Jason Lopez Hiking Recovery

I am hoping to reach out to everyone who can spare an extra helping hand in donating to help Jason get through this tough time after his hiking accident. This will help out with medical bills, rent and food for Jason, his wife, Jackie, and his two kids, Gavin and Lilly, so they can make it through these months.The funds will also help with all expenses as he undergoes rehabilitation to get back to normal.

Jason sustained multiple head injuries including a fractured skull and eye socket, two swollen black eyes and deep lacerations and road rash to his face and body. He has a small hole in his knee and he has swelling on different parts of his body. We are praying there is nothing neurologically wrong with him as things progress. He is still intubated to help him breathe and under anesthesia at this time to protect him from anymore injury. He does not currently respond to commands so until he does they are keeping him on anesthesia

Any remaining funds after all the necessary expenses are taken care of will be donated to the volunteer-based mountain rescue team for new supplies and additional search and rescue gear to help them in rescuing other injured or lost hikers.

On January 23rd, my brother in-law and I went hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains with the goal of hiking up Timber Mountain. It was a nice day of hiking uphill in the snow, talking about life and joking around. It was the first time Jason got to use his micro spikes I had gotten him and my sister for Christmas.

We finally made it to the top saddle of Ice House Canyon where it branches off into all of the other trails you can take. We decided to take the trail up to Timber Mountain and so we began trekking up the semi-steep terrain with another hiker, Yvonne, who accompanied us up as we followed the GPS lines to the top.

We were walking along icy snow with our micro spikes and ski poles for stability when we were approaching the summit of Timber Mountain.We were about 500-600 feet away from the top when I suggested we move off the icy snow onto a patch of rocky dirt. As I turned my head around to check on Jason, he lost his footing and started to slide on the icy snow. I shouted to Jason as I saw him try to regain control and traction to put his feet down and dig in his spikes. Between the iciness of the snow and the lack of weight on his feet he was unable to stop and continued a fast descent down the snow covered mountainside until he wasn't visible anymore. I quickly started yelling his name and listening to see if I could hear his voice, and each time I heard nothing.

I quickly yelled to Yvonne who was accompanying us up to the peak and she logged GPS coordinates and got her ham radio out. With no luck on the ham radio we quickly walked back down to the saddle where patchy cell phone service would be possible and other hikers were so I could gather a team to set out across the hillside to search for Jason. We luckily made contact with four other hikers at the saddle,  three of them, Brian, Anson and Mark, agreed to accompany me down the hillside to search. Brian, being an experienced mountaineer and Anson and Marc well adept at hiking as well were a blessing.

We spread out at different levels to comb the side of the hill. Making our way down and across the mountain about 1,000 or more feet down close the bottom of the hill. Marc made first contact with Jason vocalizing to the rest of us that he had found him by a trail of blood leading to him. As I approached Jason I could see he was hurt bad. The side of his face and clothes soaked in blood and he was semi-conscious moaning in pain and confusion.

Once the other two hikers Brian and Anson made it to us they took out extra jackets they had so we could cover Jason with jackets to prevent hypothermia. Brian an Anson logged GPS coordinates and gave them to Tyler and I so they could hike back up and get phone reception. Luckily Marc had one bar on his phone and was able to reach 911 and confirm a helicopter rescue was on their way to us.

After 20 minutes we started to hear in the distance the sound of the helicopter coming near. Finally help had arrived but not just yet. The helicopter made a first pass and didn't see us and moved off to search other parts of the sounding area. So Marc called back 911 several times to help give them our GPS coordinates and an idea of our surroundings. Finally after 45 mins of them searching, we were found.

They waved at us to let us know they had seen us. Jason, still going in and out of sleep and being awake but non-responsive, was starting to shiver because of the cold and his down jacket becoming wet and losing its thermal protection.

The helicopter made a swoop in and lowered down two volunteer rescue personnel and a stretcher basket for Jason. The heli had to then leave and go down the mountain to refuel before coming back. All of the guys assisted in stabilizing Jason digging a trough for the basket and wrapping him up to keep him warm. We finally got him into the basket and strapped down. We waited about 30-40 minutes for the heli to get back. Then they brought one rescuer up and then Jason in the basket next.

They had a rope attached to the basket to keep it from spinning in the wash of air coming off of the helicopter blades. He was about 60% of the way up when the rope to help stabilize came off and they had to keep bringing him up.The basket started to spin as it got closer and petrified me as I was hoping nothing bad would happen and Jason would stay secure in the basket. Luckily they grabbed the spinning basket and secured him into the heli. Up went the second rescue personnel and off went the chopper. The three other hikers and myself made our way back up the hillside back up to the hillside where Brian's wife was waiting for us all.

We took turns carrying Jason's backpack down the mountain to the bottom of Ice House Canyon to the cars.

All I can say is how thankful I am for all five of those hikers to be there that day to help me find Jason and to the volunteer helicopter rescue team who came in and brought Jason to safety. Thank You to Yvonne, Marc, Brian and Anson for your amazing help. Thank you to the mountain spirits for not taking Jason's life.

Donations (0)

  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 40 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 42 mos
  • Nancy Murray 
    • $50 
    • 42 mos
  • Allan Proctor 
    • $75 
    • 42 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 42 mos

Organizer and beneficiary 

Rob Wayman 
Huntington Beach, CA
Jackie Lopez 
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