Editor’s note: While this warning is specifically aimed at hikers on Mt. Baldy, the advice serves all hikers in the mountain communities well.
Over the last four weeks, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue (SAR) teams have responded to 14 rescue missions on Mt. Baldy and in the surrounding area. These rescue missions have been for lost, stranded and/or injured hikers.
Unfortunately, during these past four weeks, two hikers did not survive after falling and injuring themselves.
Please know the current conditions on Mt. Baldy are adverse and extremely dangerous. Due to the high winds, the snow has turned to ice, making hiking extremely dangerous. Sheriff’s Search and Rescue efforts are often hampered by poor weather along with dangerous avalanche conditions. The recent storms that brought the snow and ice conditions are not favorable for hikers, even those who feel they have a high level of experience.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is asking everyone to follow these simple tips to keep yourself and others safe:
• Heed all posted warning signs
• Look at weather conditions (both current and forecasted) for the area
• Make sure you have the proper gear and training and are properly prepared for alpine conditions (crampons, ice axe, proper clothing)
• Hike with a partner
• Bring a tracking or GPS device such as a SPOT Device or INREACH Device
• Make sure your cell phone has a full charge and bring a charged extra power pack for it
• Let someone know where and when you are going, and what time you will be back
• Most importantly: If you don’t know, please don’t go!