2 hikers injured in avalanche near Mt. Baldy

Two hikers were injured Thursday in an avalanche near the Mt. Baldy summit, authorities said.

The incident was reported at 12:13 p.m. in the Baldy Bowl, a 7.5-mile trail southeast of the Mt. Baldy summit, said Eric Sherwin, a spokesman for the San Bernardino County Fire Department.

According to Sherwin, three hikers were crossing the Baldy Bowl when an avalanche occurred. The hikers slid halfway down the blanket of snow and needed help getting off the mountain.

The hikers were on “unstable snow overlaying the sheet of ice,” Sherwin said.

One of the hikers suffered serious injuries and was hoisted by helicopter to a nearby ambulance for immediate medical care, he said. A second hiker was also injured and rescued by helicopter. That hiker was taken to a hospital.

The third hiker was not injured and walked off the mountain without assistance.

Live television footage from KNBC-TV Channel 4 showed rescuers tending to a pair of hikers as a helicopter flew over them. 

According to Sherwin, the Baldy Bowl is a backcountry area and not subject to avalanche control measures. Sherwin said he didn’t know the size of the avalanche.

“You do assume your own risk,” he said.

In this case, Sherwin said, the hikers came prepared and “did all the right things.’

They immediately called for help and used the buddy system, Sherwin said.

Snowy conditions in the San Gabriel Mountains have kept firefighters and sheriff’s deputies busy with rescues over the last two weeks.

Last week, San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies rescued a hiker who had slid 50 feet down a snow-covered peak near the Mt. Baldy summit.

Jennifer Fujita, 34, of Irvine, and her brother were hiking down Devil’s Backbone Trail at an elevation of 9,200 feet on Jan. 16 when she suddenly lost her balance and skidded down the rocky ridge, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

Fujita lodged her ice ax into the steep slope to stop her slide. Meanwhile, her brother called 911 for help. 

A sheriff’s helicopter found Fujita on the snowcapped slope and rescued her.

veronica.rocha@latimes.com

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UPDATES:

3 p.m.: This article was updated with new details from Eric Sherwin, a spokesman for the San Bernardino County Fire Department.

This article was originally published at 1:50 p.m.

 

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