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Rescue on North Pal this weekend???

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Rescue on North Pal this weekend???

Postby dshirl » Mon Jul 04, 2011 4:41 pm

I don't want to start any rumors, perhaps this was a training exercise, but there appeared to be a helicopter performing a rescue on North Pal Friday evening.

My friends and I were rolling into camp at Sam Mac meadows at about 5pm Friday evening. We'd been hearing a helicopter in the area for about 30 minutes. I soon realized it was hovering around N. Pal. After a while it went away and came back with what appeared to be a person hanging from a cord below the heli (perhaps it was gear rather than a person?). The chopper hovered over the mountain, dropped off the payload, and moved away from the mountain. The chopper stayed in the area for another 5-10 minutes, but I never saw it pick anybody up again (though it may have picked somebody up outside of my line of sight).

When we summited on Saturday nobody had signed the log, and there was no indication of a rescue.

Google hasn't turned up anything. Anyone hear of something going down on North Pal this weekend?
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Re: Rescue on North Pal this weekend???

Postby Tom Fralich » Mon Jul 04, 2011 5:42 pm

Sorry to hijack, but what did you do and what were the conditions like?

I'm hoping to do the Thunderbolt to Sill traverse in about a week.
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Re: Rescue on North Pal this weekend???

Postby The Chief » Mon Jul 04, 2011 5:43 pm

Just confirmed with Inyo County Sheriff SAR Coord in Independence that there was NO SAR OP in that area on Friday.

CHP Helo was just conducting training approaches and CFAL's.
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Re: Rescue on North Pal this weekend???

Postby dshirl » Mon Jul 04, 2011 5:45 pm

Sweet. Thanks for confirming.
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Re: Rescue on North Pal this weekend???

Postby Hela » Mon Jul 04, 2011 5:56 pm

My friend broke his ankle during fall on Starlight Peak. He was rescued from the notch between North Pal and Starlight around 5 pm.
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Re: Rescue on North Pal this weekend???

Postby dshirl » Mon Jul 04, 2011 6:03 pm

Tom Fralich wrote:Sorry to hijack, but what did you do and what were the conditions like?

I'm hoping to do the Thunderbolt to Sill traverse in about a week.



Snow level starts at about 100yds below Sam Mac meadows. I wouldn't be surprised if its melted out by next week with these hot temps. The snow is decently firm in the morning, and sloshes like warm Italian ice in the evenings.

Four of us climbed North Pal via the U-notch. The bergschrund is a major obstacle on the climb. In the middle its about 15 feet wide and 20 feet deep. The right side of the schrund is the easiest place to pass. It involved about 8-12 feet of mixed climbing. There are three small crevasses around the bergschrund, but they were easily passed. There's some really fresh webbing and rings that can be used to rapp on the descent.

The snow in the chute was pretty good for kicking steps; although there were a few icy sections so I'd recommend bringing crampons. The top 60 feet below the notch is blue ice, but it can be circumvented by climbing the rubble on the right hand side. You're snow-free from this point onward. We climbed the 4th class Clyde route, which was super fun.

Gear we found useful:
2 x 30m x 8mm ropes
Small alpine rack (nuts, 1/2/.5/.25 cams) (we also climbed Polemonium)
Webbing for rapps
crampons & ice axe
brought pickets, but never used
snow shoes for the evening descent (one guy did without, and he seemed OK)

Two guys at our neighboring camp were doing the T-bolt -> Sill traverse yesterday. I don't know if they're on SP, but maybe they'll see this and comment.
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Re: Rescue on North Pal this weekend???

Postby dshirl » Mon Jul 04, 2011 6:05 pm

Hela wrote:My friend broke his ankle during fall on Starlight Peak. He was rescued from the notch between North Pal and Starlight around 5 pm.


Sorry to hear that. Glad y'all made it out OK.
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Re: Rescue on North Pal this weekend???

Postby The Chief » Mon Jul 04, 2011 6:20 pm

Hela wrote:My friend broke his ankle during fall on Starlight Peak. He was rescued from the notch between North Pal and Starlight around 5 pm.



Who did the rescue?????

According to INYO SAR coord, they have no record of any responses. He also states he knows that for a fact as he was the ON CALL SARSIC (SAR Sheriff In Charge) and he has no knowledge or record of any call outs nor did he respond to any.

Who did you all contact to initiate the SAR response?
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Re: Rescue on North Pal this weekend???

Postby dshirl » Mon Jul 04, 2011 6:31 pm

Perhaps Fresno SAR? I know they've done rescues as far away as Ritter and Banner.
[edit]
I'm speaking w.r.t. the helicopter team. I'm sure its unlikely that a ground team would be formed from Fresno. There didn't seem to be a ground team involved, though.
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Re: Rescue on North Pal this weekend???

Postby The Chief » Mon Jul 04, 2011 6:54 pm

What color was the Helo. Type if you may know...

Which one of the two below...

Image

Image
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Re: Rescue on North Pal this weekend???

Postby dshirl » Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:01 pm

Couldn't tell ya'. It was too far away to ID.
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Re: Rescue on North Pal this weekend???

Postby Hela » Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:05 pm

The Chief wrote:
Hela wrote:My friend broke his ankle during fall on Starlight Peak. He was rescued from the notch between North Pal and Starlight around 5 pm.



Who did the rescue?????

According to INYO SAR coord, they have no record of any responses. He also states he knows that for a fact as he was the ON CALL SARSIC (SAR Sheriff In Charge) and he has no knowledge or record of any call outs nor did he respond to any.

Who did you all contact to initiate the SAR response?


I didn't climb with my friend. I don't know all details.
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Re: Rescue on North Pal this weekend???

Postby butitsadryheat » Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:30 am

The Chief wrote:Image


Well, THAT looks familiar :wink:
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Re: Rescue on North Pal this weekend???

Postby jdmorris » Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:06 pm

Our group thought the helo looked red and white, FWIW. It looked like the larger Eurocopter (Huey-shaped), had a very deep engine note, and spent at least 20-30 minutes hovering and circling between Starlight and North Pal. I hadn't realized that SAR in the Sierra could airlift someone out from above 14k feet! I tried to find a clear picture for the Chief but the helicopter is always a bunch of blurry, light colored pixels in the distance. What's the verdict? Any story from the injuried party? It looked like they got a wild ride at the end of a long rope (cable)!

JD
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Re: Rescue on North Pal this weekend???

Postby The Chief » Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:32 pm

SEKI USFS. Got it.

They were short roped.

Standard practice.
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