Watch: 6 hikers rescued from one of the only places it snows in Los Angeles

The men, who were all international visitors, found one of the only snowy spots in Los Angeles to take a hike, but they couldn't make it back.

MT. BALDY, Calif. – The High-Risk Tactical and Rescue Team safely pulled six vacationers from a snowy mountaintop in Los Angeles County on Wednesday.

Yes, snowy. The men managed to find one of the only places in Los Angeles where it snows. They decided to take a hike on Mt. Baldy, the highest peak in the county at more than 10,068 feet.

The Bear Canyon Trail is a 3.5-mile hike, according to All Trails. The site called the route "challenging," and the in-and-out trek should take about 2 hours and 19 minutes to complete. There is a 1,243-foot elevation gain as well.

Skies were clear and the visitors from Kazakhstan and Belarus left footprints in the snow. Even so, they got turned around, according to the San Dimas Sheriff's Station. One of the men used SOS Activation on his phone, which immediately sent an alert to the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.

Deputies tracked the men via cell phone and found their exact location at about 9,000 feet. The dispatcher told the group to stay put, help was on the way. By this time, shadows were lengthening as the day was coming to a close. Temperatures were dropping, and it was going to be a long wait for rescue.


"San Dimas Mountain Rescue Team, along with 88B, were activated and preparing themselves for a long and cold hike up the mountain," the San Dimas Sheriff's Station posted.

Cold and darkness setting in

The hike would mean searching for the men in the cold and dark, then hiking back down the challenging trail with a group that was not dressed or prepared for an overnight on the mountain.

At the same time, the High-Risk Tactical Rescue and Medics Team was notified. With a helicopter, they were able to find the men in the daylight and spare everyone the tough hike back. 


A video showed the exposed ridgeline trail and the footprints the helicopter followed to the men. The steep terrain prevented the chopper from landing. The men formed a line and grabbed each other's shoulders to trudge through the deep snow while being blasted by the propeller wash.

"All hikers were very grateful to see our search and rescue respond quickly to their need," posted the Sheriff's Department.

The deputies did make a request: "As a reminder to everyone, please prepare for worst-case scenarios when hiking in the mountains. If caught in a bad situation, our search and rescue will be ready to help." 

The men looked cold, posing in front of the chopper after they were dropped off.

Mt. Baldy's deadly history

The mission had a much happier ending than one just days before. A 22-year-old woman went out for a solo hike on the same trail on Feb. 4, according to FOX 11 Los Angeles. Sheriffs' deputies searched for her the next morning in heavy snowfall. They found three other experienced hikers who got lost on the trail that day, but not her. The rescue was called off the next day due to avalanche concerns.

Rescue-turned-recovery crews did find her body a week later.

Mt. Baldy made tragic news last year when actor Julian Sands went missing from the trail in January. Deputies found his body in June.