August 28th was a busy day for Inyo County Search and Rescue members. The Inyo County Sheriff’s Dispatch received two calls for assistance the evening of August 27th – both at approximately 7:30pm. One call was in reference to a 55-year old female, Sandra Corso, from Santa Fe, New Mexico who had become stuck about half way up the technical Mt. Whitney East Face Route. She was intending to ascend the Mountaineers Route, and after some route-finding errors, found herself traversing too far left. Corso crossed the East Buttress Route and ended up on the East Face Route. With darkness approaching Corso decided to call 911 instead of venturing further into technical terrain. Due to the time of the call, and her preparedness to stay out overnight, Corso was advised to stay put for the evening and at first light SAR would be deployed. Three SAR members hiked in to Iceberg Lake and climbed up to Corso on August 28th. SAR members assisted Corso down to the lake via two rappels and two belayed pitches. Corso and the SAR team hiked out without incident.
The other call for service was in reference to a 17-year old male who had become separated from a Boy Scout group (out of the Southern California area). According to the reporting party the group left Horseshoe Meadows and was en route to Chicken Springs Lake (which is where they were going to spend the night), when they noticed that the juvenile was missing. The group back-tracked and searched along the trail for several hours but were unsuccessful in locating the missing hiker. Inyo County Search and Rescue and Sequoia Kings National Park deployed ground operations the morning of August 28th. California Highway Patrol also assisted in the search by providing air operations; CHP provided both a helicopter (CHP H-80), and a fixed wing airplane (Air 81). The juvenile was located north-east of Big Whitney Meadow at 9,915’ elevation. He was flown to Lone Pine Airport, treated and released.