Danger on Mt. Tam: 2 Hikers Found Dead Just Days Apart

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    NEWSLETTERS

    One hiker NBC Bay Area spoke with calls the trails at Mt. Tam park some of the most dangerous in the Bay Area. Stephanie Chuang reports. (Published Friday, Apr 18, 2014)

    They were found a mile and five days apart – Marin County Sheriff’s investigators are still trying to figure out how two women who had gone missing while hiking Mount Tamalpais turned up dead.

    Magdalena Glinkowski, 33 of Menlo Park, and Marie Sanner, 50 of Mill Valley, were both found off-trail, their bodies discovered down steep slopes of drainage areas.

    Ryan Hutnick is likely the last person who saw Glinkowski alive as they both hiked off-trail on March 30.

    “I had actually gotten lost in between the two trails I needed to be on so as I was kind of exploring, bushwhacking basically,” Hutnick recalled. “I came to an intersection with Magdelena. That’s why it was startling, shocking that I would interact with anyone on this trail because it was pretty rough and hilly at the time.”

    Second Hiker in a Week Found Dead at Mt. Tam Park

    [BAY] Second Hiker in a Week Found Dead at Mt. Tam Park
    For the second time in less than a week, a female hiker has been found dead near a popular hiking trail at one of the Bay Area's most scenic spots. Jean Elle reports. (Published Thursday, Apr 17, 2014)

    He described Glinkowski as tired when he saw her.

    “She was coming uphill so she was obviously a little tired, a little winded, maybe a little distressed. She wasn’t carrying any water or anything,” he added.

    Hutnick, who lives in Larkspur, said Mount Tam is essentially just a half a mile walk from his home, so he frequents the trails every week. He described the trails as some of the most dangerous in the Bay Area. (Editor's noteWe've posted a gallery of Hutnick's pictures from Mt. Tam.)

    “I’d say it’s at the top of the list due to the steep ravines. There’s a lot of times where it’s single track, you only have a foot to work on and when you’re running at any type of speed, one misstep can put you right off any type of cliff,” Hutnick said. “If you’re over by the ocean you can drop right down into the rocks without anyone even noticing.”

    Tony Emerson of Oakland, who also described himself as an experienced hiker, agreed.

    “There’s a lot of pretty steep parts. I also think sometimes when I run by myself, if I were to get off the trail at all, something would happen,” said Emerson. “There’s a lot of tree cover so it’s possible no one would find you if something happened.”

    These hikers told NBC Bay Area that many people are taking a gamble when they leave the marked trail.

    “I see a lot of people putting themselves in peril just to take a picture,” said Niki Borofsky of San Francisco. “They’re out there leaning over ravines with their camera phones.”

    Mount Tam hikers said while visitors can and should enjoy the beauty of Mount Tam, they should never forget to respect it.

    “That’s what it all boils down to. It’s nature’s beauty but at the same time it will take from you if you’re not paying attention,” Hutnick said.

    As for how many times hikers have gone missing at Mount Tam, Danita Rodriguez, superintendent of the Marin/Diablo Vista Districts of the California State Parks, said there’d been three reports of “missing or overdue persons,” including fatalities, between 2009 and 2013. However, that does not include the areas of Mount Tam under the jurisdiction of National State Parks and the Marin Municipal Water District.