Tag Archives: joshua tree national park search and rescue


A La Quinta man who went hiking alone in Joshua Tree National Park last Thursday is lucky to be alive after he fell and broke his leg and was stranded in the desert for nearly two days. Robert Ringo went to the park Thursday and parked his car about 1 ½ miles from the Keys View overlook area. He then hiked east into the desert. He hadn’t gone far—about a quarter of a mile—before he fell and broke his left leg. Ringo said he had tagged his location before he left, and on Friday, his family started looking for him. Park rangers were notified in the early morning hours by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department about the missing hiker. When rangers arrived at the Keys View area at 5 a.m. Saturday, they found deputies on scene with Ringo’s vehicle. Canine and human trackers, as well as a CHP helicopter, quickly located Ringo about one-quarter mile east of the Key’s View Road. He was transported by backboard to a CHP helicopter, and then flown to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs where he had surgery on his broken leg. Ringo is expected to make a full recovery, and said he plans to continue hiking.

Managing editor Tami Roleff offers these tips on hiking safely in the desert…

The first rule of hiking is don’t hike alone. The second rule is to tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. Bring at least one quart of water for every hour you plan to be gone. Hike in the early morning or late evening hours and avoid the hottest part of the day. Even experienced hikers can be overcome by heat-related illness. Most areas of Joshua Tree National Park and many areas of the Mojave Desert have no cell phone service; to be extra safe, bring a satellite phone or a personal locator beacon that you can activate in case of an emergency.


Two women were rescued Thursday when they were overcome by 100-degree temperatures while hiking the 49 Palms Oasis trail in Twentynine Palms. About 11:15 a.m., Twentynine Palms firefighters, Morongo Basin Ambulance, Joshua Tree Search and Rescue, and Sheriff’s deputies were called to the trailhead about 11:15 a.m. for a hiker who was feeling weak and dizzy, early signs of heat exhaustion. Rescuers had to hike about a mile and a half to reach the 31-year-old hiker. As she and her 29-year-old companion were being escorted back to the trailhead, the second woman also began feeling weak and dizzy. She was treated by paramedics and had to be carried out. When they reached the trailhead, she was taken to Hi-Desert Medical Center by MBA. The 31-year-old woman refused to be taken to the hospital.

Managing editor Tami Roleff says hikers are reminded to go out in the cooler morning or evening hours and to bring—and drink—a minimum of one quart of water per hour of hiking…

The heat is on. The Morongo Basin is in the middle of an excessive heat warning. While people are anxious to get out of the house, remember that the heat can be deadly. If you are going to hike, here are a few tips to make your outing safer:

  • Hike early in the morning or late in the afternoon—not in the heat of mid-day.
  • Wear a hat and sun screen.
  • Try to hike at higher altitudes – the higher, the cooler!
  • Take at least 1 liter of water per hour you plan to be out.
  • Tell someone where you are headed and when you should return.

Even if you are just driving through, be sure you have plenty of water with you and that your car is filled with gas and well maintained. Charge your cell phone or have a phone charger with you.


A rock climber was injured following a fall in Joshua Tree National Park Sunday afternoon. County Fire Battalion Chief Mike McClintock said that rescuers from the park service, Joshua Tree Search and Rescue, county fire, and the Sheriff’s Department were called to the Hidden Valley area of the park at 1:45 p.m. The unidentified male rock climber fell about 30 feet onto rocks and landed in a precarious position; the rescuers had to hike up to him to get him. A Sheriff’s helicopter transported the victim to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs with multiple injuries.


A hiker who went missing in Joshua Tree National Park has been found alive. According to a recent Park report, the hiker was traveling along the Lost Palms Oasis trail in the Cottonwood District of Joshua Tree National Park when he became lost. Riverside County dispatch was notified of the missing hiker on Tuesday, November 26, at around 8 p.m. A search party comprised of Park staff, members of Joshua Tree Search and Rescue, a helicopter, and two rescue units from Riverside County mobilized and began searching where the subject was last known to be hiking. The subject was located at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, November 27, having been lost in the washes along that trail overnight. He was transported by helicopter to the parking lot where his vehicle was located. Joshua Tree National Park visitors are urged to take precautions before hiking: always alert someone to where you will be hiking, try to stick with a buddy, and be properly prepared for the season. Warm days in November and December can lead into freezing cold nighttime temperatures. Lastly, remember that cell phone coverage in the National Park is unreliable.


A hiker who got lost in Joshua Tree National Park Thursday afternoon has been found alive and well. The hiker, who was not identified, was hiking in a group along the 49 Palms Oasis trail on Thursday when they became separated from the group and went off trail. At around 5 p.m., the group reported the hiker missing. Park staff and members of Joshua Tree Search and Rescue mobilized and began a search for the missing hiker. The hiker was located by responders at around 7:30 p.m. and was hiked out without injuries. With temperatures rising well above 100°F at this time of the year, Joshua Tree National Park is urging visitors to take precautions before hiking. Avoid activity during the hot daytime hours, protect yourself from the sun, bring at least two gallons of water per person, and pay close attention to local weather reports for updates on storm and flash flood warnings.