Mono SAR aids ultra-marathoners

– Mono County Sheriff’s Office press release

On the evening of Wednesday, August 6, 2014, at approximately 6:00 pm, Mono County Sheriff’s Dispatch received notification that a SPOT device had been activated on the PCT Trail near Upper Piute Meadows.


Two ultra-marathon runners were attempting to run from Tuolumne Meadows to Sonora Pass in 24 hours. They departed Tuolumne Meadows around noon, carrying only minimal food and supplies, when severe weather caught them off guard on the PCT Trail near Upper Piute Meadows.

Numerous storm cells were passing through the area and stream crossings and flooding were high concerns. The runners activated their SPOT device. The Mono County Sheriff Search and Rescue (SAR) Team was called to aid the runners.

Six search and rescue team members responded to the incident. The team staged in Bridgeport and readied food and shelter to be hiked in to the runners. A Longhorn helicopter from Fallon also responded to help the SAR ground team.

The helicopter crew located the runners, safely hoisted them aboard the helicopter and transported them to the Bridgeport Airport. Mono County Paramedics assessed the runners, one of whom was experiencing stage-two hypothermia. After providing warmth and food, SAR team members transported the runners to their vehicle parked in Tuolumne Meadows.


, , , ,

13 Responses to Mono SAR aids ultra-marathoners

  1. Denis Trafecanty December 22, 2016 at 12:36 pm #

    I remember several years ago when my friend Danny Trudeau and his friend hiked from the Tamarack area to the hot Springs near Devils Postpile. A predicted huge storm hit and they tried to get out on the second day. They failed to find their way to Tamarack so Danny smartly started to dig a snow cave. That saved their asses the for the second night. They proceeded on day 3 and they still couldn’t find their way. The other hiker started to press on going the wrong way and Danny tried to stay with him. They ended up back at the Hot Spring and placed an emergency call from the phone there. Mono County SAR couldn’t come in on the road due to avalanche danger so they were waiting for a clearing. During this third night and into the 4th day Mono County SAR finally got up to the top of mammoth Mtn and then down to the two hikers in the hot springs. They finally got them out after their ordeal. I’ve been a donor ever since.

  2. Anita August 11, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    With affection, I am placing all of the above comments in the category of “My God, these kids today!!! What is the world coming to!” By cracky.

  3. Rick O'Brien August 10, 2014 at 9:29 pm #

    Another concern about these rich-boys and their toys… they obviously don’t consider that EVERY time the S&R guys and gals go out on a call, it is inherently dangerous for THEM. What if one of those choppers had engine trouble and crashed while looking for these fools? During a search & rescue mission in Orange County a few months back, a Sheriff’s Dept. S&R volunteer slipped and sustained serious head trauma while looking for 2 teens that were lost because they were jacked up on speed. Another S&R volunteer was bitten by a rattlesnake while searching for the fireman that ran after his dog, barefooted and shirtless at night. On my first trip to Owens Valley back in “79, an Inyo Sheriff’s deputy crashed his plane while looking for some lost kids. My point is, the people that do this job, do it out of the goodness of their hearts, and risk life & limb,(literally) A little common sense and the old boy scout motto, “Be prepared” will go a long way

  4. mono county local August 10, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

    Is this the new campaign to attract visitors? Visit Mono County! Be an idiot! Don’t worry, we will take care of you!

    As I said before – I was sitting in the same storm in the same vicinity. I was away from my camp for part of the day but headed back – about 2 miles – just about the time they were starting their run because the clouds had begun to build well before noon. It was one of the more violent storms I have experienced but I had a shelter, a sleeping bag, dry clothes and food. I do not have a personal locator beacon. Somewhere about the time they hit the mommy button I was cleaning and then cooking fish with crispy cornmeal skins – the brunt of the storm had passed. The runners were undoubtably wet but it was not cold. I was wearing a nylon shirt, pants, raincoat and sandals. I heard the helicopter some time later – I was snug in my sleeping bag with my dog curled up next to me.

