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Hawthorne hiker disappears in the San Gabriel Mountains

Hawthorne man disappears while hiking near Mount Islip
Hawthorne man disappears while hiking near Mount Islip 02:42

Teo Gregory couldn't bear to talk about her husband, 61-year-old Bob Gregory, after he never returned from a hike near Mount Islip, just ten days after their 32nd anniversary. 

In her stead, Jimmy Gregory, the couple's only child described his father as an expert, safety-conscious hiker, who's done at least 25 hikes in the San Gabriel Mountains. 

"He's experienced and he knew what he was doing," Jimmy said. "He was very thorough in what he was doing — had plans before he started hiking. He would know the area — does his homework about the area."

Bob Gregory sits atop Mt. Langley in the Sierra Nevadas. 

With photos in hand, family and friends traveled to Mount Islip on Saturday to desperately search for Bob. When they arrived to the area, they found that the roads were blocked by mudslides and snow. 

Search and rescues ran into similar issues, calling off several ground attempts because of the treacherous terrain and deep snow. They reverted to an aerial search after the massive snow drifts paired with the icy conditions made their efforts exhausting. 

"My worst fear is that you know accidents, accidents happen," Jimmy said. "He probably slipped. He probably went off the wrong trail. Or even the weather right now — weather is, really, a big factor right now."

Rescue teams have concentrated their effort along the trail map Bob posted before heading out last Friday. His son added that investigators also tried tracking his father's phone to see if he might have veered off the pre-determined trail. 

"I wasn't worried because I know he did it for a long time and he had experience," said Jimmy. "It shows the progress that he actually knows the terrain and everything about it. We really weren't worried until now, pretty much."

So far in January, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department has responded to 12 mountain rescues at Mount Baldy, which is also in the San Gabriel Mountains, near Mount Islip.

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