Two lost hikers, who prepared for a day hike and got stuck on an El Dorado County mountain overnight, were rescued Monday by a California Highway Patrol helicopter crew.
The hikers were located on the east slope of Mount Tallac, a mountain peak southwest of Lake Tahoe, in the early morning hours. Mount Tallac lies in the Desolation Wilderness of the Eldorado National Forest.
During their hike, they became disoriented due to patches of snow left from a previous storm, which resulted in them becoming lost, according to the California Highway Patrol. As darkness fell, they decided to hike down the east side of Tallac, which was very steep and consisted of loose shale rock. Becoming fatigued and lacking proper light to continue, CHP said the hikers decided to stay in place and call 911 for help. Their decision not to go further possibly saved their life, according to CHP Valley Air Division. The terrain below them was impassable due to the steep sheer cliffs.
Search and Rescue members Mark Carlisle and James Burns hiked down to the two victims and determined they had sustained injuries making it impossible to hike uphill. That’s when the H-24 chopper was requested to hoist the couple from the mountain side to a designated landing zone at the base of the mountain.
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CHP offered a safety tip: As winter months approach, the weather in the high Sierra can change at a moment’s notice. The weather at ground elevations may not be the same as that higher up in the mountains. Hikers need to be “overly prepared” when hiking in the back country, and always carry more food and clothing than needed for a trip.
The hikers rescued Monday, CHP said, were lucky their cell phone had reception and that they discontinued their hike as darkness fell.