A Glendora hiker died after falling in snowy conditions in the wilderness northwest of Mammoth Mountain, the Madera County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.
Terrence Casey, 53, was crossing a ridge line above Iceberg Lake when he lost his footing and fell about 200 to 300 feet down the snow-covered mountainside shortly before 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3.
Casey did not have any safety equipment to stop his fall, according to officials.
His hiking partner tried to help him but also fell down the mountainside. By the time the partner was able to safely reach him, he found Casey dead.
Other hikers witnessed the fall from across the lake and went to an area with cellphone service to report the incident.
A search and rescue volunteer from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office was first to respond and provide aid.
Alpine search and rescue members from the Mono County Sheriff’s Office and a California Highway Patrol helicopter later responded to the location when weather conditions permitted.
Casey’s fall is the latest in a string of accidents in the Eastern Sierra this year. Last season’s heavy snowfall blanketed the mountains, and some high-elevation areas are still well covered with snow in August.
In July, a 28-year-old hiker from the Bay Area who was left in critical condition after falling down a steep snow-filled gully near the Incredible Hulk, outside Yosemite National Park. She was found to have been sharing only one pair of crampons and one pair of snow traction devices with her friend, according to the Mono County sheriff’s search and rescue team.
“We would like to remind anyone going on extended backpacking trips to be prepared with the proper gear for hiking and weather conditions,” Madera County officials said on Facebook. “Regardless of your level of experience, always make a safety plan and let people know your hiking route.”
Iceberg Lake is at an elevation of about 10,000 feet in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, on the east side of the Sierra Crest just below Mount Ritter. It’s about 8 miles west-northwest of Mammoth Mountain.