The well-known British actor Julian Sands is missing (opens in new tab) 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' (opens in new tab), the American Cancer Society (opens in new tab), and Leukemia Lymphoma Society (opens in new tab).
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 (opens in new tab) 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.
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.
In 2020 he told The Guardian (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab), 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.”