Mt. Baldy Photo via californiathroughmylens.com
Mt. Baldy Photo via californiathroughmylens.com

The body of a hiker, believed to be a 78-year-old Culver City man who had scaled Mount Baldy nearly 800 times, was found Tuesday on the north side of the San Gabriel Mountains’ highest peak.

Suek “Sam” Kim had gone hiking Friday and never returned home.

The body was located about 2:10 p.m. by a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department flight crew. The remains were in Los Angeles County, on the north side of the 10,064-foot mountain, authorities said.

Positive identification is pending and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will recover the body.

The investigation into Kim’s death is now being handled by the sheriff’s San Dimas Station.

Eighteen search-and-rescue teams had been searching for Kim, who was described as an avid and experienced hiker.

After he was reported missing Sunday morning, San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies found his car at Manker Flats, one of several trailheads to Mount Baldy.

Kim had a reputation for being irrepressible on the trail, handing out jelly beans and Doritos, demanding other hikers pose for selfies and chatting with everyone he met, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Speaking to a Times reporter while climbing the mountain in December, Kim said: “I’m feeling God’s embrace. This is better than church.”

Kim and his family moved from South Korea to Southern California in 1981.

–City News Service

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