A hiker who would have almost certainly died if it weren’t for the quick-thinking use of her ice ax was rescued recently from the Devil’s Backbone Trail, where she had been hiking with her brother before she slipped off the path.
Jennifer Fujita, 34, was making her way down the Devil’s Backbone Trail near the Mounty Baldy Summit – 9,200 feet above sea level – when she suddenly lost her balance and slipped off the trail.
She slid nearly 50 feet down before managing to sink her ice ax into the snowy ridge and cling onto it to prevent her from sliding further. That’s when her brother dialed 911 and guided air crews to their location by providing GPS coordinates.
Their ordeal was not over yet, though: Fujita had found herself in an area where wind gusts of up to 45 mph made air travel difficult. Not to be deterred, San Bernardino County Fire Capt. Eric Spies was lowed out of a helicopter from 130 feet above Fujita and managed to bring her aboard the aircraft. She was released to medical personnel and is said to be in good condition.
The Devil’s Backbone Trail has earned its ominous name due to a long list of deaths and rescues that have occurred in the surrounding area. Especially during this time of year, pockets of ice can make traversal difficult for even experienced hikers, who must come equipped with proper safety gear and training in order to stand a chance against the terrifying conditions.