Hiker stranded, rescued - Resurrection Wall

(04/30/2001)

From the NPS Morning Report:

01-190 - Pinnacles NM (CA) - Search and Rescue

While closing up at 9:30 p.m. on April 30th, ranger Shawn Murphy came upon an unattended vehicle in the Chaparral parking lot in the West District. Murphy recognized the vehicle as belonging to local resident Dr. Donald Gish. Gish is well known to district staff as a hiker who frequently explores off-trail, but always returns to his vehicle well before dark. Gish had left a note on the vehicle, saying that he was headed to Resurrection Wall. Murphy knew that the 80-year-old Gish has had two knee replacement operations, so began a hasty search of the Resurrection Wall area.

Murphy made voice contact with Gish around 10 p.m. and found that the doctor was stranded on a ledge about 25 feet above the base of the wall. Several rangers from the East District arrived shortly thereafter and helped establish a staging area. Ranger Neal Labrie climbed up to Gish and lowered him to the base of the wall. Gish was uninjured.

He had evidently gotten stuck on the ledge when attempting to reach his dropped backpack. When he found that he was stranded, he chose to stay put and await help. Increased visitation this spring has brought with it a noticeable increase in SAR and EMS incidents.
[Neal Labrie, DR, East District, PINN, 5/3]