Three Off-Road

Adventurists & Their Dog


Tuesday January 5th early afternoon, Big Bear Sheriff Deputies responded to a report of three males stranded in the forested area of Horse Springs Road and Forest Service Road 3N17 southeast of White Mountain peak. It was reported that three men in two Jeeps and their dog went, off-roading in the mountains north of Fawnskin, entering the forest from the desert side of the ridge, and got stuck in unsafe conditions after it began snowing.

The men had water with them, but no food, inadequate clothing, and were not prepared to be in the storm conditions for an extended period of time. The subjects had a general idea of their whereabouts but were not able to provide their exact location. Direct communication became difficult with poor cell phone service. The terrain and accessible areas where the vehicles became stuck, is extremely rocky and steep with icy conditions.

Due to the heavy snowfall, they had visibility of 50-100 feet.  A team of two Big Bear Sheriff Deputies conducted an area check in a four-wheel drive patrol unit and on foot where it was believed the subjects were stranded. Despite their efforts, the initial search team was not able to locate the subjects.

Members of Bear Valley Search & Rescue Team were called-in and a command post was set up to assist with the search. Personnel and heavy equipment from the Fawnskin Fire Station were strategically staged.  

 Sheriff’s Bear Valley 

Search & Rescue Team 



The location of the three adventurists was determined after one of the men texted a photo of their current location to a Sheriff Deputy. GPS coordinates were established using the properties of the picture. Due to deteriorating conditions of weather and visibility, rescuers were not able to use vehicles, so the Search & Rescue Team hiked several miles in rugged terrain to the subjects’ location. The search party located the three men at approximately 12:30 A.M., cold and hungry, but found to be in good condition with no medical issues.

Winter weather conditions in the San Bernardino Mountains, in January, n can change dramatically in a very short period of time.

To anyone planning to venture out into the back country, especially in Winter-time, it is advisable that they make preparations in advance with proper clothing, spare footwear, extra food and sufficient water, and a full charge on cell-phone batteries. If anyone takes medication, have an extra supply on hand. Don’t forget about provisions for pets along on the trip. Always carry chains that fit the tires in the vehicles and know how to install them.

Enjoy Winter activities in the San Bernardino Mountains,  safely!