Updated: Rescue Teams Find Missing Man on Altadena Trail

Akiva Estersohn, 48, was found by search and rescue teams three days after he was last seen. Officials discovered his car at Chaney Trail in Altadena and are searching the surrounding areas to find him.

Updated:  Search and rescue teams located a man in the Chaney Trail area Sunday night who had last been seen on Thursday, according to Sheriff's Lt. Marjory Jacobs of .

Akiva Estersohn, 48, was found stuck in a gully not far from the trail head, injured, but not in serious condition, according to Jacobs.  Search and rescue teams were helping him walk out on Sunday night, Jacobs said.

Estersohn was reported missing in Los Angeles.  His family, knowing he was an avid hiker, asked police to search all the trail heads in the foothill areas to see if he might have gone hiking.  His vehicle was found in the Chaney Trail area on Sunday.

The search began around 5:15 p.m. Sunday and was concluded by 10 p.m.  Estersohn had a head injury, some abrasions on his legs, and is "tired and disoriented," but not seriously injured, according to Jacobs.

He fell about 12 feet and hit his head and was unable to climb back out of the gully.

Members from the Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team found Estersohn, according to Jacobs.

Volunteers from the Hatzolah of Los Angeles Emergency Rescue Team and Chaverim of Los Angeles assisted in the search as well.

Original: Sheriff's search and rescue teams from Altadena, Montrose and Sierra Madre are searching the Chaney Trail area in Altadena for a 48-year-old man who was last seen Thursday somewhere in LAPD's Wilshire Community Division, according to sheriff's officials. 

Authorities found Akiva Estersohn's gold, 2001 Honda Accord at the Chaney Trail campground parking lot, north of West Alta Loma Drive in Altadena, Sheriff's Lt. Marjory Jacobs of told Patch. 

Estersohn is described as 48 years old, about 6 feet tall, blond with thinning hair and the beginning of a beard.  

The search began about 5:15 p.m. Sunday, Jacobs said. About 20 people from the Altadena, Montrose and Sierra Madre search and rescue teams are looking for Estersohn. 

Sheriff's Air 5 is also circling the canyon in the search for Estersohn.

Anyone with information is urged to call LAPD's Wilshire Station at (213) 473-0476; or Rabbi C. Fasman at (323) 931-9431 or mobile at (323) 470-2407. 

Check back with Patch for updates. 

