Two people were rescued Saturday evening from snow-covered Mount Baden-Powell in the San Gabriel Mountains northwest of the San Gorgonio Pass, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
The unidentified hikers called for help about an hour before sundown and a Fire Department helicopter crew was able to rescue them, Deputy Jodi Wolfe of the sheriff's Palmdale Station said.
Deputies in Palmdale were advised the hikers were stranded atop the 9,399-foot peak, and one of the pair was beginning to experience hypothermia due to freezing or near-freezing conditions.
"The Antelope Valley Search and Rescue Team and Los Angeles County Fire Department were immediately called into action," Wolfe said. "A sheriff's helicopter spotted the stranded hikers and called for the Fire Department’s rescue helicopter. The rescue helicopter landed and picked up the stranded hikers, taking them to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Training Facility in Wrightwood."
Search and rescue volunteers provided first aid to one of the hikers and Los Angeles County Fire Paramedics continued first aid treatment, Wolfe said. The hiker was eventually released from the rescue facility.
"This is a perfect example of why it’s important to pay attention to weather predictions when planning a hike," sheriff's Search and Rescue Commander John Johnston said.
"These hikers were very lucky," Johnston said. "Had the call come in an hour later, the sun would have gone down and the temperature would have dropped. Depending on the circumstances, the rescue helicopter may not have been able to fly due to the inclement weather."
Weather forecasts last week indicated snow was coming in the mountains, and by Saturday evening several inches had fallen at elevations above 6,000 feet in the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountain ranges.
The Antelope Valley Search and Rescue Team has been called upon to perform eight rescues so far this month, Wolfe said.
The Antelope Valley Search and Rescue Team is a nonprofit organization under supervision of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. For more information visit www.avsearchandrescue.com or www.palmdalevolunteers.com.