A hiker died Saturday while attempting to ascend a trail near Mount San Antonio (commonly known as Mount Baldy) on the border of Los Angeles and San Bernardino County, marking the third death on the area’s popular hiking trails in under three weeks.
According to authorities, the 45-year-old man was making his way up a north-facing facade of Mount Harwood, just east of Mount Baldy, right before 2 p.m. on Saturday when he fell 1,500 feet down a “very narrow, steep ice chute.”
During a daring attempt to save the man’s life, rescue officials with the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department had to pilot a helicopter into a narrow canyon in which the helicopter’s blades were within 10 feet of the mountainside.
After successfully removing the hiker from the mountain’s slopes, he was flown to the Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, California, where he was pronounced dead as the result of major injuries sustained in his fall.
Officials identified the hiker as a San Diego resident but didn’t disclose his name.
The man’s death just underscored the danger hikers face currently while attempting to tackle the peaks near Mount Baldy. Per the Los Angeles Times, at least two other hikers had to be rescued after sliding hundreds of feet down the icy slopes of the mountains over the weekend, and the latest slew of injuries and rescues comes less than three weeks after a week stretch in which two hikers died and two dozen hikers needed to be rescued from the range.
Following those string of rescues, authorities within the Angeles National Forest closed down the hiking trails at Mount Baldy as the extremely icy conditions on the mountain made hiking treacherous for ill-prepared hikers and climbers.
“When you get on the backside of those mountains, those trails are only about a foot and a half wide,” Mike Ells of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said of the danger present in the area. “[Hikers] take one bad step, there’s nothing to stop them.”
According to officials, the San Diego hiker who passed away was wearing crampons (spikes that attach to boots to provide extra traction on ice) when he slipped and fell to his death.
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