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Third hiker dies on Mt. Baldy in a month, two more rescued

By Shawn Price   |   Feb. 23, 2016 at 2:28 AM

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- A hiker from San Diego fell over 1,000 feet to his death on Mt. Baldy on Saturday, officials said. The incident marks the third such death on the mountain, near Los Angeles, in a month.

The 45-year-old man, was on very icy and narrow stretch of a Mt Baldy hiking trail called The Devil's Backbone when he slipped and fell 1,500 feet. A fellow hiker called 911 and a helicopter rescue team transported him to Arrowhead Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead.

The man's identity was not released.

Earlier during the weekend two other hikers were rescued after falling off icy trails. Unseasonably warm weather has created the icy conditions along the summit of Mt. Baldy and neighboring trails.

Mt. Baldy, officially known as Mt. San Antonio, is a 10,064-foot peak in the San Gabriel Mountains east of Los Angeles that straddles Los Angeles and San Bernardino county lines. It's the highest point in L.A. County and can be seen from downtown Los Angeles on clear days.

Trails along Mt. Baldy were closed in early February after two hikers died in less than a week. Though later reopened, treacherous conditions remain near the peak, even for those using crampons and other ice climbing gear.

On Feb. 2, a local hiker fell to his death on the same trail, while trying to help a fellow hiker. Four days later, a married couple both fell on a nearby trail, but the man did not survive.

"When you get on the backside of those mountains, those trails are only about a foot and a half wide," Mike Ells of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said. "They take one bad step, there's nothing to stop them."

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