• Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

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.

  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it


Visduh July 29, 2014 @ 7:32 p.m.

This was a far happier outcome than most of these lost hiker cases in recent years.


Ken Harrison Aug. 7, 2014 @ 7:48 a.m.

This from the mom's Facebook page, sheds a little more light on what may have happened on the trail . . . . "Austin very tired and hungry was walking slow and told Rick (his dad )to go ahead and find a place to pull over and make him a sandwich. You cant just make a sandwich in the middle of the trail you need to find a rock or log or a place to sit down and spread out. It is unclear but, they think Austin might have passed Rick. After 20 minutes or so Austin kept wondering where his dad was and tried to circle back to find him and of course was on the wrong trails. When lots of time passed and he knew he was lost he tried to find his camp and when he knew he was on the wrong trail he listened for the River and knew enough to start following the River so he would eventually pop out where people might be. Having no food or water he drank from a clean part in the River. As night fell upon him he leaned against a tree with a rock by it and prayed. He was cold and a little wet tired and hungry. He told me he started thinking about his cat Kitty Ki and how he might not see her again.................then he told himself stop~~~~ that is just the devil trying to mess with me and he prayed some more. ( of course I said Kitty Ki what about mom and dad??????, he said you know what I mean that was just one thought about the cat and he blew it off, he had faith he was going to see mom and dad. He told himself the whole time thinking negative would not help him so he chose to stay positive and pray. When morning light came he kept following the River and stumbled upon a tent. Knowing somebody would return to this tent he stayed put. Hours past and he was cold so he went in the tent and went to sleep. The trail head guys returned after searching to their camp and made some food they did not even know Austin was fast asleep in their tent for 45 minutes. Can you imagine their joy they are getting in the tent with their light and realize someone is in their !!!!!! Austin pops up and they say who are you ….Austin and they just hugged him with joy. Austin reported that he saw the helicopter a few times flying over him and he tried to throw stuff up in the air so they might see him but, with no luck. Thinking positive and the power of prayer help my son when he was alone and scared in the dark wilderness for over 30 hours Austin was about 5 hours and miles and miles away from the original spot of his camp and in such a remote area they had dropped off that search team by helicopter to search. Austin did get to see the helicopter infact he was flown out of the wilderness to the headquarters to tell his story and so that the AMAZING search and rescue team and everyone could learn from this experience. God does answer prayer and walk with you when you need him the most."


Sign in to comment

Win a $25 Gift Card to
The Broken Yolk Cafe

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription means another chance to win!