Hiker gets stuck 9,800 feet up treacherous California mountain, deputies say

A hiker was rescued after getting stranded on a snowy California peak, according to a sheriff’s department.

The North Hills man, 46, trekked off trail and went “directly up the Mt. Baldy bowl toward the summit” on Sunday, Feb. 11, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said in a Feb. 12 news release.

The mountain, the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains, about 45 miles northeast of Los Angeles, was covered in “layers of compact snow, powdery snow, and ice,” deputies said.

As the man hiked away from his gear, deputies said he ended up in an area where he did not feel safe “hiking up or down the mountain side.”

After a rescue helicopter spotted the man near the summit about 9,800 feet high, deputies said they lowered a rescuer to him.

The rescuer placed him in a harness, and he was hoisted from the area, officials said.

The department urged hikers to stay on trail and notify others of hiking plans, adding that hikers should check the forecast beforehand.

“Mountain conditions can be treacherous and change drastically over a matter of minutes,” deputies said.

A little more than a week before the man’s rescue, deputies also warned of dangerous conditions on the mountain brought on by recent storms.

“The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department strongly urges everyone to stay away and refrain from mountain activities during this inclement weather,” Deputies said in a Feb. 4 news release. “The weather has effectively buried the mountain in snow and it is highly likely hikers will get into trouble.”

A missing hiker was found dead on the same mountain on Feb. 10, a day prior to the man’s rescue, while three hikers were also recently rescued from the mountain, McClatchy News reported.

How to be prepared while hiking

If you’re planning to hike, the National Park Service says there are 10 essentials you should take:

  • Navigation: Pack a map, compass and a GPS system. Make sure you study your route beforehand and understand how to use the tools.

  • Sun protection: Sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat can help protect your skin and eyes from UV rays.

  • Insulation: A jacket, hat, gloves, raincoat and thermal underwear can help you be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions.

  • Illumination: A flashlight, lantern and headlamp can create light if you get stuck in the dark — and don’t forget to pack extra batteries.

  • First-aid supplies: It’s a good idea to have a first-aid kit on hand while hiking. Check the expiration date on items before you pack them.

  • Fire: Matches and a lighter can help start fire to act as an emergency signal in times of need.

  • Repair kit and tools: Duct tape, a knife, screwdriver and scissors can be helpful if items break during your hike or you need assistance.

  • Nutrition: You should pack an extra day’s worth of food in case something goes wrong. Park officials recommend having “salty and easy to digest snacks.”

  • Hydration: You should drink water often and before you feel thirsty if you’re hiking in hot weather. Keeping your body hydrated is “of utmost importance,” park officials said.

  • Emergency shelter: Packing a tent, space blanket, tarp and bivy can help you be prepared if severe weather breaks out or your plan takes a turn.

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