There are some lessons that can be learned from an incident that left an experienced Towsley Canyon hiker in need of assistance Sunday, according to Sheriff’s Department officials.
“She had climbed into an area that was inaccessible to these other hikers (who saw a stranded hiker and called officials), and nobody knew exactly where they were,” said Tony Buttitta, captain and 12-year member of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Search and Rescue Team.
The distress call came as deputies were putting on a haunted house for the community, but a fully loaded equipment truck is always kept nearby, Buttitta said.
The SRT is a volunteer squad of reserve deputies who are trained in emergency mountain rescue, as well as paramedic training, he said.
“The call came across as a cliff rescue, but it turns out she wasn’t really stuck,” Buttitta said. The call was from hikers who had spotted a woman who was in need of help.
“She was a 54-year-old woman suffering the initial effects of heat exhaustion,” he said.
Apparently, the woman had tried to cross over between the 2-mile trail and the 5-mile trail, a decision that isn’t that out of the norm -- however, it’s also not an easy climb due to the nature of the canyons, Buttitta said.
Eventually, deputies were able to coordinate with a helicopter unit and hikers that were standing above where the woman was located.
Buttitta took the opportunity to mention a few things that hikers should always know whenever they’re thinking about a nature hike.
He mentioned four main things to remember: 1. Don’t hike alone. 2. Let someone know where you’re going. 3. Bring double the amount of water that you think you might need, in case of an emergency. 4. Always bring a cellphone.
One of the unfortunate aspects of Sunday’s incident was that the stranded hiker was in one of the few local spots in the canyons without cellphone reception, Buttitta said.
Despite our local canyons’ seemingly isolated setting, there is usually coverage, he added.
After the woman was checked out by authorities, it was determined that she was not seriously injured deputies returned to the haunted house, Buttitta said.