By Mary O’KEEFE
Montrose Search and Rescue spent late Sunday and early Monday morning searching for a hiker in the Angeles National Forest. She was found 11 hours after setting out for a hike to Twin Peaks.
The 37-year-old Glassell Park woman left her home about 1 p.m. on Sunday for a hike in the Angeles National Forest.
“She was by herself and had never been [at that] location before,” said Mike Leum, member of Montrose Search and Rescue team.
She began her hike at about 3 p.m. Her apparent intent was to hike to Twin Peaks and back to her car which would have taken about five hours if things went as planned.
About 10 p.m. the woman made a 911 call to the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station. Cellphone use is limited at best in the area so the fact that she was able to get a signal was an advantage.
“We got a report that she was heading to Twin Peaks and got turned around and lost,” said Capt. Janet Henderson, Montrose Search and Rescue.
“She had wandered on and off the trail throughout the day then realized she was completely lost,” Leum said.
Montrose Search and Rescue had a crew of seven that searched the area. Henderson and Deputy Jeff Martin set up a command center. By the time the crew got to the location it was midnight.
Members split up, one section taking the front of the trail and the other the back trail, hoping to close the loop and find the hiker.
She had gotten one phone call out but team members could not use a global positioning system on her phone to trace her.
“The problem with cellphone activation there is that the cell tower could be miles away and not provide the exact location,” Leum said.
The one piece of information that can be taken from a cellphone connection is what phone tower the caller is closest to – Antelope Valley or Pasadena.
“This is good because when [lost hikers] call us they always say they can see the lights of the city but [a lot of times] they are looking at Antelope Valley,” Leum said.
The team walked the trail, yelling and blowing whistles until they finally heard the woman yell back. Due to the terrain there are still obstacles to overcome even after voice contact was made.
“I texted her that the crew was on their way,” Henderson said. “I don’t know if she received them.”
The hiker was found about 2 a.m. She was tired but not injured.
“She was very happy to see us,” Leum said.