On Friday morning, (December 25, 2015), two friends took off on a lofty Christmas goal around 7:30 in the morning, hike as many mountain peaks as possible in the Angeles National Forrest. Being somewhat experienced hikers, the pair carried proper equipment and a personal emergency G.P.S. beacon.
As Christmas day came to a close, the pair of friends attempted to make their way back to their vehicle parked near mile marker 30.5, in the Angeles Forest above La Canada. However, the ladies became disoriented after sunset with the loss of light. The trail disappeared and they thought they could climb up to Angeles Crest Highway when they got caught by the darkness, the cold and a cliff. They called 911 but lost cell service. Fortunately for them they had their emergency G.P.S. beacon.
The pair of hikers activated their beacon and it sent their G.P.S. coordinates to a national call center which in turn notified The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. This activation placed them at the Oak Wild Campground. Seven members of the Montrose Search Rescue Team were activated and left their Christmas dinner at home to rescue the pair of hikers. As they closed in on the coordinates, the Search Team located them approximately 500 feet up a hillside stuck on a cliff. Search team members were able to reach them and lowered them down the hillside with ropes. The search and rescue operation ended around 2:00 am on December 26th, 2015.
The pair of hikers were extremely grateful that people left their families on Christmas to perform their rescue thanking the team in person for their dedication.
Mike Leum, one of the Search Team members, commented “having the ability to bring people to safety from the wilderness is a great way to end Christmas, this is truly a gift for us, and it’s what we love to do.” When asked about his dinner, he replied “I’m not too concerned about a cold meal. Besides, that’s what microwaves are for.”
Enjoy Nature – Plan your Hike by filling out the Sheriff’s Department’s Hiking Plan Sheet:
Hiking/Camping is a fun way to get family and friends together to enjoy the outdoors, and to get some physical activity. However, you should always be prepared for the unexpected. You should tell family and friends what your plans are and provide a list of who will be going with you. That’s why the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department would like to remind the residents of Los Angeles County that having a hiking / camping plan is crucial to survival in case of an emergency.
Before you leave, please fill out Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue – Hiking Plan sheet and provide to a loved one to hold onto just in case something happens to a member of your hiking/camping expedition. You can download the form by visiting:
If you would like more information on how to prepare for your hiking / camping trip, please visit the Center for Disease Control’s camping website at: