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Mt Baldy a lady hiker dies

Old 12-09-10, 10:37 AM
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Mt Baldy a lady hiker dies

I heard in the news yesterday that an experienced hiker was found dead somewhere between the notch and the parking lot.

I hike there and she probably took the steep part that only experienced hikers use.

I think its a good idea to buy one of those GPS devices "Spot" and carry that with you because up in the San Gabriel mts., there's not much cell phone coverage.
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Old 12-09-10, 12:38 PM
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I'm sorry to hear that. I had heard that a hiker was missing, but didn't hear the end of the story. If we're talking about the same woman - she was described as an experienced hiker, too. Be careful out there.
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Old 12-09-10, 04:11 PM
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What killed her? The weather? Mountain lion? A fall?

I too hadnt heard the end of the story. Sucks she was found dead.
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Old 12-09-10, 04:19 PM
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They found the body last night in very rugged terrain. They lowered a Paramedic down to confirm she was deceased. The body was female and matched both physical and clothing description. They were going to wait until this morning to remove the remains for safety reasons. That's the last I heard. Am also curious about cause of death.
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Old 12-09-10, 06:19 PM
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It would appear she went hiking without the proper gear for this time of year. That razorback just West of the peak has huge exposure on both sides. A detailed article said she was found N/W of the peak.
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Old 12-10-10, 09:53 AM
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I watched the news last night, Thursday and the report seemed to say she went out hiking before it started to snow and got trapped with icy conditions. She slipped and fell on a steep portion. This might explain why her clothing and gear wasn't appropriate.

I could imagine how a rider would experience fast changing weather conditions up there and the descent would be different with icy or slippery turns.
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Old 12-10-10, 10:08 AM
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Rip...
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Old 12-10-10, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by alicestrong
Rip...
+1.

I have been a serious hiker for a long time, and it never ceases to disturb me that it is usually the more experienced outdoors people who make the dumb mistakes that most always result in disasters. One hiking principle is to always turn back when the weather threatens to turn (if you are not prepared). This particular hiker is quite experienced, and it is sad that she lost her life due to treacherous weather conditions.

Another sad incident I read about just yesterday was of a guy (Hendrik Coetzee) who was snatched off his kayak by a crocodile while attempting to make a descent of the upper White Nile in Africa. Sometimes, the experienced guys just do dumb things.

Remember folks, nature (landscape, mountains and animals) would kill you in a heartbeat if you underestimate it.

Be safe out there.
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Old 12-10-10, 03:35 PM
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Real bummer when this happens. As CritEastwood mentioned above, she was found NW of Mt. Baldy's summit. That's the steep slopes going down to the Fish Fork area - REALLY steep, with very little direct sunlight (norh-facing slope), so any winter storm buildup will leave a lot of icy terrain back there. Some of the local hiking bulletin boards mention she was seen numerous times on the south side of Baldy in the popualted trails, so don't know how she got all the way over there (seems it was a fairly nice, if cool & breezy, day up there on Saturday). Maybe traversed over to Baldy's west summit in the late afternoon's deteriorating weather (its an easy traverse on a calm day), started straying off towards the north, slipped and went sliding down the steep north slope.

Don't really know how experienced she was. Stories mentioned she had been on a lot of guided climbs, so she might not have been that familiar with changing weather or traveling on/near icy terrain. Or she may have just stretched herself too far beyond her abilities whe traveling solo.
 
Old 12-10-10, 05:33 PM
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Was she headed down Devil's Backbone toward the ski lifts?

I experienced an example of changing weather conditions a couple of months ago when I was at the summit of Mt. Langley. All of a sudden I couldn't see 10 feet away. Fortunately I had used my GPS to track my path up and was able to backtrack. I never feel over prepared in the wilderness.
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Old 12-10-10, 07:00 PM
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What happens when the batteries from your GPS die?

Electronic crutches will never replace solid woodcraft and common sense.
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Old 12-10-10, 07:32 PM
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Sad to hear this. Love the climb to Baldy. Hiking alone is risky. Unfortunately, sometimes a hiking partner is not available. You have be more conservative when by yourself.
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Old 12-10-10, 07:41 PM
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The "Devil's Backbone" is on the other/east side of the summit, east of the 'bump' kown as Mt. Harwood, towards the ski lifts. Its a narrow ridge with steep drop-offs on each side, but its fairly easy to walk across in good weather. Ice, snow, or crappy weather would make it risky unless you knew what you were doing.

