CHP’s Northern Division Air Ops busy with trio of high-altitude hoist rescues in five days

NORTH STATE REGION, Calif. — Constantly training for high-altitude, technical hoist rescues, California Highway Patrol’s Northern Division Air Operations aviation crew members are always prepared to launch at a moment’s notice for such emergencies. However, it was a busier week than usual with three separate and unrelated rescues performed in the North State region over the last week.

The first of the trio of technical hoist rescues happened last Saturday, June 19, and involved an injured hiker hoisted from the ice-covered Bolam Glacier of Mt. Shasta. Then, on Wednesday, June 23, aviation members rescued a victim who sustained a leg injury after falling while rock climbing the Clear Creek climbing route on Mt. Shasta. That rescue was followed the next day by a third hoist of an injured hiker from the Kings Creek Falls trail in Lassen National Park.

Each of the dramatic, high-altitude rescues were captured on camera, with footage of the incidents later shared by CHP – Northern Division Air Ops online, and can be viewed below.


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An injured hiker is seen being hoisted off the Bolam Glacier of Mt. Shasta after she suffered a fractured leg while hiking last Saturday. CHP image

Air crews were alerted to the first emergency last Saturday, after the Siskiyou County Sheriff Department requested assistance with the rescue of an injured hiker on the Bolam Glacier of Mt. Shasta. CHP’s H-16 was launched to the area with the aviation crew inserting a rescuer by hoist onto the steep mountainside.

“The scene was around 11,800’ elevation, while the density altitude was around 13,700’,” Northern Division Air Ops later reported.

The rescuer was able to stabilize the victim, who sustained a fractured leg during a fall, and prepped her to be hoisted off the mountain. Once the victim was ready, H-16 then returned, hoisted the woman from the scene, and transported her to Mercy Medical Center, Mt. Shasta. 

An injured rock climber is seen being hoisted from the Clear Creek climbing route on Mt. Shasta on Wednesday morning. CHP image

Then, on Wednesday morning, aviation members in H-14 assisted the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office in rescuing a man who sustained a leg injury after falling while rock climbing along the Clear Creek climbing route on Mt. Shasta. Due to the seriousness of his injury, the climber was unable to self-rescue and was at an elevation of around 12,800 feet.

Responding from Redding with a crew of two, H-14 inserted a rescuer via hoist at the 11,800 foot level, about 1,000 feet below the injured hiker. Once the rescuer was able to climb to the patient and prepare him for rescue, H-14 returned to the climber’s location and conducted the hoist.

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“The location of the hoist rescue was approximately 12,600′ elevation with a density altitude calculated at 14,700′” officials later said.

A CHP Northern Division Air Ops Flight Officer/Paramedic prepares to be hoisted down to an injured hiker who needed to be rescued from the Kings Creek Falls trail in Lassen National Park on Thursday. CHP image

The very next afternoon, H-14 assisted Lassen National Park (LNP) personnel with the hoist rescue of an injured hiker on the Kings Creek Falls trail.

The aviation crew “inserted a Flight Officer/Paramedic to the scene who packaged the hiker into a rescue harness for hoisting,” explained officials.

H-14 then returned and hoisted the injured hiker from the trail, before transporting him a short distance to waiting LNP Rangers.

“This video is from the Flight Officer’s helmet-mounted camera, giving you some perspective of what we see while conducting such missions,” CHP later said of the rescue.

Contact the writer:

Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.