Out-of-bounds skier rescued after night in wilderness near Kirkwood

Two men who ventured out of bounds at California ski areas had to be rescued last weekend, one of them after spending a night in the wilderness, sheriff’s offices reported.

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• A 19-year-old snowboarder was reported overdue Friday afternoon at Mammoth Mountain, and the ski patrol was told he might be in the area of Red’s Meadow Road, west of the resort’s boundary.

The Mono County sheriff’s search-and-rescue team was called in at 5:30 p.m. Snow and wind hampered the search, but eventually the team was able to make “auditory and visual contact” with the young man on an escarpment south of Starkweather Lake.

“It was determined the subject was stuck/cliffed out on a series of steep rock and ice ledge systems several hundred feet up from the road,” the Mono search report said.

Four rescuers who climbed to a ledge above the man directed him to a ramp under a steep face. They lowered a harness and pulled him up. He was given snowshoes and poles to navigate the remaining ledges, and was then taken out by snowmobile, reaching Mammoth’s main lodge around 10:30 p.m.

The man was reportedly cold and suffering from dehydration when found but had no injuries.

• On Saturday evening, the Amador County sheriff’s office was called to help in the search for a 34-year-old San Francisco man who had gone missing while skiing at Kirkwood.

It was dark by the time he was able to send friends a phone message asking them to request help. After going out of bounds off the back side, he said, he had fallen and was unable to reattach his skis. He had been hiking west in several feet of snow.

His location was narrowed down to a forested area around 8,000 feet elevation east of Silver Lake, but searchers using snowmobiles and a PG&E snowcat were unable to find him. A California Highway Patrol helicopter team located the man but couldn’t evacuate him in the dark.

Sunday morning, the team, accompanied by Kirkwood ski patrollers, made another attempt; in the daylight, the helicopter found a safe place to land, and the man was taken back to Kirkwood.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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