know the area and didn't prepare sufficiently. But who knows what the actual on-the-ground conditions were at the time these folks lost the trail. It's always straightforward until it isn't. I agree that perhaps cellphones have enabled too many people to venture out into the world less prepared (than back in the days of Columbus, Lewis and Clark, and you) knowing a communication safety net was there but we really don't know the details in this case...So, give these guys a least they didn't start a fire!

jeffchemnick (anonymous profile)
February 29, 2012 at 5:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Jeff who is paying for all this? Give the people that pay a break! People that fail to prepare properly and end up costing the residents of Santa Barbara money for their rescue should be appropriately billed

JohnMcKnight (anonymous profile)
February 29, 2012 at 7:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

No one in their 40s & 50s should be hiking, period. You can easily drive up to La Cumbre Peak and your Rascal Scooter can make it up the paved walkway the rest of the way to the old fire lookout.

Usernome (anonymous profile)
February 29, 2012 at 11:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank the lawd there is a search and rescue. I would hate to come across two decayed bodies while out in the hills.

spacey (anonymous profile)
February 29, 2012 at 11:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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