Environment & Science

Mount Baldy trails closed after 2nd death in a week

The Mt. Baldy area of the San Gabriel Mountains received significant snowfall, something that was largely lacking during the recent drought.
The Mt. Baldy area of the San Gabriel Mountains received significant snowfall, something that was largely lacking during the recent drought.
Courtesy of Andrew Mitchell/Forest Service

Authorities have closed trails at Southern California's Mount Baldy following the death of the second hiker in a week.

San Bernardino County sheriff's officials say 47-year-old Dong Xing Liu died Saturday after he slipped and fell in the Icehouse Saddle area. Liu's wife was also injured and hospitalized in unknown condition.

Mount Baldy Fire Chief Graham Hendrickson tells the Riverside Press-Enterprise that a dozen people had to be airlifted Saturday from the mountain, where icy and windy conditions have been common.

"My understanding from talking to some of the hikers that we had contact with Saturday, the ice is so hard that crampons won't even penetrate the ice enough to hold them in place," Capt. Gordon Greene at the Mount Baldy Fire Department tells KPCC.

Twenty-three-year-old Daniel Nguyen fell 1,500 feet to his death Feb. 2 when he reached out his hand to save a friend who had slipped while hiking the Devil's Backbone trail.

Hendrickson says trails will be closed until at least Tuesday, when officials will evaluate conditions.

Correction: An earlier version of this post featured an image of Utah's Mount Baldy. KPCC regrets the error.

This story has been updated.