GPS units? I've got one somewhere around the house, but haven't used it in a few years. Its OK for tracking your path for back-up, but I still rely on map and compass as my primary means to get me there and back. Better to be familiar with surrounding landforms rather than put all your faith in an e-device. Don't use a cell phone (pretty useless after the first few miles of hiking into the backconutry) nor a SPOT-type device (I'm not that paranoid) either.

Hiking alone? I do it all the time, I just know my limits and turn around when I've reached 'em.
 
Old 12-11-10, 01:17 AM
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Originally Posted by surfrider
Hiking alone? I do it all the time, I just know my limits and turn around when I've reached 'em.
I had to run off of Uncompahgre Peak once, about 200' shy of the summit. Ego never beats a thunderstorm.
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Old 12-11-10, 01:46 AM
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I am so sorry that this lady lost her life. But you have to have crampons and an ice axe at all times in the mountains from November to June, at least. I have slipped while ascending Baldy (and other mountains) before, but that was in late May last year with soft snow conditions, so I was able to self arrest with just kicking in my toes and elbows. I had my crampons and axe at the time, but they were in my pack, as I thought the snow was soft enough not to need them. But the descent is a different story. Most mountaineering accidents happen on the descent.
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Old 12-11-10, 07:54 AM
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The Spot GPS battery life

https://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=219


Type:
EnergizerTM Lithium
Ultimate 8X
Battery Life:* SOS:
7 days
Track Progress:
10 days
Free Form Text:
365 messages
(5 packets w/ 3 attempts)
Standby:
~4 months

*Battery Life estimates assume that
Communicator operates in
independent mode and in 100% clear
line of sight environments.
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Old 12-15-10, 07:28 AM
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I came across this blog post referencing her...

Spot is still pricey for the average person...
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Old 12-15-10, 08:42 AM
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Here's an ad from REI on spot at $149.95

https://www.rei.com/product/784892
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Old 12-15-10, 09:23 AM
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That's pretty good, then it's $100 a year for service...
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Old 12-15-10, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by LawnChair
Was she headed down Devil's Backbone toward the ski lifts?

I experienced an example of changing weather conditions a couple of months ago when I was at the summit of Mt. Langley. All of a sudden I couldn't see 10 feet away. Fortunately I had used my GPS to track my path up and was able to backtrack. I never feel over prepared in the wilderness.
I have and use a GPS on hikes but never fail to take along maps and a compass. GPS is a good tool, but will never replace map and compass. Ask anyone that knows what they are doing.
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Old 12-15-10, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by surfrider
The "Devil's Backbone" is on the other/east side of the summit, east of the 'bump' kown as Mt. Harwood, towards the ski lifts. Its a narrow ridge with steep drop-offs on each side, but its fairly easy to walk across in good weather. Ice, snow, or crappy weather would make it risky unless you knew what you were doing.

GPS units? I've got one somewhere around the house, but haven't used it in a few years. Its OK for tracking your path for back-up, but I still rely on map and compass as my primary means to get me there and back. Better to be familiar with surrounding landforms rather than put all your faith in an e-device. Don't use a cell phone (pretty useless after the first few miles of hiking into the backconutry) nor a SPOT-type device (I'm not that paranoid) either.

Hiking alone? I do it all the time, I just know my limits and turn around when I've reached 'em.
Excellent post.
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Old 12-15-10, 02:58 PM
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From the reports, it sounded like she slipped and fell off a cliff. Doesn't sound like it would have mattered if she was hiking with a partner - perhaps there would have been 2 bodies over the cliff.

I've found that accidents usually don't happen during the more dangerous times (entering a difficult gravel-strewn turn at 40 mph), but during the easier ones.

For example, I got myself a nasty concussion after I fell on a relatively easy 30 mph corner on Mulholland a few years ago. I was descending GMR last weekend, and passed a female rider down on the side of a fairly easy sweeping corner. (Paramedics were already there, so I kept going to stay out of the way.)

Experience has taught me to be on "alert" even when the going is easy. Be careful out there - stuff happens!
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Old 12-15-10, 03:29 PM
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Yeah I think the point made in the blog about people treating Baldy so casually because it's "sunny California" was right on...and...

Don't get complacent!

Plenty of "experienced" outdoors people have "accidents"...
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Old 12-20-10, 03:28 PM
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SPOT is a good thing to have and it has saved lives. However, it appears in this ladys case it would not have helped. She apparently fell and was likely dead upon impact.
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