Rescuers Save Woman After Plummet Down San Gabriel Mountains

Officials say hikers might not know the difference between ice and a pile of snow.

What to Know

  • A woman was slipped 150 feet down the San Gabriel Mountains on Sunday.
  • She was rescued by officials from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, who repelled from a helicopter to save her.
  • Officials warn that many hikers might not know the difference between a pile of snow and a patch of ice on the mountains.

To the unsuspecting hiker, a pile of snow on a hillside can actually be a solid piece of ice. This mistake led one woman to slipping 150 feet down a cliff in the San Gabriel Mountains on Sunday, calling the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department into action.

"They were almost to the top of Mount Baden Powell and she had slipped and fallen," deputy sheriff Joe Palomino said.

"It just takes one little misstep and you're sliding down the mountain," Deputy Sheriff Steve Pratt added.

Despite spotty cellphone service, the hikers were able to call in their coordinates. Officials from Air Rescue Team Five found the woman toward the bottom of the icy slope, wedged against a tree and unable to move.

"Her airway was good — seemed to have good color about her," Pratt said. "She was just complaining of pain, possibly some broken bones."

The woman was secured with a harness and pulled to safety by rescuers repelling from a helicopter.

Even though she was wearing hiking gear, officials say the micro-spikes on her boots may have caused her foot to slide. The rescuers from the Sheriff's Department use crampons instead to get a tighter grip while climbing and avoid similar accidents.

According to officials, many hikers don't know what they are up against when they encounter what looks like snow, but is really ice on the mountain.

"The Angeles Crest is so accessible," said deputy paramedic Brice Stella. "You can be at a Starbucks and twenty minutes you can be up in the mountains."

Nevertheless, the woman's calm demeanor in the face of danger helper her make it out of a nearly-fatal situation.

"Emotionally, she was good. She was in a lot of pain, but very strong," said Pratt. "She was a very, very tough lady."

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