Hikers who found Julian Sands' body months after his disappearance recall 'surreal' experience

The body of 'Warlock' actor Julian Sands was found in late June, months after he went missing during a hike on California's Mt. Baldy

More details about Julian Sands' disappearance on California's Mount Baldy have been released as the group of hikers who found the actor's body speak out for the first time.

The hikers who found Sands recalled the "surreal" experience in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. Sands was first reported missing by his wife on Jan. 13 after he failed to return from a hike in the San Gabriel Mountains, which are roughly an hour outside of Los Angeles.

The hiking group was troubled to find that Sands was wearing all dark colors at the time he went missing, with no flash of orange, red or yellow on his clothes. "He was dressed like a ninja," one hiker told the outlet.

placeholderSands also did not appear to have a helmet or an ice ax, according to the group. The actor was wearing Microspikes, which are typically used for snowy trails that aren't steep. However, Mt. Baldy is one of the deadliest mountains in the U.S.


Julian Sands smiles for a photo

The hikers who found Julian Sands' body on California's Mt. Baldy recalled the experience in a new interview. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

"I was a little shocked to see the Microspikes," Bill Dwyer told the Times. "They were just the wrong tools for the job at hand."

Sands did have a cellphone nearby, but it's likely he didn't have reception.

The actor's cause of death was listed on his death certificate as "undetermined," Fox News Digital previously confirmed. The San Bernardino Sheriff's Department positively identified Sands on June 27 after hikers found his remains on Mount Baldy in the Goode Canyon.

A photo of Mt. Baldy with snow

Mt. Baldy is one of the deadliest mountains in the U.S. (Getty Images)

The "undetermined" cause of death is "common when dealing with cases of this type," the sheriff's department explained to Fox News Digital.

Authorities searched for Sands, who was described as an advanced hiker, via ground, helicopter and drones in the first weeks after he was reported missing. However, towards the end of February and into March, a series of powerful storms hit the San Bernardino Mountains. Just before landfall, the National Weather Service issued its first-ever blizzard warning for the area.

When the rare weather event was over, the neighboring mountain communities were covered in nearly 10 feet of snow. Roads were closed, residents went without power for days and sheriffs reported 13 deaths under investigation, but ruled only one person died as "a direct correlation to the weather."


Julian Sands closeup at an event

Julian Sands was first reported missing on Jan. 13. (David Livingston/Getty Images)

Authorities picked up the search for Sands again in June, but many parts of the mountain still remained "inaccessible due to extreme alpine conditions," according to the police.

The group of hikers who found the remains noted to the Times that Sands' chances of survival could have been increased if he had better gear.

"Can you imagine the despair, the isolation?" the group’s organizer told the outlet, before noting that Sands likely heard the helicopters and knew people were looking for him, but couldn't signal due to the bad reception on the mountain. "I still have nightmares about that."

Julian Sands on red carpet in Italy

Julian Sands was found by hikers and positively identified in June. (Vittorio Zunino Celotto)

Sands was known for his roles in "The Killing Fields," "A Room With a View," "Leaving Las Vegas" and "Warlock." He also appeared in such films as "Ocean's 13," "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," "Arachnophobia," "Boxing Helena" and "Medallion."

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