Mount Baldy: Some hikers still brave icy slopes and treacherous conditions in search of Julian Sands

Despite warnings of dangerous, potentially deadly conditions, some hikers continue to brave the slopes of Mount Baldy.

At least two hikers have died on Mount Baldy this winter and another, actor Julian Sands, has been missing for almost a week.

In the past month alone, 14 separate rescue operations have been conducted on the mountain.

Rescue workers say the conditions were so treacherous that they had to pull ground crews to search for Sands. Instead, the search was primarily conducted using drones and helicopters.

Recent storms have brought heavy snowfall to the area. But strong winds and temperature fluctuations left many areas covered in ice. And the top of the mountain remains shrouded in clouds.

A digital traffic sign in the area warns: “WARNING ICY TRAILS / HIKING NOT ADVISED”.

Still, on Thursday, ABC7 cameras spotted some hikers approaching the mountain.

Hiker Richard Rubinoff felt confident in his gear.

“Like one step at a time,” he said. “I know it’s dangerous. I have big skis. Hopefully they are stable.”

Rubinoff is headed to the same area Sands was headed to when he went missing.

Experts advise against it.

“Hiking up here during the winter has to be very careful. We don’t recommend it,” said Ole Ellingson of Mount Baldy Ski Resort.

“It is not advisable. Especially after snowfall. There will be areas that you think are good for hiking. But next you’re slipping.”

Mount Baldy, also known as Mount San Antonio, is the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains at more than 10,000 feet.

It’s a popular spot for hiking — and rescues. Even in the warmer months, the slopes can be treacherous when it rains, with the possibility of mudslides. And even some members of rescue teams have fallen to their deaths while searching for lost hikers.

Recent deaths on Mount Baldy are spurring warnings from hikers

Copyright © 2023 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved. Mount Baldy: Some hikers still brave icy slopes and treacherous conditions in search of Julian Sands

Laura Coffey

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