Avalanche risk forces authorities to close Mt. Baldy where actor Julian Sands went missing

Hope that beloved British actor and experienced hiker Julian Sands may, by some miracle, still be found alive faded as authorities were forced to close tourist resorts in the Mount Baldy area of the San Gabriel mountains where Sands went missing on Friday the 13th of January due to the risk of avalanches.

On Wednesday, the Twitter account for the Angeles National Forest announced, “After major snowfall near steep mountainsides, there can be avalanche danger. Currently, the Mt. Baldy Resort and nearby popular snowplay areas cannot be accessed due to a recent avalanche covering Mt. Baldy Road. Potential danger could last 24-48 more hours or so.”

The Mt. Baldy Fire Department urged would-be visitors to stay away.

“We have received another foot of snow in the Village overnight and 2 feet at resort level. Please avoid travel into the area today so our snow removal crews can clear the road,” the department tweeted. “Mt Baldy Resort is closed today. Avalanche danger is also a big concern right now.”

And, sure enough, an avalanche did hit the mountain, KCAL reported on Thursday, as cleanup crews worked feverishly to clear the roads.

(Video: YouTube)

As BizPac Review previously reported, Sands was hiking in the treacherous Baldy Bowl area when he went missing.

Efforts to locate the star of such films as “A Room with a View” and “Warlock” were hampered from the beginning, as California was hit with storm after deadly storm.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department (SBCSD) stated one week after his disappearance that conditions on Mount Baldy were “extremely dangerous,” with Fox 11 warning that the mountain is risky “even for the most experienced hikers.”

Air searches were halted and resumed as the weather permitted, but icy conditions and the threat of avalanches made ground searches all but impossible.

Nearly two months later, Mother Nature is still standing in the way.

Below-freezing temperatures, strong winds, and still more snow are expected to ravage the mountain next week.

Bogus claims that Sands had been found surfaced on social media, but all have been debunked.

On February 18, a ground search was conducted by the SBCSD, but it failed to find any trace of the actor.

“On Saturday, February 18, 2023, over 20 members of the Fontana Sheriff’s Station and the West Valley Search and Rescue team conducted a ground search in the Mt. Baldy area,” an SBCSD spokesperson told Deadline in a statement. “The crew members focused on the area where the California Highway Patrol’s RECCO device hit on a possible electronic device on January 25th. Unfortunately, nothing was found that would lead to the discovery of Mr. Sands.”

Due to the “imminent storm approaching, ground searches for Mr. Sands will be delayed for some time,” the statement continued.

The sheriff’s department left little room for hope of finding Sands alive.

“Our goal is to bring closure to the family of Mr. Sands and when conditions permit, we will continue the search,” the SBCSD spokesperson stated.

In a recent interview with The Guardian, Sands’ best friend, actor John Malkovich, recalled one of the last conversations he had with his friend of 40 years.

The duo starred together in “Seneca – On the Creation of Earthquakes,” a new film that premiered at the Berlin film festival this week.

The conversation was about how to prepare yourself for death.

Malkovich called it “a pretty fitting tribute” to Sands.

(Video: YouTube)

“I haven’t really talked about what happened with Jules,” he told The Guardian. “But, in a way, it’s a choice, because he was an inveterate mountain climber/hiker. He was always tramping off to Kilimanjaro, or Antartica, or the Andes, or the Alps – a very experienced climber who’d been through very hairy experiences.”

“I suppose the particular conditions on the ground that day on Mount Baldy must have led to some sort of catastrophic and immediate error that was irreversible,” Malkovich continued. “That was my instinct upon hearing it. But he knew what the conditions were, and that’s what he loved to do. He found great solace in the solitude of that.”


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