Probable winter Baldy closures

General Palm Springs area.

Probable winter Baldy closures

Postby Ellen » Thu Aug 10, 2023 1:00 pm

Howdy All :)

I have a problem when the "authorities" want to limit access to our mountains. San Bernardino County Sheriff Dicus wants legislatures to close Mt Baldy during unsafe conditions (e.g. snow).

How do members of this forum feel about the proposed closures? The proposal is below my name.

How can individuals protest restricting winter access to Baldy?

I look forward to the discussion and advice.

Miles of smiles and thanks,

Sheriff Dicus Seeks Assistance from Legislators in Search for Solutions that will Save Lives on Mt. Baldy
Date: August 9, 2023

Incident: Sheriff Shannon Dicus Requests the Assistance of U.S. Forest Service and Federal Legislators in Protecting Hikers on Mt. Baldy

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department plays a critical role in locating and rescuing lost and injured hikers in the treacherous Mt. Baldy area of the San Gabriel Mountains. Despite this region being under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture - U. S. Forest Service (USFS), the Sheriff's Department has stepped in to assist due to staffing, resource, and funding challenges faced by the USFS.

The dangerous nature of Mt. Baldy was highlighted by the tragic incident on January 13, 2023, when accomplished mountaineer and actor Julian Sands went missing and was later found deceased. In recent years, the Sheriff’s Department has conducted more than 100 search and rescue operations for missing hikers, with over 10 fatalities. In just January and February 2023, 15 hikers were injured and lost, and two hikers lost their lives on the mountain.

These rescue operations involve a significant deployment of deputies, volunteers, and expensive air assets. Over the past five years, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department has expended $3 million on these operations, with minimal reimbursement, despite the assistance provided to individuals from various counties in Southern California.

Along with the financial costs incurred, these search and rescue missions have come at a much higher price. In 2019, Tim Staples, 32, and a nine-year search and rescue veteran, was one of 126 volunteers searching for a missing hiker in Mt. Baldy’s icy, rugged terrain. Staples became separated from his partner and was later found deceased after suffering a fatal fall.

To enhance safety on Mt. Baldy, the Sheriff's Department has engaged with the USFS, proposing measures such as temporary mountain closures during unsafe conditions and the implementation of a permitting process to track the number of hikers on the mountain. Additionally, the Sheriff’s Department would like the USFS to educate the public on essential hiking skills like navigation, lack of cellphone service, first aid, nutrition, hydration, emergency shelter, and proper equipment, as these are common factors contributing to hikers getting lost or injured.

Despite numerous discussions with USFS, Sheriff Shannon Dicus is disappointed these measures proposed have not been implemented. Sheriff Dicus hopes with the support of U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu and the USFS, whose jurisdictions include the Mt. Baldy area of the San Gabriel Mountains, legislation can be enacted to save lives.

Sheriff Dicus is committed to continuing the search and rescue efforts as a moral obligation to the community. The Sheriff’s Department remains dedicated to collaborating with the USFS and federal legislators to develop effective solutions for managing the wilderness areas and safeguarding lives.

Refer: Public Affairs Division

Phone: 909-387-3700

SHANNON D. DICUS, Sheriff-Coroner
San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department

SBSD - Headquarters
655 E 3rd St
San Bernardino, CA 92408
Posts: 2578
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 9:38 am
Location: Riverside, CA

Re: Probable winter Baldy closures

Postby Ellen » Thu Aug 10, 2023 1:32 pm ... 558649007/

More details on proposed Badly winter closures.
Posts: 2578
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 9:38 am
Location: Riverside, CA

Re: Probable winter Baldy closures

Postby Sally » Thu Aug 10, 2023 2:17 pm

It was frustrating, to say the least, when California State Parks closed Mt San Jacinto State Park last winter. It is extremely troublesome that state legislators have been asked to consider closing Mt Baldy during winter months as well. Being as National Forests are under the jurisdiction of the US Department of Agriculture, I don’t understand why the State should be able to dictate which federal lands should be closed to recreation at any time. I see a very bad precedent starting to take place, with closures looming in other mountain areas.

The one advocate I know of for keeping our mountains open is The Access Fund. It is an organization that promotes individual responsibility in order to keep areas of recreation open for us to use. Although their mission seems to be centered around rock climbing, I am sure they would be equally willing to fight to preserve the rights of alpinists as well.
User avatar
Posts: 1124
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:27 pm
Location: Temecula

Re: Probable winter Baldy closures

Postby Ed » Fri Aug 11, 2023 9:27 am

I can understand the frustration of the SAR people. But I am opposed to closures, when they have not tried less drastic preventative measures. All I have seen so far is vague warnings about winter travel from the USFS and State Parks. Another problem I have with closures is that 'non-closure' can be interpreted by some people as 'safe'.

I don't think the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department covered itself with glory in the Julian Sands case. The public statements had little information. Sand's family and friends were much more informative. Also very informative was a post on the Baldy Conditions thread on the Whitney Portal Message Board by graham, who climbed Baldy the day Sands disappeared. Very detailed and well-written. The family reported Sands missing on Friday evening, I believe. You would think SBCSD would have checked the Manker Flats parking lot early Saturday morning, but the car was not reported found until late next week.

Graham reported that it was cold and windy, with hard snow and ice. His photos showed perfect visibility, and he made no mention of avalanche danger. So it was virtually certain that Sands fell, the only question was where. Graham mentioned the 'off camber' section, coming down the south ridge, as being particularly tricky. (I once took off my crampons for the descent, thinking I would have soft snow everywhere, and definitely regretted it there). When his body was found, it was about where you expect in Goode Canyon, from a fall there.

Sands was said to be a very experienced climber who knew the mountain well. But I wonder if he had both a helmet and an SOS device. If you have both, there is a fairly good chance that although a fall may immobilize you, you will be conscious and able to operate the SOS device. The warnings I've seen issued by land-managers never mention carrying an SOS device. I think every party should have one, and particularly when you are climbing solo, in a cell phone dead zone (which Baldy was, in my experience).
Posts: 825
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:04 pm
Location: San Diego Area

Re: Probable winter Baldy closures

Postby hiiker » Sat Aug 12, 2023 8:22 am

Safetyism and the Nanny State.
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:52 pm
Location: SoCal

Return to Mt. San Jacinto & Santa Rosa Mountains

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests