Hikers who found actor Julian Sands' body believe he didn't have right equipment for the dangerous trail

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By Kim Novak

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Julian Sands's body was found in June after months of searches on the hiking trail where he went missing, and the hikers that found him have now spoken out.

Sands, 65, was reported missing on January 13 after he failed to return home from a hike in the San Gabriel Mountains outside of Los Angeles.

He had last been seen in the area of Mount Baldy, which is a notoriously dangerous area for hikers, and despite search teams being sent out which were also hindered by the poor weather conditions, he was not found.

Over five months after he disappeared, Sands's body was found by hikers who first stumbled across his boot while trekking in the area.

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Julian Sands went missing while hiking in January. Credit: Noam Galai/WireImage

The group of hikers has now revealed how "surreal" it was to stumble across the remains of The Killing Fields star and how they established it was him.

The leader of the hiking group, who did not wish to be named, told the Los Angeles Times that she had an eerie worry when setting out that day, as she thought: "I hope we don’t find a dead body today."

Three hours after setting off, the group found a lone hiking boot when they reached a flat canyon at about 8,400 feet, before spotting its pair, a trekking pole, and then some human bones.

They also found a pile of dark winter clothing nearby - which they noted was not an ideal hiking outfit as the dark colors blended into the landscape, making Sands more difficult to locate - as well as a wallet, which contained Sands's driver's license inside.

According to the hikers, Sands's bones were scattered, which could have been done by wild animals or been pushed into the area by avalanches or melting snow.

They also raised concerns about the apparent lack of equipment Sands had for the beautiful but dangerous hike, noting that they did not find a backpack that could have contained vital survival supplies, and said he was "dressed like a ninja" in dark clothing making him difficult to locate.

Sands's boots also were apparently the wrong type for the trail, with the hikers noting they had microspikes, which are small metal cleats that are perfect for hiking on snowy trails but unsuitable for icy terrains, where he would have needed heavy spikes strapped to his boots as well as crampons, according to the publication.

Hiker Bill Dwyer, who was among the group, added: "I was a little shocked to see the microspikes. They were just the wrong tools for the job at hand."

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Mount Baldy is a beautiful but treacherous trail for hikers. Credit: Getty Images

The group also didn't find any signs of Sands having had a helmet or an ice axe, but found his cellphone on a rock beneath the tree, however, the majority of the mountain does not get cell reception.

Dwyer used his Garmin InReach satellite messaging device to send an SOS to authorities with their exact location after finding the remains and told the publication that responders arrived in just eight minutes.

The remains were confirmed to belong to Sands three days later, however, it is still unknown exactly when he died and the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department stated that his cause of death was "undetermined due to the condition of the body and this is common when dealing with cases of this type."

There have reportedly been over 100 rescues and at least 10 deaths on Mount Baldy since 2020, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Eight land and air searches were conducted after Sands was declared missing, which totaled more than 500 hours at a cost of over $100,000 according to the publication, however the heavy storms and snow that coated the area meant he was not found until five months later.

Featured image credit: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Hikers who found actor Julian Sands' body believe he didn't have right equipment for the dangerous trail

vt-author-image

By Kim Novak

Article saved!Article saved!

Julian Sands's body was found in June after months of searches on the hiking trail where he went missing, and the hikers that found him have now spoken out.

Sands, 65, was reported missing on January 13 after he failed to return home from a hike in the San Gabriel Mountains outside of Los Angeles.

He had last been seen in the area of Mount Baldy, which is a notoriously dangerous area for hikers, and despite search teams being sent out which were also hindered by the poor weather conditions, he was not found.

Over five months after he disappeared, Sands's body was found by hikers who first stumbled across his boot while trekking in the area.

wp-image-1263224326 size-full
Julian Sands went missing while hiking in January. Credit: Noam Galai/WireImage

The group of hikers has now revealed how "surreal" it was to stumble across the remains of The Killing Fields star and how they established it was him.

The leader of the hiking group, who did not wish to be named, told the Los Angeles Times that she had an eerie worry when setting out that day, as she thought: "I hope we don’t find a dead body today."

Three hours after setting off, the group found a lone hiking boot when they reached a flat canyon at about 8,400 feet, before spotting its pair, a trekking pole, and then some human bones.

They also found a pile of dark winter clothing nearby - which they noted was not an ideal hiking outfit as the dark colors blended into the landscape, making Sands more difficult to locate - as well as a wallet, which contained Sands's driver's license inside.

According to the hikers, Sands's bones were scattered, which could have been done by wild animals or been pushed into the area by avalanches or melting snow.

They also raised concerns about the apparent lack of equipment Sands had for the beautiful but dangerous hike, noting that they did not find a backpack that could have contained vital survival supplies, and said he was "dressed like a ninja" in dark clothing making him difficult to locate.

Sands's boots also were apparently the wrong type for the trail, with the hikers noting they had microspikes, which are small metal cleats that are perfect for hiking on snowy trails but unsuitable for icy terrains, where he would have needed heavy spikes strapped to his boots as well as crampons, according to the publication.

Hiker Bill Dwyer, who was among the group, added: "I was a little shocked to see the microspikes. They were just the wrong tools for the job at hand."

wp-image-1263224328 size-full
Mount Baldy is a beautiful but treacherous trail for hikers. Credit: Getty Images

The group also didn't find any signs of Sands having had a helmet or an ice axe, but found his cellphone on a rock beneath the tree, however, the majority of the mountain does not get cell reception.

Dwyer used his Garmin InReach satellite messaging device to send an SOS to authorities with their exact location after finding the remains and told the publication that responders arrived in just eight minutes.

The remains were confirmed to belong to Sands three days later, however, it is still unknown exactly when he died and the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department stated that his cause of death was "undetermined due to the condition of the body and this is common when dealing with cases of this type."

There have reportedly been over 100 rescues and at least 10 deaths on Mount Baldy since 2020, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Eight land and air searches were conducted after Sands was declared missing, which totaled more than 500 hours at a cost of over $100,000 according to the publication, however the heavy storms and snow that coated the area meant he was not found until five months later.

Featured image credit: Franco Origlia/Getty Images