‘It’s go time’: Haunting video shows female hiker’s last words to camera – before she set out on trek and died falling 700ft down California’s Mt Baldy
- Crystal Paula Gonzalez, a 56-year-old mother of four and avid hiker, died on Sunday while attempting to scale Mt Baldy, 45 miles outside of downtown LA
- Gonzalez, from Covina, California, filmed a final video of herself setting off for the summit before dawn, saying: ‘It’s go time’
- She slipped on ice and fell 700ft down a ravine: other hikers helped her and a helicopter arrived quickly, but she died at the scene
- Her Facebook page shows several attempts to summit the mountain, but she was repeatedly thwarted, telling others that it was always safety first
- Gonzalez is the second person to die on the mountain in two weeks: Jarret Choi, 43, from LA, perished on December 28
A 56-year-old Californian woman has fallen to her death while attempting to scale one of the most popular mountain trails in the Los Angeles area – the second person to die on the route in two weeks.
Crystal Paula Gonzalez, a mother of four described as ‘the dancing hiking queen’, filmed her final video on Sunday for Facebook – where she often updated friends about her adventures.
In the pre-dawn darkness, wearing a head torch, she said: ‘It’s go time! Lots of people out today.’
The ice could be heard crunching beneath her feet, and Gonzalez slipped shortly after, plunging 700ft down the Baldy Bowl.
Crystal Paula Gonzalez, 56, filmed her final video for Facebook on Mount Baldy, shortly before falling to her death
Gonzalez, a mother of four from Covina, was passionate about hiking, mountain biking and being outdoors
San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department said they received a call from California Office of Emergency Services, which was alerted via a Garmin emergency device.
A helicopter was immediately dispatched, and soon found Gonzalez ‘down on a steep and icy hillside, surrounded by numerous helpful hikers assisting in any way they could,’ according to their incident report.
The medic on board the helicopter requested Sheriff’s Air Rescue, but Gonzalez died of her injuries before she could be airlifted from the scene.
Four days before falling to her death, she posted a video of the treacherous conditions.
‘This stuff is dangerous!!!!!! Beware hikers….,’ she wrote, with the hashtags: #MountainLessons #Learning #DangerousTerrain #Bowltrail #Mountbaldy.
Gonzalez frequently shared photos of herself in extreme terrain, hiking and exploring
The mother-of-four was remembered ‘for her fearless hikes, and daily dose of inspiration’
She also posted a video of snowboarders, captioned: ‘So unfortunately, I had to turn around safety comes first.’
On January 3, she wrote: ‘Don’t know where I’m headed just know that I am living a great story……’
On a GoFundMe page set up by her family, Gonzalez was remembered ‘for her fearless hikes, and daily dose of inspiration.’
Her daughter, Jasmine Rosado, wrote: ‘More importantly she was an amazing mother of four, a sister and a friend to everyone she met.
‘She is the personification of strength, love, and beauty.
‘She was a beacon of light to everyone who knew her and was always ready to lend a helping hand.’
On her Instagram page, Hiker 4 Life, Gonzalez described herself as: ‘At 56 I hike, jog, run and ride a MOUNTAIN bike love the great outdoors and I have 4 amazing children! LIVING,LOVING AND ENJOYING LIFE!!!’
Gonzalez shared inspirational quotes, including this one about hiking in the dark
Gonzalez, from Covina, is the second person to die on the mountain in two weeks.
On December 28, Jarret Choi, 43, from LA, was hiking the Ice House Canyon trail when he fell near the Ice House Saddle ridge line.
He was found two days later, after a search hampered by extreme weather conditions.
On December 17, four people had to be rescued by helicopter from the mountain after icy conditions made it impossible to move.
Authorities are stressing that hikers must wear appropriate clothing for the cold weather and have proper snow and ice gear.