Five Fresno hikers had to be rescued out of Los Padres National Forest Sunday, the Monterey County Sheriff's Office said.

The men, all in their 20s, went hiking Friday near China Camp but were ill-equipped for snow conditions on the Pine Ridge Trail, the Sheriff's Office said.

The hikers got lost but were able to get cell service and call for help Sunday about 10 a.m.

They were rescued by a California Highway Patrol helicopter at 6:30 p.m., Sheriff's Sgt. Mike Burns said.

He said a decision on if the men will be billed for their rescue, which included deputies from the office's search-and-rescue team, would not come soon.

The hikers were uninjured, but suffering from the cold. They were returned to their vehicle and were able to drive themselves out of the area, the Sheriff's Office said.

China Camp is 11 miles east of the intersections of Tassajara and Carmel Valley roads, according to the forest website.

In March 2011, 10 University of Colorado students had to be rescued by the Sheriff's Office when they attempted to hike from China Camp to Sykes Camp but could not ford a river that rose overnight.

Three months later, two San Francisco hikers had to be rescued near China Camp, again by the Sheriff's Office, when they lost their way in an attempt to traverse the 14-mile Pine Valley-Miller Creek loop.

Phillip Molnar can be reached at 646-4487 or pmolnar@montereyherald.com.


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