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Another Missing Hiker Has Been Found Dead In San Gabriels As Search For Actor Julian Sands Continues

Snow-capped mountains are seen against a cloudless blue sky as a seagull flies in the right corner.
A view to snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains in late January. Authorities have advised for many weeks that hiking in the area is not advised due to dangerous conditions.
(Michael Heiman
Getty Images)
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A hiker missing for weeks in the San Gabriel Mountains has been found dead.

Authorities reported the body of a man — Bob Gregory of Hawthorne — was recovered near Mount Islip.

Gregory, 62, was reported missing on Jan. 13 after he left on a solo hike. Rescue crews are still looking for actor Julian Sands, who was reported missing from a solo hike the same day.

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A third solo hiker reported missing around the same time was located alive with minor injuries in late January, and another man was rescued after falling more than 50 feet. He was able to call for help using a satellite device he was carrying.

About the recovery

Rescuers from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department said the body was discovered about 300 feet below the summit of Mount Islip in snow and ice. That peak rises some 8,250 feet and can be reached via a 5.5 mile trail described as "moderately challenging" under normal conditions.

Video of the recovery shows personnel being lowered from an aircraft to reach the remote location.

About the search for Sands

A man with blond hair and a sqaure jawline poses in a open collar white shirt and dark jacket.
Julian Sands arrives at a premiere at the Egyptian Theatre on Dec. 2, 2008 in Hollywood. The actor has now been missing in the San Gabriel Mountains for more than a month.
(Alberto E. Rodriguez
Getty Images)

On Jan. 25, San Bernardino County Sheriff's officials said the search for Sands — by then missing two weeks — would continue by air. The hope, they said, was that California Highway Patrol personnel would be able to use high-tech tools to pinpoint a location for a ground search.

Sands, whose family says is an experienced mountaineer, set out solo to hike the Mount Baldy area, a popular destination.

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How often are rescues needed on Mt. Baldy?

The department reports:

  • 233 missions on Mt. Baldy between 2017-2022
  • 8 fatalities
  • More than 27,000 hours by volunteer rescuers
  • More than 2,500 hours by sworn officers, including air support, totally $1.4 million in cost

About conditions in the Southern California mountains

Both snow and high winds have made hiking potentially dangerous so far this year, with more rain and snow forecast for this week.

Some factors to keep in mind from my colleague Jill Replogle's recent report: Here's Why It's Especially Dangerous To Hike SoCal Mountains Right Now

  • Conditions are legit dangerous right now.
  • Southern California doesn't get high snow levels often enough for hikers to have the winter experience — and gear — they need to stay safe. 
  • Few, if any, companies and organizations in SoCal offer winter outdoor training. 
  • Close proximity to a massive urban area — and a usually warm one — can lead to overconfidence. 

    Hiking tips

    Be prepared!
    • Always plan for the worst and hope for the best. Carrying a few extra items can save your life. At a minimum, always carry the "10 Essentials":

        • Extra food and water (more than you think you'll need)
        • Extra clothing (more than you think you'll need)
        • Map and compass (know how to use them)
        • Flashlight or headlamp (plus extra batteries)
        • First-aid kit
        • Fire-starting kit
        • Pocket-knife or multi-tool
        • Signaling device (mirror or whistle)
        • Sunscreen and sunglasses
        • Emergency shelter (emergency blanket or bivy sack)
      1. MORE TIPS

        • Before you leave home, always tell a friend or family member where you plan on going and when you plan to return. Leave them with instructions on what to do if you don't return on time.
        • In case of an unexpected problem or emergency, always have a back-up plan for escaping the area safely. Also provide this back-up plan with your friends or family before you leave.
        • Although it's sometimes nice to be alone in the outdoors, it's always safest to go with at least one or two partners, especially if you're a novice or unfamiliar with the area.
        • Have the appropriate level of knowledge and experience for the adventure you plan to have. If you are a novice, please rely on a professional guide or at least a highly knowledgable and experienced partner.
        • As much as possible, study and become familiar with the area you plan on exploring. Gain a thorough understanding of the terrain and its potential hazards.
        • Review the local weather forecast in the area you plan on going and take the appropriate clothing and equipment. During winter-like conditions in mountainous terrain, check the current avalanche report in the area.
        • Be healthy, safe, and smart. Know your limits, don't over-extend them, and don't take unnecessary risks. It's advisable not to go hiking with an existing injury, as it could become unpredictably worse during activity.
        • While in the backcountry with young children, always keep them within sight. If your dog is with you, be courteous and keep it leashed in areas that require it. Doing so will keep you, your dog, other people, and the wildlife more safe.
        • Be aware of your surroundings at all times. There are many objective hazards in the wilderness, and they aren't always obvious. Keep a keen eye out for deteriorating weather, dangerous trail conditions, avalanche risks, and wildlife.
      What questions do you have about Southern California?

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