Yesterday morning at 9:20AM Inyo County Sheriff’s Dispatch received notification that a SPOT device had been activated with the approximate coordinates of Little Whitney Meadow – west of Lone Pine in the high Sierra’s. Seth Baker, a 29-year old man out of Bakersfield, CA was camping with six friends, when (according to Baker) he was bucked off his mule after he and his friends were racing their mules across a meadow. Baker hit the ground with the left side of his body, and attempted to “walk off the pain”.
By the following morning (the 24th) Baker was unable to move. One of the campers had a SPOT device and activated it for help. California Highway Patrol (CHP) helicopter H80, out of Apple Valley, responded to Baker’s location, and transported him to the Lone Pine Airport where he was met by an ambulance to further transport him to Southern Inyo Hospital for treatment.
At 12:20PM yesterday afternoon Sheriff’s Dispatch was contacted to assist 64-year old David Cooper from Sacramento, CA and Nicholas Andrade a 24-year old man from Northridge, CA who were stuck on Wheeler Ridge Road (which is a steep non-paved road above the Bishop area that leads to Wheeler Crest). According to Andrade, Cooper (who is Andrade’s grandfather) wanted to show him the area. They began their drive on Wheeler Ridge Road on June 23, 2014; Andrade said Cooper asked him to drive because he was feeling tired. Andrade, who was unfamiliar with rough backcountry roads, got the truck stuck in a sandy patch and the truck began to slide (slightly) down the mountain. Cooper and Andrade both exited the vehicle. Not knowing what to do, they camped overnight near Cooper’s truck.
The next morning, Cooper was feeling weak and tired. Andrade walked down Wheeler Ridge Road until he was able to get cellular service and call for help. CHP H80 transported Cooper and Andrade to the Bishop airport where Symons Emergency Services transported Cooper to Northern Inyo Hospital for medical evaluation. The US Forest Service also assisted.
Nicholas, It sounds like you’re stuck in the sandy part after where you traverse the Eastern slope of Wheeler just before the end of the road, or perhaps you got a tire or two off the side of the road on the traverse. It’s tough to get a full size… Read more »
Hello Ram and everyone, Thank you for your advice. I was able to snap a few photos of how the truck got stuck, and I can email them to you. I do have a latitude and longitude as well. It is in the sand on the eastern side, not too… Read more »
Hey Bob and everyone, I got the truck stuck in a pretty tough spot, and it’s going to be a pretty pricy tow to get it out. There are a few folks I am working with to get it out, but it will cost my savings account. 🙁 . Would… Read more »
Many years ago I participated in an attempted recovery of a car that slid off a dirt road in the White Mountains. It was below Schulman Grove, but the road wasn’t paved in those days. We had a WWII surplus bomb loading truck with a winch and a boom hoist.… Read more »
I don’t know the particulars of that road, but it sounds like you could just as easily drag the winch vehicle over the side as you can winch the other vehicle up the slope. Is it possible to anchor a pully on a stout tree and winch through that so… Read more »
No thumbs down as that’s always something to think about. There are not many trees on the eastern traverse. A high lift jack would probably get it out also. Nicholas sent me some pictures it’s not nearly as bad as it could be. I’ve seen others stuck the same way… Read more »
They use CHP helicopters because they are free. The others in the area cost $$$ CHP does not charge for SAR missions. Economics
….The CHP helicopters and pilots seem to be doing a really good job in the recent SAR missions….and NO ONE gets charged when a SAR mission is needed….and got to ask this….if your “sick of Mono County” why do you stay there ?
Good question, Rick. Benett, would you check this out? Probably an issue of finances, even if Inyo & Mono Counties shared. But we mush pay Fresno, China Lake, and others for their helicopter services.
Might be type of helicopter picking up people in the mountains. Not sure. BK
Benett: I think you are right. The helicopter may have to hover at altitudes up to 14,000 feet to pick up one or more stranded people plus carrying the rescue personnel. Not something that any old helicopter can do.
Not that I know that much about it. I’m just speculating.
I just checked google street-view and there’s the forest service chopper , sitting on the landing pad ,adjacent to 395 in Independence. a LOT closer than Fresno OR China Lake.
A fire fighting helicopter and it’s crew may or may not have the certifications necessary for a medivac. The helicopter will probably not have any kind of instrument flight capability (none of the logging/firefighting helicopters I flew did), they are strictly VFR (visual flight rules) aircraft. Such a helo will… Read more »
Why is it that Inyo and Mono Counties always have to ask for a helicopter from Fresno, or China Lake ? Do both counties (who seem to have a greater need for them) NOT have one of their own ? I’ve seen the big,black military chopper at the on the… Read more »
I’ve been up there a hundred times and the wheeler road is the last place you want an inexperienced driver behind the wheel. Odd they didn’t have cell reception if they were on the side where you can see Bishop. I’ve also know of others that have slide off the… Read more »