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Mt. Baldy trails closed and another death

 
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Huff and Puff



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 2:45 pm    Post subject: Mt. Baldy trails closed and another death  Reply with quote

It looks like the Mt Baldy trails and Icehouse Canyon have been closed due to dangerous conditions.
http://www.pe.com/articles/mount-793823-baldy-hikers.html

KTLA 5 report on trail closures.
http://ktla.com/2016/02/08/icy-tr...nt-baldy-about-15-hikers-rescued/

ABC 7 report on trail closures.
http://abc7.com/news/second-hiker...-to-death-in-mount-baldy/1191810/

One more article on trail closures.
http://www.dailybulletin.com/gene...ed-after-2nd-hiker-falls-to-death

A hiker slipped down the mountain near Icehouse Saddle and died.
http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/story.php?s=41100

A man slips down Timber Mountain and is severely injured.
http://www.dailybulletin.com/gene...t-fall-from-mt-baldy-hiking-trail

Be careful out there!


Last edited by Huff and Puff on Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:24 pm; edited 3 times in total
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walker



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very sad. Planned to go skiing at Mt. Waterman today, but found it closed, probably due to a death yesterday on the mountain. Things seem to soften up with the heat but can set up and freeze very quickly once the shadows come across. Be safe, all.

http://www.sgvtribune.com/general...terman-skiing-accident-identified
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mrnizegy



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Authorities say the hikers were not equipped to walk the trails that have become ice-covered because of melting snow."

I hiked Icehouse Canyon on Jan. 8. I'd say 90-95% of the people I passed on the way down were not prepared for the conditions. Many young college age kids had soaked tennis shoes and jeans. Even shorts!

And the same thing happens in the summer on trails. People hike with only a small water bottle.

Happy to hear that Jason Lopez survived his fall and is recovering.
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bcrowell



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:22 pm    Post subject: gear Reply with quote

The LA Times has some info on what gear people were using, although it's not 100% firm and clear: http://www.latimes.com/local/lano...aldy-closures-20160208-story.html

Basically it sounds like people are going out with microspikes and no ice ax, and they're getting in trouble because conditions are unusually icy. Someone from the Mt. Baldy fire department is quoted as saying, "As far as I know, there wasn't any equipment that was adequate. [...] Crampons wouldn't have helped." Well, I would be a little skeptical about such a blanket claim, but it may be that the appropriate technique for the conditions was roped climbing with ice screws.
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Tim
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have some more info on the death in Ice House Canyon. This press release is the official account: http://local.nixle.com/alert/5583422/

Near the same and in the same area, five stranded hikers were airlifted out. One of the five stranded hikers wrote his account here: http://www.wildcalendar.com/?p=963

The stranded hikers were part of a group hike. They were only equipped with trekking poles and microspikes. Their decision to climb Bighorn with this gear was really unwise. This trapped them because you can't descend steep icy slopes with poles and microspikes. You also can't stop any kind of a slide if you fall. One of them slid and slammed into a tree.
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Huff and Puff



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I notice from the comments that are being made that a lot of people feel that ice axes and crampons are required for these conditions yet few people mention helmets as being required gear.  According to the article on Jason Lopez, who slid down Timber Mountain, "he is still not responding to commands or talking. A recent MRI shows he did have some injury to his brain."  I doubt that Jason was wearing a helmet when he had his fall and wearing one might very well have protected him from brain injury.
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mrnizegy



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Tim for sharing the link of the first hand account.

The lessons learned section was good. Glad to read they kept together and made some decisions to keep things from going bad to worse. The pictures also show they were dressed well. I suppose the picture of the ice reflecting in the sun reveals more than microspikes can handle. I've never had issues with my microspikes gripping the rock-hard mirror-like ice lower in the canyon, but I don't think I'd trust them on a steep incline.

I've never put myself in a situation where I need a helmet yet, but I think I'll pick one up. I encountered one lady, Jan. 8, who was wearing a helmet.
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Mike P
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Tim! Good info.
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Sitting Bull



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was the hiker who wrote the firsthand account of being stranded on Bighorn and the helicopter rescue.

Unfortunately, I was unaware that the conditions required crampons, ice axe and helmet.  Had I been aware, I would never have set foot on the mountain without proper training and equipment.

I foolishly relied on others to know whether the conditions were safe to hike on with the limited equipment we had (micro spikes, poles and snowshoes).
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Sean
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sitting Bull wrote:
I was the hiker who wrote the firsthand account of being stranded on Bighorn and the helicopter rescue.


Thank you for your report. It was very illuminating and introspective. You clearly learned some valuable lessons, and everyone is happy that you all made it out okay.

I know it can be tough putting your faith in a group leader that you don't know well. And it might be unwise to separate from a misguided group if you don't know how to extract yourself from the situation on your own. Which is why it's super important to evaluate the leader yourself before going on really dangerous hikes. I suggest waiting until you have gone on some easier hikes with that person and have learned something about their personality and abilities. It's also important to speak up and tell the leader your concerns. If you don't think you can get down the route that you are ascending, a good leader should take that very seriously and either safely teach you how to descend or find a bypass. Unfortunately your leader led you into a situation where not even he could descend.
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Sitting Bull



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sean wrote:
Sitting Bull wrote:
I was the hiker who wrote the firsthand account of being stranded on Bighorn and the helicopter rescue.


Thank you for your report. It was very illuminating and introspective. You clearly learned some valuable lessons, and everyone is happy that you all made it out okay.

I know it can be tough putting your faith in a group leader that you don't know well. And it might be unwise to separate from a misguided group if you don't know how to extract yourself from the situation on your own. Which is why it's super important to evaluate the leader yourself before going on really dangerous hikes. I suggest waiting until you have gone on some easier hikes with that person and have learned something about their personality and abilities. It's also important to speak up and tell the leader your concerns. If you don't think you can get down the route that you are ascending, a good leader should take that very seriously and either safely teach you how to descend or find a bypass. Unfortunately your leader led you into a situation where not even he could descend.


Thanks Sean.  I often turn to organized trips/groups to try relatively new activities (in this case snow shoe hiking) or to go places I wouldn't go on my own.  This was a reminder to still exercise independent judgment and do my own research.

I was lulled into a false sense of security by a snowshoe hike I had done on San Jacinto a few weeks earlier.  The conditions were powdery and wonderful.  I assumed it would be something similar.
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Huff and Puff



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is the account of the woman who found Tony Liu (deceased) and his wife in Icehouse Canyon.

http://www.cbs8.com/story/3118250...-helps-save-hikers-on-mount-baldy
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