MOUNT BALDY (CBSLA) — Two hikers who got lost on Mount Baldy and were missing for nearly five days are back home Thursday and recovering from their misadventure.
Eric Desplinter and Gabrielle Wallace were found Wednesday after a search team in Cucamonga Canyon found two sets of footprints and alerted a helicopter search unit, which spotted the missing hikers’ camp fire.
The helicopter lifted them out of the canyon with a hoist rescue and were flown to the Mount Baldy Fire Station, where they were reunited with their families.
“We just lost the trail,” Desplinter said. “I had a little bit of a slip on, going to the peak of Cucamonga peak. Decided we wouldn’t go back up the ice and snow, but that valley was more treacherous than we thought.”
Search teams had been looking for the pair, who had gone out hiking with a group of coworkers, since Saturday. The search area was vast – 19,000 acres, steep and covered in several inches of snow.
“Rationed our food, drank water from a Lifestraw, kept warm as possible,” Desplinter said, referring to a straw that purifies water, of their survival strategy.
Gabrielle Wallace’s mother, Brenda Wallace, said she was grateful to the volunteers who searched for her daughter, who she said is an employee of Desplinter.
“So thankful that they’re both okay and it’s over, because it’s been a horrible nightmare,” she said.