Rescue Required for Hikers Caught in Avalanche on Mount Baldy, CA

AvyBrains | | AvalancheAvalanche
The crown was between 2’ to 3’, and the approximate width of the slide was between 75’ to 100’, running about 1,300’. Credit: @lialexanderson

Six hikers were involved in an avalanche while hiking up Baldy Bowl, on Mount Baldy, northeast of Los Angeles, CA, on Saturday morning. One of the hikers was injured. The other hikers were able to provide emergency first aid to stop the bleeding and call 911. Total numbers of people caught, carried and partially buried are still being determined.

Based on the hiker’s location obtained from the original contact, the subject was located in the Baldy Bowl about four hundred feet above the Sierra Hut (aka the green hut or ski hut), at about 8,500-feet.

It was a windslab avalanche human triggered that stepped down to a dry loose avalanche entraining more snow and the victims. Credit: @gudaev

Due to the subject’s remote location, the only access was by helicopter or hiking. The San Bernardino Sheriff’s department attempted to hoist the subject, but due to the weather, a hoist was too dangerous.

The Sheriff’s Department activated a volunteer search and rescue team for that area, West Valley Search And Rescue (WVSAR). WVSAR teams attempted to drive up Falls Road to the Baldy Bowl trailhead, but snow covered Falls Road, so they parked at Manker Flats at 6,100-feet and started assembling their gear for a carryout. The team decided to bring crampons, ice ax and snow shoes, and since the original location of the subject placed them on a slope 400-feet above the trail, rope, snow pickets and other techical gear was also packed.

The slide path. Credit: @lialexanderson

The injured hiker was at the San Antonio waterfall overlook (0.5 miles from Manker Flats parking lot) when SAR members reached him. By then, additional emergency services, such as AMR and Baldy fire, were staged at the Manker Flats parking lot, waiting to evaluate and assist with the hiker’s injuries.

We understand accidents happen even with the most experienced mountaineer/hiker. We still urge the public to please have avalanche awareness training before traversing in high-risk snow-covered areas. Rapidly changing weather conditions add to the dangers in places such as the Baldy Bowl area.

Winter 20/21 is on course to be the deadliest avalanche season in US history. 33 people have been killed in avalanches so far this season.

Looking over to the bowl from the @mtbaldyresort showing the original avalanche along with new loose wet avalanches form Sunday’s warming. Credit: @thegilski
mount baldy, California, avalanche, los ángeles
Mount Baldy, CA

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