Thursday, February 11 , 2016, 3:42 am | Fair 45º

Hiker Who Died on Romero Canyon Trail Identified as Santa Barbara Woman

Nicole Ruth Peters, 36, was found more than an hour after experiencing chest pains and calling for help

Nicole Ruth Peters, center, an avid spear fisher, died Friday on the Romero Canyon Trail above Montecito.
Nicole Ruth Peters, center, an avid spear fisher, died Friday on the Romero Canyon Trail above Montecito.  ( photo)

By Lara Cooper, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @laraanncooper | updated logo |

A hiker found dead by first responders on Friday on the Romero Canyon Trail above Montecito has been identified as 36-year-old Nicole Ruth Peters of Santa Barbara.

Peters reportedly called authorities Friday afternoon to say she was suffering chest pains while hiking the trail.

She was found dead by first responders who struggled to access the remote location. After tracing GPS coordinates from her cell phone, Peters was found about two miles from the top of the trail off East Camino Cielo.

Paramedics reached the woman via helicopter about 2:15 p.m., more than an hour after she had reported being in distress, according to a statement from the Montecito Fire Protection District.

When they arrived, the woman was dead, with her three dogs by her side. Her body was airlifted from the scene, and rescue crews hiked the dogs out to safety, where they were turned over to Santa Barbara County Animal Services.

Susan Klein-Rothschild of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department told Noozhawk on Monday that all three dogs were picked up and returned to Peters’ boyfriend on Saturday.

Peters was the director of brand operations for Deckers Outdoor Corp. She was an avid spear fisher, wind surfer and mountain biker.

She graduated from Pepperdine University with a master’s degree in business administration in 2007. She was also an Oregon State University graduate who studied Chinese, finance and international business. 

“She really exemplified living life to the fullest — every moment and every breath,” a friend posted on “God speed, Nicole. Dive in the most beautiful waters. I will always cherish your memory.”

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

» on 09.17.12 @ 03:08 PM

36, active, healthy, smart, ambitious, professional… way way way way too young.  How very, very sad.  I suppose if one does not know they have a heart condition…

I lost a close friend of similar age to a heart attack, he would have survived if he was found just a few minutes prior…or if he had known he had a congenital heart condition.

If you can afford it get a scan.  I think I will make an appointment today.

» on 09.17.12 @ 03:54 PM

How very sad — and how very rough on the first responders who must have been very hopeful to save a life. How much does a scan cost and how does one find out about getting one?

» on 09.17.12 @ 04:01 PM

how in the world did it take rescuers over an hour after she phoned to find this woman?!

» on 09.17.12 @ 05:02 PM

It has been said that in 50% of all heart disease cases the first symptom of anything wrong is death. As Someguy said, if you can, get a scan. A friend of mind did a few years back and was hospitalized immediately with 4 out 5 coronary arteries over 90% occluded. He was also very fit and active and had no idea. He ended up with a quadruple bypass and is alive and well today.

» on 09.17.12 @ 06:02 PM

SBLogic, You’re kidding right?  Do you have any idea how extensive our backcountry trails are?  Even with the cell phone GPS coordinates, this is extremely fast.  And the fact that the helo was deployed indicates how serious our responders were taking this call.  Rescue in the backcountry is rarely fast and people need to take that into consideration.

» on 09.17.12 @ 07:22 PM

sheesh sorry…..I’ve hiked the trail many times…always thought of it as frontcountry…just asking…i always forget how sensitive some issues topics agencies or individuals are around here.

» on 09.17.12 @ 07:43 PM

My condolences to family and friends.
But for the benefit of other hikers:
Two miles off Camino Cielo is not severe back country.
There appears to have been a severe delay in the lift-off of the chopper. About 12:59-1:34
[See ]
The County CANNOT be relied upon to rescue, despite the taxpayers dollars spent.

» on 09.17.12 @ 08:21 PM

I’m sorry she passed, it’s not on anyones list of favorite things to do in life…even the fish she killed.  I do believed they, too, were enjoying their lives when she speared them to their death…I know, a fish is a fish is a fish…but us humans need to realize that killing is killing is killing.  Again, sorry she passed, but not much sympathy given to killer of any species

» on 09.17.12 @ 08:46 PM

I should have been more careful in my description of frontcountry vs. backcountry.  I simply meant the network of trails all over this part of the county and how difficult it can be to find someone who needs help.  Don’t know all the details of why the helo was delayed and I’m certainly no fan of the fire service, so I’m not trying to defend them. Simply trying to point out that wilderness rescue is not typically done quickly.

