Parched O.C. Hikers Aided by Rescuers

From a Times Staff Writer

Ten hikers were found parched in Modjeska Canyon on Wednesday as they trekked in high temperatures to prepare for a climb of Mt. Whitney, officials said.

The group, comprising business executives from Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties who were not identified, began their hike about 6:30 a.m. from the Harding Truck Trail in Modjeska Canyon, officials said.

They hope to scale Mt. Whitney, the tallest peak in the continental United States, in the fall, said Capt. Stephen Miller, spokesman for the Orange County Fire Authority.

About 4 p.m., one hiker, suffering from heat exhaustion, returned to the trailhead and called for help. He was treated at the scene as an air and land search was launched to find the other hikers.

About 40 minutes later, paramedics brought down two men by car. The remaining hikers got water from rescuers and hiked down on their own, Miller said.

"They were all in great physical shape," Miller said. "They just miscalculated how much heat there was in the canyon."

Temperatures were in the mid- to high 90s.

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