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Presumed Deceased CA - Julian Sands, missing hiker on Mount Baldy, Angeles NF; Jan 2023

Bucket Hat

Administrator
Crystal Paula Gonzalez-Landas (separate thread) slid down the mountain and died last week at Mount Baldy Bowl. About that time, another hiker slid and died on a different Mount Baldy trail.

And now, 2 more are missing, identified as the actor Julian Sands (since Friday the 13th) and Bob Gregory (since Monday the 16th). These are separate searches occurring simultaneously. The searches have had to be called off several times because of weather.

LE says it has responded to 14 rescues in the last 4 weeks.

Media:



 

She Made Me Do It

Charter Member
Well, the photos sure help, @Bucket Hat .I got looking around, and it isn't the first year of multiple accidents up there. I randomly noticed a 2016 piece in SnowBrains.


Key quotes:

2 hikers have fallen and died on southern California’s 10,064-foot Mt. Baldy (or Mt. San Antonio) in the past week. 22 hikers and 2 dogs have been rescued via helicopter from Mt. Baldy in the past week.

Just this past Saturday, 12 hikers and 2 dogs took nasty falls and had to be air rescued.

****

Rescues and Fatalities on Mt. Baldy, CA in the Past Week:

  • Feb. 2nd: Daniel Nguyen, 23, fell to his death while attempting to assist a fellow hiker on a steep part of Mt. Baldy named “Devil’s Backbone.” Daniel fell over 1,500-feet after loosing his footing.
  • Feb. 3rd: Injured hiker airlifted from Icehouse Saddle.
  • Feb. 4th: 3 hikers took bad falls and were rescued by helicopter hoist.
  • Feb 6th at 3:20pm: 5 stranded hikers rescued by helicopter hoist in Icehouse Canyon. All hikers uninjured.
  • Feb. 6th at 5:10pm: Dong Xing, 47, fell with his wife Linda, 44 in the Icehouse Saddle area. Dong was killed, his wife survived with”major lower-body injuries”. Linda was helicopter hoisted out in the darkness using ” a night hoist rescue using night vision goggles.”
  • Feb. 8th: 12 hikers and 2 dogs rescued by helicopter.
****
It’s being reported that many of these hikers were unprepared with nearly no gear and some literally had no gear.


“Some of them weren’t even carrying backpacks. It was unbelievable. Then I heard all the helicopter activity later in the morning and afternoon and hikers coming down from the saddle reported that people had fallen and gotten injured.” – eyewitness


“As far as I know, there wasn’t any equipment that was adequate. Crampons wouldn’t have helped. The ice was so smooth it was almost like a mirror, and so hard nothing was going to penetrate it enough to make it safe.” – Mt. Baldy Fire Department Capt. Gordon Greene told the Times
 

One Fat Marmot

Diggin' It
Grrr.....I hate it when "missing hiker" events get turned into Don Quixote survival quests. The media is responsible for this, but maybe the actor played into this, too, even if not intentionally? Why otherwise would an experienced mountaineer go out in those conditions, in a place with a history of fatalities? It's not even a glamorous hike, if you're an experienced mountaineer, seriously not special. So what's the deal, some kind of near-suicidal bravado so you can be a media hero? I guess this is not different than folks who take selfies in very dangerous locations; it gets them Instagram likes. Hmmm.... all this media over Julian Sands is a gigantic whirl of "likes"?

The fatal version of this kind of selfie is "selfie-cide". I saw that somewhere. Works for me.
 

Nitty Gritty

Hangin' Out
Grrr.....I hate it when "missing hiker" events get turned into Don Quixote survival quests. The media is responsible for this, but maybe the actor played into this, too, even if not intentionally? Why otherwise would an experienced mountaineer go out in those conditions, in a place with a history of fatalities? It's not even a glamorous hike, if you're an experienced mountaineer, seriously not special. So what's the deal, some kind of near-suicidal bravado so you can be a media hero? I guess this is not different than folks who take selfies in very dangerous locations; it gets them Instagram likes. Hmmm.... all this media over Julian Sands is a gigantic whirl of "likes"?

The fatal version of this kind of selfie is "selfie-cide". I saw that somewhere. Works for me.
Woah, that's out there @One Fat Marmot . I don't understand it, either.

Here's a description of the hike in winter. It sounds insane. It looks insane. And this is a summer-time photo. Imagine with all that snow and rain and wind they've been having....

 

Naughty Pine

Hangin' Out

Calico Jeans

Administrator
OMG This is the nth degree of irresponsible. Inside Edition has a piece on how dangerous Mount Baldy is, and their demonstrator (whom, naturally, they portray as a "survival instructor") is wearing a cotton jeans jacket, topped with a soaking wet poncho, held together with a rope, and demonstrating brand new crampons which "will keep you from sliding on ice and stick on any mountain". No mention that the Sheriff has come out an explicitly said something to the effect, "crampons won't keep you from sliding off the ice on Mount Baldy". No experienced outdoorsperson would ever be out in wild outdoors dressed in the get up IE's "survival instructor expert" is wearing.

Ha! While I was writing this, IE took the article down? It's called: Is California's Mount Baldy too dangerous to hike?

Found another source....

 

Naughty Pine

Hangin' Out
It’s insane how much the media is into this, though it’s probably just run-of-the mill “he put himself in harm’s way, and harm happened”. And all the LE helicopters…I don’t get it. With all that snow, remains would be totally buried under feet of the stuff, and for sure they’re looking for remains. No way he’s alive.

We don’t even know if he took any technical equipment with him; he could have just decided he was experienced, so everyday hiking stuff plus microspikes would do the trick. Maybe he WANTED all this publicity to revv up his career? It wouldn’t be the first time someone sort of famous did something like that. I think it’s possible, but not likely.

I want to know what JS took on his fatal outing.
 

Chill

For Real
If I were an inexperienced LA hiker, I’d get very dangerous ideas from this search. I’d think I could do whatever I wanted on the mountain, and if I screwed up, SAR would be looking for me for DAYS. Oh, and for sure it would be possible to survive a week of extreme snow, wind, rain. The odds might be low, but that’s what SAR is for, right?
 

Nitty Gritty

Hangin' Out
I can't believe another hiker, Jin Chung, has gone missing in the same trail area . But when family are out there calling JS a "heroic mountaineer", and SAR spending so much time in a low-odds search for him, I can see why it would be tempting to head out there and believe it's some kind of glamor trip.
 

Tower

In the Groove
I can't believe another hiker, Jin Chung, has gone missing in the same trail area . But when family are out there calling JS a "heroic mountaineer", and SAR spending so much time in a low-odds search for him, I can see why it would be tempting to head out there and believe it's some kind of glamor trip.
 

Rainforest

Laidback
This trailbuilder on Mount Baldy talks about how the trail in this area can be very hard to find; you have to have a lot of experience and familiarity with them. It sounds like he might not believe JS had experience that would be helpful enough.

He also assumes this is a fatality—there are a lot of places for a body to be hidden when the snow is deep, e.g. in a tree well—and it would not be unusual for the body to show up in spring after snow melt.

 
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