Hiker dies after 700-foot slide down icy Southern California mountain

A female hiker died after sliding as much as 700 feet down a snowy California mountain on Sunday, authorities say.

The incident is reportedly the second hiking-related death on Mount Baldy in the past two weeks and follows numerous near-fatal accidents last year on the mountain, including four falls down its notorious frozen "ice chute."

Emergency services in San Bernadino County say they received an SOS signal from a Garmin inReach device on Sunday, communicating that someone had fallen down Baldy Bowl, a challenging 9-mile mountainside trail.

A sheriff's patrol helicopter was sent to the fallen hiker's location.

"It was estimated that the hiker slid 500-700 feet down the icy, Baldy Bowl," the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said in a statement. "The hiker was down on a steep and icy hillside, surrounded by numerous helpful hikers assisting in any way they could."

A medic was lowered to the spot and then requested an airlift to hoist the fallen hiker off the mountain. The department shared a photograph of the attempted rescue, showing the fallen hiker, the helicopter and other hikers at the scene.

"During that time, the hiker succumbed to her injuries," the sheriff's department said. "Shortly after, the weather cleared, allowing Air Rescue to complete the hoist."

The statement also revealed that another hiker had died in a similar fall there in the past two weeks. The identities of the two fall victims were not shared by the time of publication.

In December 2021, in three separate incidents, four hikers slid down a notorious "ice chute" on the nearby Icehouse Saddle trail. In the snow, one of those hikers fortuitously found the cellphone of a previous hiker who had fallen and was able to call emergency services with the phone's battery at 1%, authorities said at the time.

"We encourage hikers to please come prepared and hike responsibly," the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said on Monday. "Wear appropriate clothing for the colder weather conditions and have the proper snow and ice gear with you."