By Mary O’KEEFE
Montrose Search and Rescue team responded to a call concerning two missing mountain bikers on Monday evening about 9 p.m.
The two bikers, both from Orange County, were biking a trail in the Arroyo Seco area near the old Idlewild campground in the Angeles National Forest.
“We got stuck in the middle of a mountain, in a deep valley near a dry river bed,” said Song Won Ju, one of the mountain bikers.
Ju and his fellow biker, Eun Sang You, had been in the area in the past and knew the trail well, however that was before the Station Fire.
That trail was no longer accessible for mountain bikers due to the fire, said Mike Leum, Montrose Search and Rescue team member.
The two bikers continued to try to find their way, carrying their bikes on their back for about four to five hours.
“Because it was [still] daylight we thought we might be able to find our way,” Ju said.
But as the hours went on and the sun was lowering, the bikers decided it was time to call 911.
“They had a [Global Positioning System] and were able to relay their exact location, and stated they would remain there until rescue arrived,” Leum said.
He added having the GPS coordinates were helpful because the route the bikers took covered nine miles of extremely rugged terrain. They had stopped near a debris basin with a 100-foot dam face.
The two men also had matches with them.
“While we were waiting we started a campfire so the rescue [team] could see our position,” Ju said. The team was able to see the campfire from Angeles Crest Highway. The team hiked in for over an hour before finding the two men.
“I was really grateful to see them,” Ju said. “I asked them if I could save my bike and they were able to bring both bikes with us.”
The team used a rope system and lowered the bikes and their own packs down the dam face. They then negotiated their way up and around the debris basin and retrieved the bikes and gear and waited for the rescue truck to pick them up at the bottom of Gould Mesa Road.
“I can’t say enough about how [great] the team members were,” Ju said. “I had no idea there were volunteers that did this. Having them work as a volunteer and then their own jobs. … I asked them how I could give them a donation.”
Montrose Search and Rescue is comprised of men and women who volunteer their time and talents and are paid $1 a year.
For more information, visit http://montrosesar.org.