On Saturday June 28, 2014, at about 7:20PM, Inyo County Sheriff’s Dispatch received a call regarding an injured hiker on Palisade Glacier (above Big Pine in the Sierra Mountain range). According to the reporting party, Jay Underwood a 32-year old man from Palo Alto, California, had sustained a blow to his knee by a boulder and could not walk due to severe pain. The reporting party further explained that he and Underwood had been camping at Sam Mack Meadows; the morning of the 28th they left camp to climb the Palisade Glacier via the U-Notch route. After successfully climbing to the top of U-Notch, they began their descent. Not long into the descent they heard the sound of boulders falling – Underwood looked up and saw a “watermelon” sized boulder heading in his direction. Underwood attempted to move out of the way but was struck on his left knee by the boulder. The pain was too intense for Underwood to walk back to camp. Underwood’s hiking partner contacted the Sheriff’s Office via cellular phone, and advised that he would bring warm clothes and a sleeping bag to Underwood’s location until search teams could assist the next morning.
On Sunday June 29th at about 6:45AM, 8 Inyo County SAR members started up the North Fork Trail to provide assistance to Underwood until air support arrived. By 9:30AM Underwood was loaded into US Forest Service helicopter 525 and transported to the Bishop Airport where he was met by Symons Ambulance Service to further transport him to Northern Inyo Hospital for treatment. A big “thank you” goes out to Inyo County SAR and US Forest Service 525 for your help and quick response!