Second hiker dies after falling at least 500ft from icy California mountain

Mt Baldy, California, USA, at sunset
(Image credit: Getty)

A hiker has died after falling at least 500ft from Mt Baldy, the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains, California. The accident happened on January 8, and was the second fatality on the mountain in two weeks.

According to San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, the woman (who hasn't yet been named) had been walking on the steep, icy hillside when she slipped. Fellow hikers sent an SOS message using a Garmin inReach satellite communicator, and the Sheriff's patrol helicopter was dispatched to help.

A medic was winched down to check the woman, and found she had suffered "substantial injuries". Sadly, she passed away before she could be airlifted to hospital.

According to the Orange County Register, a 43-year-old hiker named Jarret Choi fell while hiking Mount Baldy's Ice House Canyon Trail on December 28. The trail is considered a challenging route, and the bad weather conditions meant it took rescuers two days to find him, by which time he had succumbed to his injuries.

Come prepared

Several other hikers have reported dangerous conditions on the route in recent weeks, with ice and snow making the trail slippery and difficult to see. "Intended to do the full loop. I went up Chapman to avoid the crowds. The trail gets REAL sketchy with the snow," wrote Sara Schmidheiser on AllTrails.

"I did this hike on Dec 23rd, 2022. The trail is covered with snow and ice after you crossed the creek," said Shumin Guo, who tackled the same route a few weeks earlier.

"Many fall victims are reported on the same mountain in the winter season," said the sheriff's office. "We encourage hikers to please come prepared and hike responsibly. Wear appropriate clothing for the colder weather conditions and have the proper snow and ice gear with you."

For more advice, see our guide to cold weather hiking and our complete list of winter hiking tips.

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.