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Arlington Peak Search
updated: Mar 12, 2014, 8:08 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

There is a 'copter using searchlight on Arlington Peak (I think it is Arlington). As it is after 10:30 p.m., it is doubtful this is a training mission. Anyone know what is going on?


Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 SBSURFERLIFE agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-12 08:13 AM

It was Search & Rescue's helicopter. Hikers had called 911 after being stranded and they were located near Arlington Peak. The hikers, who were not injured, were walked off the mountain by rescuers and did not need to be airlifted to safety.


 COMMENT 502065 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-12 08:35 AM

How could they be "stranded" and then walk off?

Was it another case of "I'm too tired to complete my hike - a rescue would be nice" or was there a real problem that necessitated firing up the expensive chopper?


 SBSURFERLIFE agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-12 08:42 AM

I was thinking the same question. The only thing I gathered was that they got lost, it was dark, and panicked.


 COMMENT 502068 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-12 08:44 AM

I wonder what hikers are doing up there past sunset. It's a tricky trail to follow in broad daylight and must be especially challenging descending in the dark if you're unfamiliar with the landmarks and terrain.

Have people always been getting themselves "lost in the wilderness" like this or are we just hearing about it so much more because everyone posts everything on the Internet?


 COMMENT 502085 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-12 09:14 AM

The Dragon's Back is notorious for thwarting even the most seasoned hikers attempts to descend it's treacherous maze of steep scree shoots, and dense thorny chaparral. Follow one wrong "trail" and you end up stuck in an impassable sandstone alley with precipitous drop offs. One's only recourse is to climb back up and attempt to locate the proper path. Only ye of strong constitution and sharp wit shall conquer the Dragon's Back and return safely to tell the tale!


 COMMENT 502095P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-12 09:24 AM

Agree, 075.

This case is just like the cat stuck way high up in the tree. Once it gets dark & kitty needs to come inside for food & loving, it climbs down. Easy-peasy

BTW, what's that chopper cost to scramble from first notice to shut down?


 COMMENT 502096 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-12 09:24 AM

075 has obviously never hiked down from Arlington/Cathedral.

It's very easy to head downhill and into a steep dead-end or side canyon. Both in daylight and in darkness. Even for experienced hikers or those not paying attention. That's because the "trail" is really an unmarked route in many places.

And a "cool night" for some can result in hypothermia depending on the weather, the condition of the hiker, how much clothing/shelter/water/food they have, etc.


 COMMENT 502104 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-12 09:47 AM

I disagree that saying "even experienced hikers" or "even the most seasoned hikers" have trouble or are thwarted by the ridge up to Arlington. It's not that difficult, especially since you can't go more than 50' in the wrong direction before you realize you've gone the wrong way. Yes, it may take some backtracking, but for an "experienced" or "seasoned" hiker it can be easily navigated, even simply under a decent amount of moonlight---like last night. Many, many more people go up and down in the daytime (and night) without trouble, you just don't hear ever about it, obviously.


 COMMENT 502118 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-12 10:19 AM

2075... your view of civilization leaves much to be desired. In a civilized society we help out those in trouble, we do not throw them under the bus. It may be dog eat dog in the lawless wilds of the frontier (or video games) but we have mostly moved on (evolved) from there, at least IRL.


 COMMENT 502126 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-12 10:31 AM

I've hiked this trail several times and the last time I got lost coming down. The trail is hard to follow, even more so now that a lot of manzanita was burned in the fire a few years ago. It took us all day to find our way down. But that's my point. We went in the morning so had plenty of daylight hours. Why do so many people head up late in the day? No common sense.


 COMMENT 502138 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-12 10:50 AM

That's great that you planned ahead and had the time to spend coming down in the daylight. Next time hopefully it only takes you half the day, and the next time even less. With only a little bit of experience, it shouldn't take more than an hour to get down.


 COMMENT 502174 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-12 12:11 PM

150 - Well, maybe not perfect - but pretty darn close. We appreciate your being glad for us!


 COMMENT 502191 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-12 01:11 PM

How much do you want to bet if they did not have their phones they would have "found" the way down?


 COMMENT 502214 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-12 02:20 PM

Wow. People get lost. Maybe inexperienced, or had hiked it before prior to the fires, and weren't giving themselves enough time to find their way back down in daylight. Perhaps because they didn't realize the terrain would have changed so much with the fires.

Need to cut them some slack. They got the help they needed to be guided back down by foot. Yeah, ok, a helicopter was dispatched. Rather spend a little too much than a little too little and end up with dead hikers who weren't dressed for sleeping up there. :P

Human life is precious. Everyone is important. And even society's great contributers have done dufus things before.

Let's help people, and educate them, so they don't win the Darwin award, ok?


 COMMENT 502221 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-12 02:47 PM

Not gonna cut them slack. If there were no serious injuries, it's not an emergency situation and doesn't warrant a rescue. Lost on a mild evening a short way from civilization is not an emergency. They could've stuck it out until daylight. Cold, hungry, and wiser for it. Next time they'd have been prepared.


 COMMENT 502223 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-12 02:55 PM

What happened in the days before cell phones? Did people regularly die in our mountains? If not, was it because they were more responsible and better prepared than the current hikers?

If Search and Rescue is having to respond to many more rescues these days then they won't be able to do it for free much longer.


 COMMENT 502257P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-12 04:26 PM

Search and rescue is an all volunteer organization - they can "do it for free" for as long as they feel like volunteering.

Please don't give the Sheriff any ideas about turning his department into a fee for service operation. If anything, as others have pointed out, all we really need is some better judgment as to what exactly rates as an emergency requiring rescue.


 COMMENT 502261 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-12 04:33 PM

The people who do Search and Rescue may be volunteers and do it "for free", but the helicopter, fuel, maintenance and pilot are not free, and the helicopter expenses are constantly used by Sheriff Bill Brown as an excuse to get the County to give him more $$$$$.


 COMMENT 502266P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-12 04:40 PM

I'm with you as far as county helicopters being expensive - where you go off the rails is your assumption that lost hikers warrant sending a helicopter to go look for them.

Of course Sheriff Moneygrubber will jump at every possible excuse to beg more money out of the county general fund, but that really doesn't have anything to do with the volunteers of SAR - they don't typically ride helicopters.


 COMMENT 502312 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-12 07:52 PM

I'm an historian and I read old newspapers for a living. The answer to your question is: Yes, many people died in the backcountry in the days before cell phones. The only thing that changed is that society decided that it was worth a few pennies to save lives. That's the long and the short of it, and like you, I decry it. Ayn Rand is rolling over in hell right now!


 COMMENT 502318P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-12 08:22 PM

Oh, c'mon - we have some hikers who know exactly where they hiked to. They can see the lights of SB, they're not really lost, they just can't see the trail well enough to hike back down.

This is hardly a life and death situation. Nor does it require sending a helicopter to "search" for anyone - all that's necessary is someone to meet them with knowledge of the area and a few flashlights.


 COMMENT 502394 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-13 10:16 AM

oh woe to those who think these trails on the mountain are just a walk in the park. Forethought and proper efforts to such preps are necessary, no matter how far you think you're going. I have seen plenty of youngsters heading uphill wearing flip-flops or light sneakers, no water of course. Most do make it home again -- pure luck.


 COMMENT 502409 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-13 11:02 AM

Yes, many people have died in the backcountry, however, Arlington Peak is not the backcountry.


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