Sequoia-Kings Canyon: Weekly park incidents





Friday, Sept. 25: Rangers were called to a report of a drunk and disorderly person who was threatening people and playing loud music. The individual was arrested for being under the influence of alcohol and unreasonable noise.

Saturday, Sept. 26: The parks celebrated the 125th anniversary of Sequoia and 75th anniversary of Kings Canyon with a formal event near the General Sherman Tree and ongoing activities throughout the parks during the entire day.

Monday, Sept. 28: Rangers and interpreters helped grant a Make-A-Wish for a young boy with muscular dystrophy. Rangers provided an escorted transport in the fire engine from Lodgepole to the General Sherman Tree where a special “Sherman Tree Talk” was presented for the family, along with other special activities.       





—Park maintenance employees reported to a U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer that they had seen a truck with a deceased bear in the bed traveling down Redwood Canyon Road. The Forest Service contacted a Grant Grove ranger who responded to the area. The occupants of the vehicle were contacted, and one of the occupants had an extraditable felony warrant.   The occupant was transported by rangers to Tulare County Jail.

—Grant Grove rangers investigated a report of a satellite messaging device activation just inside the park boundary, west of Evolution Valley. The reporting party said she received four activations from her 68-year-old husband asking for help. She said that he had not had any food for two days and that he was last seen at McClure Ranger Station by her son when the parties separated. Helicopter 552 and a park medic located the man who had food, was not in distress, and refused any assistance. Through further investigation, it was determined there was a series of miscommunications between family members, lack of planning, lack of SPOT device technical knowledge, and a family disagreement that contributed to this situation being reported to rangers as an emergency. 

Sierra Crest

Tuesday, Sept. 29: Staff responded to a report of a hiker that had fallen and broken his collarbone near Trail Crest (2 miles below Mount Whitney at 13,600 feet elevation). The hiker walked out toward the Whitney Portal trailhead on his own before a ranger could arrive on scene.




Saturday, Oct. 3: At about 7:30 p.m., Inyo Search and Rescue received multiple calls for assistance on the Mount Whitney trail. The initial reports were unclear, but it was obvious that assistance was needed on the mountain. 

Accompanied by China Lake Mountain Rescue members, the teams began to ascend the trail. At about 4 a.m. Sunday, the team met up with two hypothermic victims, a husband and wife, about a quarter-mile below Trail Camp. 

The couple was prepared for a day hike only and did not have the necessary equipment to be out overnight or to endure the nighttime temperature that dropped below freezing due to the high elevation and an incoming storm. As the SAR team was assisting this couple, a third hypothermic individual was discovered at Outpost Camp but was determined to be safe and resting comfortably in a tent after being assisted by hikers.

Helicopter 552 from Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks arrived in the area about 10 a.m. to transport the patients, but low clouds prevented the helicopter from landing. 

While a second team from China Lake Mountain Rescue started up the trail, the first two teams began to descend with the victims. All arrived safely in the Whitney Portal parking lot by 2 p.m. 




Sunday, Oct 4: An Exeter teen was accidently shot and killed during a hunting trip in the Horse Meadow area of Giant Sequoia National Monument.

Accordingto information reported by members of the party that transported the victim to the ranger station at California Hot Springs, Luke Burns, 16, a sophomore at Exeter Union High School, was in brush a short distance in front of the other hunters. An unidentified hunter fired a single shot in the direction of Burns that struck the teen in the torso.

Members of the hunting party administered CPR to Burns and then drove him to the nearest ranger station. When Tulare County Sheriff’s Department deputies arrived on the scene, fire personnel were treating the victim. He was pronounced dead at the ranger station.

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Update: The cause of death of David Hulting, 45, of Whittier, who died on the Mount Whitney trail on Wednesday, Sept. 16, has been determined to be natural causes due to a congenital heart defect — cardiomyopathy — of which he was previously unaware.

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