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The Importance of Preparing for the Worst

February 06, 2000

On Nov. 22, 1991, the same day that Cindy Moyneur and Ryan McIntosh were hiking on Mt. Baldy ("Life and Death on Mt. Baldy," by Shane DuBow, Jan. 16), my wife Marta Hethmon and I were attempting to climb Rabbit Peak in the Santa Rosa Mountains southwest of Indio.

We got a late start, took a long time crossing the desert floor and were climbing out of a canyon and up a gully at nightfall. Just as the light faded, we were struck by heavy winds and a rainstorm, almost certainly the same storm that dropped snow that evening on Baldy.

When the storm persisted, we managed to pitch our tent in space just large enough to contain it. We were half-soaked and weary, but we had the tent, rain gear, sleeping bags, food, water and flashlights, and we survived an uncomfortable night without too much difficulty.

It would have been a very different story had we not been prepared. Southern California's mountains are rugged and dangerous. Your article is a useful reminder to people in this area always to be prepared for the worst conditions.

Robert H. Hethmon

Hollywood

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