On July 27, 13-year old Carlsbad resident Austin Shedd went missing on a hike into the Kings Canyon National Park. His father, Dr. Rick Shedd, an ER doctor at the Mammoth Lakes Hospital, along with another hiking companion, reported through friends that the teen had disappeared when they stopped to make a sandwich.
The hike began at the Taboose Creek area between Independence and Big Pine, off Highway 395, up Taboose Pass into the Inyo National Forest. The hikers planned to go to Bench Lake and return via the same route.
After an exhaustive search, Dr. Shedd hiked back down from the Arrow Peak/Baxter Pass area (elevation 12,959 ft.) in the dark, into Independence.
Dr. Shedd was finally able to use his cell phone to reach the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department at around 1:30 a.m. on July 28. A deputy met Dr. Shedd as he arrived closer to town. The national park’s emergency dispatch was on alert by 2:00 a.m.
The National Park Service took the lead for the search, with over 25 personnel, both on the trail and in the air.
By late afternoon, friends of the Shedd family were gathered in Independence to ascend the same trail the Shedds took into the wilderness area, but as the sun fell over the 14,000 foot peaks of the Eastern Sierras, the group was advised to stand by.
A national park trail crew reportedly found Austin Shedd at around 9:30 p.m. The crew remained overnight with him.
According to an Inyo County Sheriff’s Department dispatcher, he will apparently need no medical attention. “He’s just scared, tired, and hungry,” said dispatcher Carol.
Shedd was airlifted to a more populated area of the park on the morning of July 29 where park officials were interviewing he and his family as far as the circumstances to his disappearance, according to the parks spokesperson Dana Dirkes.