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Third hiker falls to his death in Mt. Baldy

A San Diego man fell to his death while hiking in the Mt. Baldy area Saturday afternoon—the third fatality on the mountain within the month and the second on the Devil’s Backbone trail.

The 45-year-old man, who has not been identified pending next of kin notification, was hiking with a friend on the Devil’s Backbone trail when he slipped and fell around 1:14 p.m., according to a release from the San Bernardino County Coroner’s Office.

Authorities located the man about 1,000 feet below. Following a rescue operation, the man was pronounced dead at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center.

Gordon Green of the Mt. Baldy Fire Department said that in addition to the fatal accident, three other hikers had to be rescued off the mountain over the weekend.

In one incident, a woman on the Icehouse Canyon trail fell 300 feet before being caught by a tree branch Sunday afternoon, Mr. Green said. He did not know the extent of her injuries.

Mr. Green explained that inexperienced hikers should exercise caution while hiking in the mountains.

“The conditions I’m sure are much better than a few weeks ago, but it’s still treacherous,” Mr. Green said.

Hikers should wear proper equipment, such as ice shoes and crampons, according to Mr. Green. Crampons are sharp metal points that latch on to boots to get a better grip in icy conditions.

Mr. Green recommended hiking with a friend and keeping your cell phone charged to call or text in case of an emergency.

The man’s death comes days after the US Forest Service reopened the trails following two deaths earlier in the month. Daniel Nguyen, 23, died after falling 1,500 feet while trying to save a friend on the Devil’s Backbone trail and Tony Liu, 47, died while hiking with his wife in the Icehouse Saddle area.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff is investigating the incident.

Matthew Bramlett

news@claremont-courier.com