Weekly newspaper of Three Rivers, California, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

A section of steep trail on the Golden Staircase portion of the John Muir Trail, where a backpacker died on August 14.

Incidents at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

August 13 - 20, 2017
Sarah Elliott / NPS reports


It's been a busy season for Kings Canyon National Park rangers:

For the past few weeks, Kings Canyon National Park rangers have been kept so busy with incidents that they haven’t had time to write their reports. But here are two notable emergencies that were attended to, according to a National Park Service press release.
—On Monday afternoon, Aug. 14, park officials were notified of a hiker fatality along the John Muir Trail within Kings Canyon National Park. Passing hikers used a satellite text device to send an emergency message that was relayed to the Park. The incident occurred along a section of trail switchbacks known as the Golden Staircase, northwest of Mather Pass. Park staff were flown to the scene that day and completed a recovery mission on Tuesday, Aug. 15.
—On Sunday, Aug. 20, a rescue took place in the Middle Fork of the Kings River in Kings Canyon National Park. A 40-year-old male kayaker, who was in the backcountry in the LeConte Canyon area, went over a 40-foot-plus waterfall. After dislocating a shoulder, he was unable to self-rescue. He was flown out via short-haul method because of the rugged terrain and access.


Here are some additional incidents that occurred during the past week:

August 13— An individual was arrested at the Giant Forest Museum for being under the influence of alcohol to a degree that he was a danger to himself. He had no vehicle or camping gear and was attempting to get on a shuttle to Visalia without payment. His blood alcohol level was almost four times the legal driving limit.
August 15— A shuttle driver reported a group of visitors shooting BB guns at birds and at the park shuttle. Rangers responded and contacted four individuals ranging in ages from 17 to 20 years. The individuals lied to responding officers about their involvement. An investigation led to the discovery of the weapons. The adults were cited for possession of weapons and providing false information to a federal officer.
High Sierra
August 14— The parks received a request for assistance from Fresno County to look for a missing 53-year-old male who separated from his party north of Kings Canyon with a destination of Mount Whitney. The parks put out notice to field rangers, and placed fliers at the ranger stations. The subject hiked out on his own the following day.
August 15— The Crabtree ranger responded to a sick individual camping nearby. He was determined to be suffering from an anxiety attack. After resting for two days, the ranger hiked with the individual to Trail Crest, where he was released to hike out on his own.
August 15— The parks received a report of a missing individual from Inyo County Sheriff. The subject, a 68-year-old female, failed to check in to her reserved hotel room where she was expected to resupply. Rangers headed in her direction and received reports that she was moving slowly, and gave updates as to her location. She eventually hiked out after dark on August 16 without injury.
August 19— The Pear Lake ranger received a report of a 37-year-old male who had fallenabout 25 feet. The patient reportedly had an open head wound and was unconscious on the south slopes above Pear Lake below Alta Peak. The ranger attempted to locate the patient unsuccessfully. The following morning, rangers who hiked in with ropes were able to access the patient. They attempted CPR, but resuscitation was unsuccessful. His hiking partner suffered a minor ankle injury, and was flown out to the front-country, where she refused ambulance transport. An investigation is ongoing.
August 20— The parks received two SOS alerts from  satellite devices near Trail Crest on the Mount Whitney Trail. The subject, a 44-year-old male, was suffering from altitude illness and complications from diabetes  and could not walk. He was flown by short haul to a landing zone where he could be loaded internally into a helicopter. He was transported to the Ash Mountain Helibase, where he was transferred to a Life Flight helicopter.
Mineral King
August 15— A 20-year-old male was hiking with a group of 11 when he injured his ankle near Cliff Creek on the Timber Gap trail north of Mineral King. He was treated on scene by a doctor, and two companions began helping him make his way out. A passerby used a satellite device to notify the Park Service. A ranger was dispatched to the scene and evaluated the injury. A stock evacuation was conducted so the patient could ride out, and he was transported to the hospital by his father.