Two climbers were descending from the summit of Lone Pine Peak on Sunday, September 8. They chose the wrong descent chute from the summit plateau and ended up above a cliff, unable to descend further. They contacted a friend via cell phone, and the friend alerted Inyo SAR to their position and asked the team for help.
Three rescuers started up the Meysan Lake trail at around 19:30. They were quickly able to locate the subjects’ headlamps in a chute to the east of the correct descent route. The rescuers reached the base of the chute at 22:30 and discussed the possibility of climbing up to the subjects and then rappelling down with them. This option was discarded due to the time of night and the loose nature of the rock. The rescuers were able to call the subjects’ cell phone and instruct them to make their way back up to the summit plateau. The Inyo SAR team went up the descent chute, located the subjects from above, and guided them the rest of the way to the plateau. The subjects were exhausted but uninjured. The group began the descent at 01:00 and reached the trailhead at 04:30.
Route-finding in the mountains can be tricky. If the route you choose starts to feel dangerous, turn around and retrace your steps to a known point. From there you can start looking for a safer way down. When possible, plan your descent before you climb. Always travel with a map!