Hikers endangering themselves in Southern California mountains

In the mountains of Southern California, hiker rescues are becoming an all too familiar sight.

"We're probably going to set a record, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Team Reserve Chief Mike Leum." "Were at 275 missions so far, year to date."

Many of those rescues happen in Eaton Canyon, just outside L.A. , on a trail where five people have died since 2009 and hundreds have been rescued, after scaling canyon walls to see a remote waterfall.

"What usually happens when people start climbing? They can get halfway up there," said Nathan Judy of the U.S. Forest Service. "And then they turn around and look down below and wonder how they can get back."

One section of the trail is appropriately named "Acrophobia Ridge." It closed officially on Aug. 1. Even though the warning signs were up several days before, one couple tried it anyway.

"When they try to climb back down that rock face is when they start to slide," she said of a woman who began to slip down the side of the mountain, only to catch her foot on a tree. "If she hadn't caught that tree," she could have been the next victim. The woman survived and was airlifted out of the canyon.

Judy said the next person that requires a rescue would be receiving a citation.

The citation can carry a fine of up to $5,000 and six months in jail, a steep price which hopefully will prevent another steep fall.

  • Carter Evans

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