» on 09.17.12 @ 08:48 PM

Ok - this is tragic - but also very odd

Cavemen didn’t get heart attacks, heart attacks are a byproduct of our modern diet. At least I believe that is a good working hypothesis. Certainly some people are going to be more prone to these complications than others, but I still believe the main factor may be our modern day diet.

Cavemen ate a lot of fish and wild game which contain high levels of omega 3 fatty acids and low levels of omega 6 fatty acids. Grain-fed animals contain extraordinary amounts of omega 6 fatty acids which - according to some - are responsible for all inflammatory conditions from heart attacks to arthritis and allergies. So eating fish oil is good - but also important is to reduce consumption of omega 6 fatty acids as much as possible. Vegetarians can do so by increasing intake of coconut oil to as much as you like and other than that using primarily olive oil while reducing intake of canola/corn/sesame/seed oils. Also by eating primarily fruits and vegetables and limited amounts of whole grains and reducing refined grain and sugar intake.

This girl was active, in great shape and likely had a good amount of fish in her diet. Everything so far points to a very healthy heart. I would be very curious to know if anybody knew her personally what her diet was like because while genetics may have played a role, this is something that I believe could have been avoided and investigating it within this context may help others.

» on 09.17.12 @ 08:53 PM

It’s Genetics.  Don’t over-think this.

» on 09.17.12 @ 09:04 PM

To curious -

Pretty brave of you to post that comment and I don’t claim to have any greater knowledge of inter-species morality than anybody else. I was primarily vegetarian for almost a decade and while I couldn’t claim that no animals came under harm due to my diet, I did enjoy that I didn’t have to rely on killing animals in order to live from day to day.

However you might consider that modern farming practices, even organic wreaks a certain amount of havoc on the environment and many animals are killed during the process of clearing land for crops as well as rodent and insect deaths from tilling the soil from year to year.

So I guess the goal might be to minimize impact on the environment. This becomes especially difficult when it comes to measuring whether the dozens rodents killed for the 400 loaves of bread are equal in immorality and/or nutritional value to say killing 1 or 2 cows for the beef.

Well, when you have to grow grains and such to feed the cows, then your doubling your impact, aren’t you? But when bunch of cows graze all day on grass, no pesticides, no fertilizers, they are actually helping to improve and continue the existing ecosystem. This ecosystem, unlike food crops, can exist on both flat land and hills. This means you can save the flatland for housing instead of using it for crops, and the cows actually prefer the hills because of the lowlands which contain more green grass since the water collects there and it gets less sunlight.

Anyway, just food for thought I guess, but caveman/primal dieting seems to be more popular these days. Good sources of pasture-raised animals at our local farmer’s markets.

» on 09.17.12 @ 09:09 PM

Greg - I was not aware that DNA was able to clog arteries :p

J/k, but this is more how I tend to see it:

3) The belief that “genetics is destiny”.

Don’t get me started.

Even by the most conservative geneticists’ standards, we have anywhere from 80% to 97% control over our own genetic expressions. We ALL have dormant genes for all sorts of things, both good and bad. You’re not just fat because your mother and father were fat. –Nor are you destined to have a heart attack just because half the people in your family have had one, or by the same token will you get diabetes, or cancer. Genetics can have some influence, certainly…but genes are turned on and off by regulatory genes and regulatory genes are mainly controlled by nutrients. A gene will not express itself unless the internal environment is conducive to its expression… and we have ultimate control over that by the foods we choose to eat, the emotions we habitually choose to experience, the toxicity of the environment in which we live and the lifestyle we consistently choose to live. Learn to be the master of your own genetic destiny.

» on 09.17.12 @ 10:41 PM

I loathe people like curious.

» on 09.18.12 @ 01:17 AM

Good grief! Really, we turn this tragedy into a stupid debate on the morality of friggen eating? At 36 and active this women had some sort of congenital problem. There are people who smoke cigarettes and eat buckets of lard and live to be a hundred. Some people eat vegetables and run all day long and drop dead. Get a clue numb nuts, yes diet and exercise are important but genetics is a huge factor in most cases. As far as killing fish, good friggen grief, are you kidding? I like trees, so all you jerks living in houses built from lumber are murderers. That’s what you sound like.

