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Body Of Missing Hiker Found At Bottom Of Steep, Icy Slope In Angeles National Forest

Angeles National Forest (Photo by Karol Franks via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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An experienced hiker was found dead at the bottom of a icy slope off the Pacific Crest Trail after being reported missing for days. Kyle Benjamin Hunt, 32, set out for a three-day solo hike in the Angeles National Forest on Friday, February 12, according to the L.A. Times. But sometime later that day, L.A. County sheriff's officials believe the avid hiker from Tehachapi fell down a steep and icy 500-foot slope.

On Saturday, another hiker saw Hunt's backpack just southeast of Little Jimmy Campground, but continued on his way. It wasn't until the hiker returned on Sunday and saw the pack in the same place that he took a closer look. Inside the pack he found an emergency contact number for Hunt's mother in Kansas and called to discover that her son had told her he planned to return from his hike that day.

The hiker turned over the pack to officials on Monday, who began searching for Hunt that night after his family reported him missing. Search crews were forced to halt the search at 2 a.m. on Tuesday due to unsafe conditions, but when they resumed at dawn they soon found Hunt's vehicle near a trailhead at Big Rock Creek Road.

At 2:20 p.m. Tuesday, Hunts body was located at the bottom of the steep slope. His death is being considered an accident.

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Earlier this month, officials temporarily closed all trails on popular hiking destination Mt. Baldy, also in the Angeles National Forest, following the death of two hikers within a week. Officials caution that recent snow and icy conditions can make trails treacherous for all hikers, including experienced ones. For those looking to receive training to more safely climb California's snowy mountains, there are a number of great courses available.