Sunday, December 5, 2010

mountain search

Sunday afternoon view of Baldy Bowl

MOUNT BALDY - A search was under way this evening after dark on Mount Baldy for an Asian woman in her 50s, an experienced hiker who was reported overdue on Saturday, a technical flight officer with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Aviation Unit said.

"We have an update from some hikers that they heard a woman screaming, maybe near the ski lifts," said Deputy Carlos Quezada, who was on a search flight this afternoon on the east side of Mount Baldy in a sheriff's helicopter known as 40 King.

"She may have got stuck coming down," Quezada said Sunday in a telephone interview at 5:30 p.m. "She's an experienced hiker, but she's overdue since yesterday. Her vehicle was still in the parking lot. She's an Asian female in her 50s, with a blue backpack."

Just before 3 p.m. today, a Forest Ranger and a sheriff's deputy met people coming off Mount Baldy on a restricted access road above Manker Flat, near the trailhead for the Ski Hut-Baldy Bowl trail, to ask whether they'd seen the woman.

Sunday afternoon view of San Antonio Ski Hut

The ranger said the woman may have spent the weekend at the ski hut, and he hoped to reach a caretaker at the hut this evening. The ranger also said 40 King was coming out, and the airship appeared a few moments later over a ridge to the north.

"Up at that elevation, it was a little windy and choppy, and it started to snow on us," Quezada said. "It was about 20 miles per hour steady and 35 gusting."

Quezada said search-and-rescue volunteers were being summoned tonight to help locate the woman on the ground.

Before noon on the ice-patched summit of Baldy, also known as Mount San Antonio, gusts and wind-chill with near-freezing conditions did not deter scores of hikers from going for the top of the mountain. Baldy's high point is 10,064 feet above sea level. It is the tallest mountain in the San Gabriel range, and it is the high point in Los Angeles County.

Sunday morning below summit of San Antonio


Ski Hut web site is here

Photos by Guy McCarthy