We are an integral part of the ecosystem. We are omnivores meaning we eat what ever our digestive system will process and all this lunacy about fishing and farming as though we are some alien creatures from outer space invading the planet is rubbish. Take your drippy moronic self righteous moralizing somewhere else. It doesn’t belong here.

» on 09.18.12 @ 11:31 AM

Not a word about the fact that Friday was unbearably hot and carrying enough water for her and three dogs would be a large challenge?

» on 09.18.12 @ 11:57 AM

Look to the sky. We’re being aerosol sprayed. Its aluminum oxide and other toxins. The spraying is now more stealthy. Before the sparying was similar to plowing fields in the sky. Now, the sparying is occurring at higher altitudes, through out the night, and the tracks not as long. The rainbow-like colors that appear in the clouds is not natural, but a reflection of light from the chemicals that stay suspended in the sky.

Are you exepriencing chest pains, too?

Question what is happening to our skies.

» on 09.18.12 @ 01:50 PM

It’s a shame that ‘Truthinlies’ commenter has a right to vote.

» on 09.18.12 @ 02:07 PM

When the diet of 95%+ of the population is based on grain fed animals and most of the rest eat some form of grain and seed oils then some percentage of population then becomes prone to heart attacks because of that diet, you are STILL going to have some people who “eat buckets of lard” every day and not die of a heart attack. So that argument doesn’t disprove my theory at all. Of course, I’m not convinced that lard from pasture fed animals or wild game is bad for you, either. In fact I believe that would help prevent a heart attack because it would be low in omega 6 fatty acids which cause the inflammation in the arteries. Lard from grain-fed animals could certainly lead to a heart attack, though I think grain-fed lard is a healthier choice than partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening.

» on 09.18.12 @ 07:34 PM

I sincerely hope the family and friends of Ms Peters avoid reading the comments in this forum; they are as appalling as they are inappropriate.
A young, outgoing and successful woman has died tragically, and you’re winding on about diets, chem-trails in the sky, and the ‘morality’ of food choices? Some of you people should be ashamed of yourselves, and Noozhawk I’m afraid some of these juvenile voices need some stricter boundaries for acceptable contributions.

» on 09.18.12 @ 08:02 PM

Ya, she died of a heart attack at a young age, I think a discussion of diet is highly appropriate and could potentially save the lives of many other people including your own. Sitting around being sad accomplishes nothing if we do not learn from our mistakes. The fact that she died so young was a mistake, I don’t blame her at all for it and it is extremely saddening, but it is something we can potentially learn from and help avoid in the future.

Look, mankind used to eat a nearly 1:1 ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids and NEVER died from heart attacks. Ever.

I’m expounding on details of new research that shows that modern man eats nearly a 10:1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids, due to the fact that we eat grain-fed animals alongside a grain based diet. Thus omega 6 fatty acids are solely responsible for the inflammatory conditions that cause heart disease. Not intake of animal based products as the current medical industrial complex espouses, but intake of grain fed animal products.

I’m sorry that the agricultural industrial complex and the FDA are so happily married that we can’t get more real solid research out into the hands of people who specialize in health care, diets and food production, but that’s just the way it is. So we as individuals are on our own in this matter. Everything I said about omega 3s and 6s are just words. They make sense intellectually as it is all non-contradictory, but we have very little in the way of real world examples of how this all works.

So the question is, do you want to help humanity avoid these tragedies, or do you want to sit around and cry and dissuade people from discussing solutions? If this girl were my sister I would be having the same reaction. It’s tragic, and I’d like to figure out why it happened.

» on 09.18.12 @ 08:37 PM

You aren’t listening here LoonPt.  No one here is interested in you protecting them from themselves.  Not one person has shown an interest.
Look at the big picture.  You say “mankind used to eat a nearly 1:1 . . .  and NEVER died from heart attacks. Ever.”  That’s because they died of OTHER causes BEFORE the heart disease would have got them!!
For the benefit of Nicole’s friends and family, share your theories somewhere else.

