A Colorado woman hiking in Southern California fell 200 feet from an icy peak on Christmas Eve. CBS reports that Ruth Woroniecki (40) had made it to the top and was on her way down when she slipped on ice. She hit her head and broke her neck. Woroniecki was unconscious and awoke to another hiker assisting her.
Ruth Woroniecki Was Hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains When She Fell 200 Feet
Luckily for Ruth Woroniecki, another hiker in the Cucamonga Peak area spotted her. The hiker got to her using ice-climbing equipment. The other hiker used an ice axe and crampons to get to her. They contacted search and rescue and used a GPS device to help the rescue team locate them. The hiker and other witnesses stayed with Woroniecki until emergency personnel arrived.
Despite strong winds, search and rescue were able to get to Woroniecki via helicopter. They rushed her to a nearby hospital.
“She seemed a little dazed, confused, but very thankful we were able to get her off that mountain,” said helicopter pilot Deputy Doug Brimmer. He added that she was knocked unconscious when her head hit a log on the way down.
A photo of Ruth Woroniecki inside the helicopter blurred out her head due to numerous injuries she sustained during her fall. She needed to get surgery due to her broken neck and reportedly sustained a serious head injury.
Ruth Woroniecki passed a thank you note along to her mother to everyone who helped her get to safety after her 200-foot fall.
“I know that God is such a good father that he has a plan through the pain,” she wrote. “To anyone else who is suffering, call out to Jesus and he will help you. I would like to say a deep thank you from the bottom of my heart to the rescue team and to the hikers who helped me and stayed with me.”
Cucamonga Peak, Surrounding Mount Baldy Area, Has Dangerous Icy Conditions, Many Serious Accidents
Cucamonga Peak is one of the tallest in the San Gabriel Mountains. It sits near Mount Baldy, a local ski resort. Woroniecki is one of many hikers who have been seriously injured while hiking in the area. Four years ago, two hikers who fell were missing for a week before found alive in the area. Another search and rescue team member died while searching for a missing hiker, who was later found dead as well.
“On Tuesday, Ruth was in stable condition after her first surgery,” the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement. “She required dozens of stitches and staples to close the laceration in her head, and neural surgery to begin repairing the damage to her spine. She has a long road ahead of therapy and treatment.”
Deputy Doug Brimmer took the opportunity to remind the public to bring appropriate ice climbing gear when hiking in the area.
Ruth Woroniecki’s sister, Sarah, started a GoFundMe to help pay for the numerous surgeries she will need to have. She says that Ruth is a children’s book author. Ruth has also dedicated much of her time to helping the disenfranchised, including homeless on Skid Row and incarcerated communities.