Another hiker dies amid icy conditions, prompting closure of trails around Mt. Baldy

Another hiker dies amid icy conditions, prompting closure of trails around Mt. Baldy
In this file photo, a view of snow–covered Mt. Baldy. On Saturday, a 47-year-old man slipped and fell from a trail on the mountain and later died. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

A 47-year-old man died Saturday after he slipped and fell off the side of the trail near Mt. Baldy, the second person to die in a week along trails in the area.

Dong Xing Liu, who was known as Tony Liu, was hiking with his wife in the Icehouse Saddle near Mt. Baldy when they both slipped and fell from the trail, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.


The incident was reported shortly after 5 p.m.



Feb. 8, 11:22 a.m.: A previous version of this post said the hiker slipped and fell on Mt. Baldy.


At that time, the sheriff's department was conducting another aerial rescue of five hikers stranded on an icy trail, said sheriff's Corporal Mike Ells.

While the couple waited for medical aid, two good Samaritans hiked down to provide care, Ells said.

A helicopter rescue crew located Liu, 47, and his wife about 5:30 p.m. at an elevation of about 7,800 feet, Ells said.

But rescuers could not reach them until after 8 p.m., when Liu, a resident of Temple City, was pronounced dead.

Liu, his wife and the two good Samaritans were airlifted by helicopter crews that were using night vision goggles.

His wife was taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center with "major lower-body injuries," Ells said.

The rescue was one of five performed Saturday, according to Ells. He theorized that some hikers may not be adequately aware of the dangerous conditions.

"We haven't had snow like this for years," Ells said. "You don't realize how treacherous it is until you get up there."

On Tuesday, 23-year-old Daniel Nguyen tried to pull a friend who began slipping on the trail, according to Jodi Miller, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's department. But Nguyen slipped and fell 1,500 feet.

Nguyen, a graduate of Cal State Long Beach who lived in Garden Grove, was found shortly after 9 a.m. and later pronounced dead.

Mt. Baldy Fire Chief Graham Hendrickson told the Riverside Press-Enterprise that 12 people had to be airlifted from the mountain on Saturday.

The mix of snow and ice has prompted officials to shut down trails in the area.

The trail system around Mt. Baldy is closed until further notice "for health and safety reasons," said Sherry Rollman, public affairs officer for Angeles National Forest.

Six trails are closed, including Baldy Bowl, Bear Flats, Icehouse Canyon, 3 Ts, Chapman and Devil's Backbone.

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Times staff writers Sarah Parvini and Veronica Rocha contributed to this report.