Actor Julian Sands missing after going hiking in southern California

Fears grow for the British star, who has not been seen since venturing into the San Gabriel mountains last week

Julian Sands
(Image credit: Getty)

The well-known British actor Julian Sands is missing in a remote and snow-covered area of southern California, after he set off for a hike on Mount San Antonio (colloquially known as Baldy Bowl) in the San Gabriel mountains, north east of Hollywood, late last week. 

The 65-year-old actor, who has been living in Los Angeles but is originally from Otley in West Yorkshire, is an experienced mountaineer. He has also taken part in running events, including the Dodge Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon, raising funds for j.k. livin', the American Cancer Society, and Leukemia Lymphoma Society.

Julian sands

Sands competing in the Dodge Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon

(Image credit: Getty)

Sands was reported missing at 7.30pm local time on Friday. Another man, Bob Gregory – who was hiking separately – was also reported as missing in the area on Monday, and concerns for the pair’s safety are rising.  

Search-and-rescue teams are looking for the missing hikers, but conditions are very poor, and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has told reporters that ground crews were pulled off the mountain on Saturday evening, because of dangerous trail conditions and an escalating risk of avalanches. Teams are still reaching, but with drones and helicopters (when the weather allows them to take off).

Ground searches have now resumed, and today it was reported that Sands' three adult children have joined the hunt for their father, with the actor’s son Henry retracing Julian’s route, accompanied by an experienced climber.

Mount Baldy

Conditions on Mount San Antonio - locally known as Baldy Bowl or Mt Baldy - are currently atrocious 

(Image credit: Getty)

In the last few weeks 14 emergency calls have been made to emergency services from Mount Baldy and the surrounding area, and police are urging hikers to ”think twice and heed warnings" before entering the wilderness at this time. Last week a woman described as an experienced hiker died after sliding more than 500ft down Mount Baldy

Sands has played leading roles in the television dramas 24 and Smallville, and films including The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Leaving Las Vegas, The Killing Fields, A Room with a View, Warlock, Ocean’s Thirteen, Arachnophobia, Boxing Helena and A Room With A View.

Sands with his wife, the writer Evgenia Citkowitz

 Sands with his wife, the writer Evgenia Citkowitz, with whom he has two daughters

(Image credit: Getty)

In 2020 he told The Guardian that he is happiest when ‘close to a mountain summit on a glorious cold morning’, and that the top experience of his backlist was to reach ‘a remote peak in the high Himalayas, such as Makalu’.

He also revealed to the paper that, in the 1990s, while climbing in Andes, he was caught in vicious storm somewhere above 20,000ft with three companions. They escaped but others nearby lost their lives.

In 2013, Sands did an interview with the Yorkshire Post via phone, while perched on the Mittellegi Ridge on the slopes of the Eiger, in the Swiss Alps.

“And, you know what? Mountain climbing and film making are very connected,” he told the paper. “There’s always another mountain. And ultimately the point of climbing a mountain is that the mountain is within. And I think that’s true, too, of the acting experience.”

Pat Kinsella
Freelance outdoor writer

Author of Caving, Canyoning, Coasteering…, a recently released book about all kinds of outdoor adventures around Britain, Pat Kinsella has been writing about outdoor pursuits and adventure sports for two decades. In pursuit of stories he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked across the Norwegian Alps, run ultras across the roof of Mauritius and through the hills of the Himalayas, and set short-lived speed records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s nine Great Walks. A former editor of several Australian magazines he’s a longtime contributor to publications including Sidetracked, Outdoor, National Geographic Traveller, Trail Running, The Great Outdoors, Outdoor Fitness and Adventure Travel, and a regular writer for Lonely Planet (for whom he compiled, edited and co-wrote the Atlas of Adventure, a guide to outdoor pursuits around the globe). He’s authored guides to exploring the coastline and countryside of Devon and Dorset, and recently wrote a book about pub walks. Follow Pat's adventures on Strava and instagram.