lonnie fehr March 12, 2012 at 09:08 PM
LUCKILY ,,,that theres these search and rescue volunteers ....
Di March 13, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Thank you Heavenly Father for watching over my friend Akiva during this! And Bon...From another ICHC friend, thanks for looking out for him, too! {{hugs}}
Akiva Estersohn March 20, 2012 at 04:55 PM
FOR THE RECORD: I started out Friday morning 09 March (not Thursday). I was never "stuck" [i.e., immobile], nor in a "ravine" or "gully." I climbed past Millard Canyon's upper falls and realized I'd trapped myself because climbing back down was beyond my ability. Two days of unsuccessfull attempts at climbing the loose-soiled canyon slopes (as an alternative) and falling and sustaining the head wound convinced me that climbing back down the falls was unavoidable. I made it down somehow and was within one mile of the originating trail when it became too dark to continue. They found me sitting on a log, waiting for daybreak, "stuck" only in the sense of being unable to see where I was going. "not seriously injured" is relative. Of the head injury, the ER admitting doctor said "I can't believe he's still alive." Minor injury indeed. FWIW, "...at the Chaney Trail campground parking lot" is also incorrect. That is the lower lot used for access to the lower falls (currently closed). I was parked further up, near the barrier dividing Chaney Trail and the fire road. FWIW #2, that is not the world's worst picture of me, but it's close. For one thing, I'm a lot lighter now. ;) To my dear friend BG, please stop beating yourself up. I was hiking Millard Canyon before you knew what an Altadena was. :) - Akiva Estersohn
Dan Abendschein (Editor) March 20, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Mr. Estersohn - Thanks for the information. A lot of times we are speaking with police who are relaying details from people on the scene and some of the details do not come through so well. I would love to have a full, detailed account of your experience and a better photo if you would be interested in doing that. Please email me at dan.abendschein@patch.com.
lonnie fehr March 20, 2012 at 05:45 PM
that area is also posted do not enter closed etc etc etc
Akiva Estersohn March 20, 2012 at 05:50 PM
That area _was_ posted as "do not enter." It has since been reopened and at present only the lower falls are closed. Scores of people were hiking there over the weekend.
Lisa Hastings March 20, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Search and Rescue were not the only personnel involved in this rescue. We had an emergency on our street that had to wait for almost two hours because most of the Sheriff's deputies were in assisting Search and Rescue in this rescue that could have been avoided had the hiker practiced some common sense. Someone of advanced age especially should not have chosen to hike alone above the falls in Millard Canyon in an area that has been closed. Most experienced hikers know that that area is even more hazardous now after the Station Fire, due to unstable soil and trails. I do not know if he was hiking on the trail or in the stream bed. Either way, I know that canyon well, and even before the Station Fire, no way would I have hiked that rugged terrain alone--now or when I was younger.
Akiva Estersohn March 20, 2012 at 06:44 PM
I agree with most of what you have written and it is to my eternal regret and chagrin that so many resources and personnel were taken up on my behalf. However I repeat the area is _not_ closed, only the lower falls remain closed, I have hiked the canyon many times in the past and am scarcely a novice in the area, although I should have taken better precautions overall.
Revvell March 21, 2012 at 01:11 AM
"Advanced age" is certainly relative here. Many people in their 40's, 50's and even 60's can kick butt of many much younger. Those of "advanced age" are often more experienced and often wiser as well. Mr. Estersohn obviously made an error in judgement. Pretty sure we all have done that at one time or other, regardless of age, wisdom and/or experience.
lonnie fehr March 21, 2012 at 05:08 PM
i repeat all-of - millard creek is still closed .all way past dawn mine . akiva check with usfs ,,,, doesnt make it legal if someone else is violating cfr .
Tim Callahan March 21, 2012 at 06:22 PM
While I'm sorry our friend's emergency interfered with yours, I think you will have to accept the fact that the nature of emergencies does include the fat that they're inconvenient. As to practicing common sense, I suspect that we all from time to time fail to do so. Unless you have some well-established claim to perfection, this applies to you as well. As to your remark about our friend's "advanced age," allow me to point out that he is considerably younger than either my wife or myself. At the age of 68 I happen to be in good enough condition to hike in the foothills without a baby-sitter and take such hikes a number of times each week. Tim Callahan
Akiva Estersohn March 21, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Interesting...I have visited repeatedly the last two years always staying outside of areas marked "closed." As the closures were lifted I ventured progressively further. First, the road markings on Chaney Trail were erased, then the signage at the barrier was removed, then the signage on Sunset Ridge Trail was changed from "closed" to a warning about snag hazards, while the barrier at the campground [to lower falls] remained. Calling USFS never occurred to me, I just followed the signs. So it comes as a complete surprise to me to call USFS at 626-574-1613 as you suggested and have a live person [ie. not a recording] tell me that only the campground is open. Maybe USFS should just post their number on their signs? PS What does "CFR" represent? Can't find it. Oh - to be clear - I have hiked MC multiple times years ago, long before the Station Fire; my familiarity dates from then.
BG Callahan March 21, 2012 at 07:03 PM