» on 09.18.12 @ 08:50 PM

Noleta, I agree, this has turned into a friggen circus. What a shame.

» on 09.18.12 @ 09:42 PM

See, that’s the problem, there is so much incorrect information out there that someone with a real potential solution can’t get a real voice in because of all the egoist based propaganda.

“Gurven and Kaplan (2007) argue that lifespan for hunter-gatherers who made it to maturity (e.g. to reproductive age and past childhood illnesses) lived 68-78 years.”

And they didn’t die of cancer or heart disease..

So, can we, as a community, help to solve the number one killer in the United States, which happens to be what this woman died from, or are we going to continue to rely on a faulty, bought out establishment responsible for millions of pre-mature deaths every year in the name of corporate agri-profits? All because some people believe it is childish to have a discussion about diets when a woman died because of her diet?

YOU go get your “scans” and take your big pharma statins and let innocent people continue to die young. I will not be apart of it.

» on 09.19.12 @ 01:34 PM

Wow, just wow.  LoonPT you’re both insipid and clueless.  Such an asinine approach to life must lead you on an abysmal path.  Stupidity is one aspect but your total lack of tact and decency is another altogether… Cavemen didnt have heart attacks?  What a ridiculous, unsubstantiated statement… You, are indeed a loon without a point.

A young woman is dead and you and Curious use it as an opportunity to spew your ignorance… I would only venture to guess as to what draws a human to such conclusions… did you read some pamphlet and decide that was it?  pheeeewwwwsshhh

By the way:  Up until the early part of the 20th century the avg lifespan of a man was < 40.  Heart attacks were as common (if not more so) as they are today - its just that people did not live long enough let alone have the medical knowledge to assign a cause of death.

» on 09.19.12 @ 03:20 PM

To someguyinsb - Just like the last poster, you are wrong and your attacks are unwarranted and very RUDE. I said that if she was my SISTER I would have the very same concerns. I am the compassionate one here, I am trying to change what people think about what the establishment tells us a healthy diet should be, which happens to be the same ratio and caloric intake as feedlot animals. Our current thought pattern is what is causing innocent well-meaning people like this woman to die early, I’m trying to change that and I’m getting attacked by very stubborn people who think everything should be a certain way, similar to how things are right now which is causing innocent people like this girl to die. Not you, but the attitude you hold is what is causing these deaths so stop attacking me. Learn something for a change.

Ok, so first of all, read what I said in the last post more slowly so you can comprehend it better. YES, the average lifespan of early civilizations was about 40, but that was because of all of the childhood illnesses such as malaria. Once people reached their 20s, they were very likely to live on to be 68 or 78, or even into their 100s.

Here is a study about an ancient civilization that was still in existence not long ago, and they did some studies on them and found the same thing archaeologists have found. They had a paleo diet of fish, wild game and possibly pastured animals, many young children die of malaria, but the ones who reach their 20s are likely to live on to be 68-78 or even into their 100s.

Once again. NO HEART ATTACKS. ZERO. No chest pain. No cancer. None. Zilch. Nada. No diabetes. NONE. This is with present day medical knowledge. You lose. The 20th century, as you mentioned, has nothing to do with this, man has been eating grains for THOUSANDS of years but the people in this study do NOT.. However it hasn’t been until recently when grains have been propagated much more heavily due to advances in technology (machinery and chemical fertilizers/pesticides) and then used almost exclusively to feed the animals we eat that we have seen heart disease, cancer and diabetes skyrocket. Not to mention HFCS and transfats have played a major role.

I am 100% positive that if somebody had told her two years ago she would have a heart attack in two years, she would also have been concerned and if she had received the correct information she would have very likely made some minor adjustments in her diet. What those adjustments should be, I am pretty sure I have a good idea, but even I’m not 100% sure. Once again, the information I’ve laid out is logical and non-contradictory, but it isn’t widespread enough to have enough studies done to be 100% certain. Maybe I’m wrong and the raw vegans have it right afterall. Or maybe both paleo and raw vegan oriented diets are profoundly more healthful and beneficial than those based on refined grains and grain fed meats and dairy, the research I’ve seen seems to agree.

» on 09.19.12 @ 03:47 PM

LoonPt,  I implore you, I beg you to stop posting here on that subject.  You are inhibiting the friends of Nicole to post wonderful memories of her.
Please do post your information, but just not here.  Thank you.

