A mother of four and a very experienced hiker died after sliding more than 500 feet down Mount Baldy.
Referred to as the "Hiking Queen" by her friends and family, Crystal Paula Gonzalez documented her most recent hike up the mountain on Facebook. She detailed the dangerous conditions as an uncontrollable column of ice rolled downhill right past her.
It was so unsafe Gonzalez decided to turn back. However, at some point out at Baldy Bowl this Sunday, the mother of four slipped and fell 500 to 700 feet down the notoriously difficult mountain terrain and hit a tree.
"It was a terrible situation but we were able to see some of the best of humanity where the bystanders were helping out," rescue medic Eric Rose said.
Rose was one of the people that tried to help Gonzalez. He said he couldn't use a hoist rescue to rush her to the hospital because by the time they repelled down onto the snow the cloud ceiling already moved down too low.
"Due to the slope angle and the ice it makes it too dangerous to hike so we had to lower her down by creating a rope system," said Rose.
Gonzalez died on the mountain. She was an experienced hiker that summited Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the continental United States.
"Our mother was a kind, loving, lively soul," her daughters said in a statement. "She had a thirst for adventure that she instilled in all of us during our childhood. She inspired those that met her on the trails. She loved life and life loved her back."
In the winter months, San Bernardino County rescue teams perform three to four rescues per weekend near Mount baldy, however, people don't realize the dangers of the extreme alpine conditions right here in Southern California.
Gonzalez's family is raising money for her funeral expenses. They thanked the community for their generosity and support.
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