Hiker survives 200ft fall after climbing mountain in tennis shoes

Cucamonga Peak
(Image credit: Getty)

A 40-year-old woman survived a 200ft fall after attempting to hike a mountain alone on Christmas Eve, without proper footwear or ice equipment. 

As CBS News reports, Ruth Woroniecki was camping in Lytle Creek during the festive period, and decided to climb nearby Cucamonga Peak solo on December 24. She reached the summit safely, but lost her footing and slipped on the descent.

"As Woroniecki hiked down the switchbacks, she slipped on ice and fell approximately 200 feet," said Chris Mejia, Corporal of San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. "She came to rest on a fallen tree trunk and sustained injuries."

She was knocked unconscious, and came around to find another hiker helping her. The good Samaritan, who hasn't been named, was equipped with an ice axe, crampons, and a GPS device, which enabled them to reach the Woroniecki and contact mountain rescue services. She was airlifted to hospital suffering from a serious head injury and a fractured neck.

"It seemed safe"

"She required dozens of stitches and staples to close the laceration in her head, and neural-surgery to begin repairing the damage to her spine," said the Sheriff's Department in a statement. "She has a long road ahead of therapy and treatment."

Worniecki's sister Sarah spoke to the New York Post after the accident, praising Ruth's generous nature and charity work. “In retrospect Ruth, obviously, deeply regrets hiking that morning and going in the snow at all. She said it seemed safe at the time and she thought she had good traction.”

"This goes to serve for those that want to go up there hiking. Remember, bring your crampons, bring your spikes, bring an axe, said Deputy Doug Brimmer, who was part of the rescue effort.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.