Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (CA)
Three Rescued From Mt. Whitney
On July 31st, the park received word that a 50-year-old woman was experiencing chest pain and shortness of breath at about 13,500 feet near Mt. Whitney. Park medic Dave Walton and helicopter crew manager Carrie Vernon flew to the site in the parks helicopter, piloted by Larry Bartel. While Walton was treating the woman, four other visitors approached Vernon, complaining of a variety of altitude-related ailments. With little daylight flight time remaining, a quick assessment was made and the woman and two additional patients were loaded into the helicopter and flown to a medical facility. Typically 200 people climb the 14,496-foot Mt. Whitney each day not uncommonly in some state of unpreparedness. Although the summit is located in Sequoia NP, most people reach it via a Forest Service trail.
[Submitted by Pat Grediagin, District Ranger, Sequoia District]