Mountain-rescue efforts applauded

To the Editor:

This is a letter of gratitude to let all the good people of this community know what a fine and efficient search and rescue apparatus we have in this area.

On Nov. 7 I had a medical emergency while hiking down from Owens Peak. High up in the rocks of Grapevine Canyon, I had the misfortune to dislocate my hip, which rendered me immobile. Night was coming on, and it became colder with gusty winds. My son, who was with me, built a warming signal fire, and we hunkered down in the rocks resigned to spend the night in rather uncomfortable and painful conditions. As it turned out, our 911 calls had been received, and the response was overwhelming.

Multiple organizations and agencies mobilized and coordinated the efforts — CHP in Bishop, the sheriff in Mojave, park rangers in Death Valley, firefighters in Inyokern, International Emergency Response from Houston, Tex., and last and not least, volunteers from the China Lake Mountain Rescue Group and Kern Valley Search and Rescue Group.

I may have missed some in my dazed condition; kudos to them as well. There is only one word that comes to mind: Awesome!

How comforting it was to see the twinkling lights of rescuers! Headlamps way down in the valley! How reassuring it was to see the helicopter circling overhead! Alas, steep rock walls and gusty winds did not allow a helicopter rescue. The efforts of the volunteer rescuers to come up through the rocks in pitch dark, carrying all the heavy equipment, seems not humanly possible. But, they did it, complete with warm clothing, hot tea and a wonderful attitude.

I can only express my highest admiration and gratitude. The stretcher ride through the night down the mountain—often belayed—was memorable. At the bottom, I was greeted by Sheriff Sgt. Ken Smith who had been instrumental in coordinating rescue efforts. Thanks also to Liberty Ambulance and the unselfish, exhausted rescue volunteers who had given so much of themselves.

I hope you never have to be rescued, but if you do, you will be in good hands.

Karin Jain

Story First Published: 2012-11-21