On November 24, 2013 at about 10:40am, the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department received a telephone call regarding a stranded hiker near Upper Boy Scout Lake (located at the base of Mt. Whitney).
According to the reporting party (Pamela McKeown) her husband, James McKeown, called her in the morning to let her know he was neck deep in snow and could not get down the mountain. Pamela said James woke up Friday morning (11-22-2013) and had to dig his way out of his tent because he had about five feet of snow on him. Pamela said that James did not have any food, water, warm clothing, or shelter due to James leaving all of his gear behind in an attempt to get off the mountain. James was supposed to meet his friend, David Webb, at Iceberg Lake but never met up with David. Inyo County Sheriff’s Office received further information that David Webb may also be in trouble.
At about 1:20pm, CHP helicopter H-40 located James McKeown. H-40 was able to rescue James and transport him to Southern Inyo Hospital to be treated for frost bite, hypothermia, dehydration, and exhaustion.
At about 1:40pm, H-40 located David Webb and transported him to Southern Inyo Hospital for treatment of frost bite and exhaustion.
A further interview indicated that David Webb went to Iceberg Lake to meet James McKeown. After the snow storm hit, David said he decide to climb down the mountain to get back to his vehicle. As David was walking down, he was hit by an avalanche and buried up to his neck. David said he lost all of his supplies in the avalanche. Once David was able to dig himself out, he got hit by another avalanche. David said he was about to give up when H-40 found him.
Thank you to CHP H-40 for your quick response and assistance!