    But I have been thinking – the rest of the route includes some open rocky terrain, some dense hemlock and fir forest and the last nine miles are over loose rock. They would have been running through this by headlamp? Flashlight? Arrogance? Faith? Or is it possible that their contingency plan was to hit the mommy button as an alternative to burdening themselves with a couple of pounds of survival gear? If I said what I really wanted to right now I am certain my post would be deleted but I bet some of you get my drift. I worked for a very well known ultra runner. She was one of the most self- aggrandizing, dishonest and abusive people I have known. So special! It was her world – we just lived here.

    I would like to be able to confirm what Reality Check is saying – I have heard this before but many counties do charge for SAR so I am unclear as to how this would work out in those cases. But in any case it is the idiot who needs to have some consequences instead of a free ride out of an incident that might have killed them before PLBs were available to the general public. Hell – they didn’t even have to hitch back to their car or spring for a room in Bridgeport!

    I hope they are ashamed but I doubt it. Considering the service they received my guess is that they will return and they will bring their friends.

    Oh, joy.

  5. Norm Olson August 10, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

    After re-reading the press release I have come to the conclusion that our resources were utilized to accomplish catering and shuttle service to these two. The helicopter plucked them up, they were given blankies and supper and driven back to their car. Our hospitality is second to none!

  6. Concerned August 10, 2014 at 7:47 am #

    This policy of taxpayers paying for SAR extractions must change! It seems there also has been an increase in searches every year. These people making poor decisions should have to pay to play. Why should I have to pay for their mistakes?! Here I am working 12 hour days to help pay those taxes and so, I don’t even have time to get in the backcountry! Argh!

    • Reality Check August 10, 2014 at 11:23 am #

      Concerned, you make some excellent points. The way it works is that the county where the “victim” lives is billed by Mono County for the for the expenses incurred for the rescue of their citizen in Mono County.

      You and the other posters are correct. With inexpensive availability of satellite emergency beacons such as Spot, some people become foolish and take risks that they normally would not take, because they have a button to push if they get in trouble and they know a helicopter will show up and pull them out of the situation that was of their own creation.

      Running deep into the back country with nothing, is stupid. They could eaisly run on dirt roads where they can have vehicle support from their friends.

  7. Eastside Bum August 9, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

    I long for the days when hikers, climbers, and backpackers acquired skills before entering the mountains, plus common sense. Now, anyone with some money can buy their security, and rely on others without consequences. The use of cell phones, satellite phones, GPS, and spot devices is getting out of control, as we all know from the reports of late.

    It’s time to ask or require monetary compensation to Mono County, and to the CHP for the use of helicopters. Not too mention, a “major” donation to Forest Service and National Park service if applicable, since they are involved as well. Heard from a source that a helicopter can run $600 per hour, not including a pilot’s wages.

    Now, the questions begs, how to implement such a program?

  8. Norm Olson August 9, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

    I believe they are known as the 10 ESSENTIALS for a very good reason.

  9. mono county local August 9, 2014 at 8:36 am #

    Really, why take a look at the weather report or carry survival gear when all you have to do is push the “mommy” button and someone will come in to save you? I doubt these fools have learned a thing except that they can get a free ride out of their preventable predicament in Mono County. MCSAR should charge – and I say this as a fervid backpacker and backcountry skier who may need their services at some time. Stupidity should be painful and/or expensive in order to raise the level of concern. I was in the vicinity at the time of the rescue. IMO shelter, dry clothing and high caloric food would have eliminated the need for rescue, the new stuff (cuban fiber, silnylon, etc) is amazingly lightweight and compact and they probably could have completed their run the following morning – within the 24 hour period. I hike alone. Have been for more than 40 years. These people are arrogant and ignorant – a real, real bad combination.

  10. mono county local August 8, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

    may also be worth pointing out that the only major “stream crossing” between the rescue location and Sonora Pass has A BRIDGE!

  11. Sierra Lady August 8, 2014 at 10:12 am #

    I hope they along with many others who are assisted by MCSAR contribute a generous donation to the SAR group.

    B. Richter

  12. Rick O'Brien August 8, 2014 at 1:27 am #

    Can these entitled guys with their expensive toys & too much time on their hands, NOT able to read a freakin’ weather report ?


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.