We had a search training April 21, hiking for most of the day. We had made it back to the hut and most people had pulled out, heading home to relax. Then we got a callout @3pm for a missing mountaineer attempting a Badwater-to-Telescope peak trip. We loaded up and headed south on the 3 hour trip to the trailhead.
The guys’ girlfriend called it in when he was overdue. They has a pair of FRS radios: she hiked up the trail a little and heard “this is probably my last mayday.”
A H-80 helicopter was called in, and the hiker was found about 2/3 of the way up, apparantly unable to climb up or down.
Just as we got close to the trail head, the helo was able to land close enough and walk him to an LZ. He was wearing a brand new pair of hiking boots he bought at a store I probably should not name . . . it starts with a wall and ends with a mart. The glue bonding the soles to the shoes had melted and the soles fell off, so he was stranded in a very poor moccasin, unable to continue. Other than sore feet all was OK, according to the helo pilots; we did not even get out of the car and had a nice drive through Death Valley. Many missions seem to be resolved with us only there when other options fail. With only one hour of daylight left it almost turned into a daunting night technical mission.