There are thousands of people now who have been unwittingly violating the law??? For over a year? The USFS can't expect us to be mind readers. I was up there on Sunday when 2 rescue scooters and a sheriffs van passed me twice. They didn't detain me or tell me I was there illegally. We need some clarification, for the benefit of the numerous users who have travelled this area in the last year.
lonnie fehr March 21, 2012 at 07:15 PM
the sheriffs usually dont enforce federal rules laws[ or can on some ] , only county rules . neither does search rescue they are only there to save someone . signs have been repeatedly been put up , but others tear them down .
lonnie fehr March 21, 2012 at 07:17 PM
ps cfr code of regulations . closure map etc is on website angeles nat forest .
Akiva Estersohn March 21, 2012 at 07:23 PM
To LF: Then that's a situation that has to be fixed. One would hope my incident was sufficiently high-profile to get USFS's attention and spur them to address the issues you raise, otherwise access will continue to be completely random.
lonnie fehr March 21, 2012 at 07:35 PM
hi akiva; bonnie ,, its no bog prob . even with signs some ignore rules . just like a speed limit sign on a road . example of federal laws / county/ state laws are . like say medical pot , its legal as a state law /county . but not fed . technically if your in national forest[ with medical prescription ] federal you can get arrested for it . cause fed law overrides the state law . it gets complicated jurisdiction etc etc etc . anyhow hopefully area will get reopened soon ,.
Nico March 21, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Part of the problem is the vague maps which are hard to follow and the legal descriptions which boggle the mind. This is a LA times article (below) summarizing the new opening as of May 2011...so what does Sunset Ridge trails actually mean? No one really agrees, including the different rangers/officials I have talked to. Geez. http://articles.latimes.com/2011/may/16/local/la-me-angeles-national-forest-20110516
Dan Abendschein (Editor) March 21, 2012 at 08:26 PM
I'll also put up my link about reopened trails which you will note was published on May, a week before that LA Times article Nico linked to : ) But like the Times, I also had to struggle to figure out what was opened - the Forest Service folks I talked to did not seem 100 percent sure. And if you look at the maps they put out (you can see them at the link below) they are a zoomed out look at the whole mountain range that would make it near impossible to see specific trails in Altadena or elsewhere that are anywhere near the border of what is open and what is not. http://altadena.patch.com/articles/forest-service-to-reopen-100-plus-miles-of-trails-in-may
Mary Jo Hanold March 22, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Another ICHC friend here that is glad that Akiva was found before the situation became worse. I know that he loves to hike and has been in those mountains probably more than a lot of people that LIVE in this area. He should not be chastised for what happened to him. Sometimes we make decisions that don't always end up being the best for our well being (I know THAT for a fact). I am just appreciative that we have people like the groups that located Akiva and brought him out. MJH
Revvell March 22, 2012 at 09:09 PM
I actually just met him (you, Akiva) today. Didn't know it was you until after you'd left. Glad to see you're doing well.
Akiva Estersohn March 22, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Thanks! Great to put a face to a name. (You're the one we spoke to last, correct?)
Revvell March 23, 2012 at 12:01 AM
No sir, I was the one you spoke with first ~ I was wearing the bright white.
Nico March 23, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Thanks Dan, you scooped the Times! FYI I think there is a typo in the article, which lists El Prieto as "Now closed" (it was closed and now opened) and then, referred to later in the article as open, which it is.
Dan Abendschein (Editor) March 23, 2012 at 01:38 AM
Thanks Nico - scooping the Times is surprisingly easy - they are too busy writing about L.A. City Hall, D.C., and whatever is trending on Twitter. Scooping the local media - Star News, Altadenablog, etc. is much tougher, as they are more in tune with local issues. In this case, I knew about the trail openings about a month before I published this but had to harass the Forest Service constantly to tell me which trails would be opened. Then the day after I finally got the answer they sent out the press release to every outlet in the county! So I did get to publish ahead of everyone else but not by much. I'm sure Star News etc. had this much quicker than the Time did - they were probably last.
Dan Abendschein (Editor) March 23, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Oh and regarding the El Prieto bit - I read it and I believe what I was trying to say was that it was open up to Brown Mountain and closed below. It is kind of confusing because at what point I say it is closed up to Brown Mountain, but that is in the section heading about Switzer Falls - I think I was describing the trails from Highway 2 down, and that's why I said it was closed (down) to the Brown Mountain Road intersection. Not the best way to describe it for sure.
Akiva Estersohn March 23, 2012 at 05:28 AM
Oh! My reading comprehension is also taking a hit. Got it. You were very helpful just when we thought we were stuck. Thank you.
Revvell March 23, 2012 at 12:34 PM
I'm sure the folk you left the gifts to were very appreciative. Methinks they don't receive enough thanks for what they do out there, so, thank YOU from me!
Akiva Estersohn March 23, 2012 at 03:11 PM
They not only "don't receive enough thanks for what they do out there," there aren't enough words in the language to thank them for what they do. Ours was probably a greater attempt in that direction than most, I imagine. Thank YOU for facilitating.
Revvell March 23, 2012 at 03:39 PM
This is true and it was my privilege.


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