» on 09.19.12 @ 04:31 PM

LoonPT,  you’re not a physician, nor are you privy to the cause or effect of Nicole’s demise.  Instead you’re just another know-it-all who forces their own personal beliefs onto others. Someone who read a few anecdotal studies and somehow extrapolates the theories into a dogma.  I am sure you’re a kind person but your lack of knowledge, lack of tact, lack of view into the facts makes you an idiot of the highest order. 

You’re really no better than any other junk scientist or religious fanatic.  Whether it’s a climate change naysayer or a GM food fear monger, your understanding and your position is based purely on fear and ignorance.  Why don’t you speak to a cardiologist and a few people who have congenial heart conditions? 

Your ignorance is laughable and your intent mired in selfishness.  People like you make really make me sick.  You’re no different than the Westboro Baptists Church in how they bend their beliefs to fit their fear and ignorance and spew forth vile and fear and anger – in the name of their god. 

Grow up and learn to respect people’s choices and to honor their grief.  You know nothing.

» on 09.19.12 @ 04:48 PM

greg, I’m quite sure that there are a lot of people that have wonderful memories of this woman but I have not seen any posted in any online comment sections. I highly doubt that I am the reason why they haven’t been posted here. In fact, if people would mellow out and allow others to get their word in we could have avoided all of the attacks and confrontation in the first place and my contribution to the comment section would have been a measly two paragraphs or so. Instead people have brought up challenges and incorrect information, which I’m happy to oblige to correct, but it has turned into a dissertation.

It constantly amazes me how rabidly views outside of the established norm are swatted down and stomped on. Look at how rude the people above were towards myself, the chemtrail poster and the ‘fish killer’ poster. Personally I didn’t think that calling her out as a ‘fish killer’ was entirely appropriate, but if you look at comments afterward you will see that they were in fact attacked more for their beliefs than for the fact that they posted them here. I simply pointed out to them their impact on animals, knowing that they would get called out for the placement of those views by others.

Posting this information elsewhere is less meaningful whereas here it actually has context, relevance and potential for education on all ends. It could help save people’s lives. If there is ONE person’s diet in the whole world you could analyze and possibly find out some valuable information about what exactly it is in our diets, if it is in fact build up of omega 6’s that cause heart attacks, this woman’s diet would be the one.

» on 09.19.12 @ 05:31 PM

loonPt,  Please, please post these views somewhere else.  I HAVE spoken to friends and co-workers of Nicole who want to post the memories of Nicole that they have, but are hesitant to do that while you are trying to save someone else’s life.

» on 09.19.12 @ 07:04 PM

Someguy, nice you and I agree on something for a change. Loonpt, you are just spouting off your own insipid opinion, fine we got that 4 comments ago. The prevailing onion is you are wrong and some of us actually know why but it would do no good telling since you have bitten the CT bug and hard. Give it a rest, intellectual narcissism is a bad disease and may lead to you having a heart attack.

As Someguy points out rather astutely many of the problems we see with health today are cropping up because we live longer. This poor woman did not and it is tragic and sad.

I cannot imagine the pain her family and friends must be feeling. I pray for them and can only offer that the pain does subside. Please share your wonderful memories and don’t be afraid of the loons.

» on 09.19.12 @ 07:26 PM

Well at this point all I can do is laugh at some of you posters and your cognitive dissonance and cry for Nicole and others who are catapulted into our culture of stubbornness and divisiveness reminiscent of middle-age flat earthery without a clue and with the best intentions. If I’ve offended any of Nicole’s friends or relatives, I apologize, but I’m really not sure why any of them would have an issue with what I’m saying - If they are a relative then they should be relieved at the possibility that they in fact have control of their destiny and could possibly avoid the same fate themselves. Same goes for friends, as apparently this can “happen to anybody”, anybody, that is, who eats a SAD (standard american diet).

Speaking of 4 posts, I have explained in nearly ALL of my last 4 posts that the reason the average age of ancient civilizations was low was because many more children died - If you discount them and merely look at those who were able to make it to reproductive age, the average age became 68-78 and many even lived to 100. And they lived that long without ever dying of heart attacks and cancer, EVER. There is no evidence that it has ever happened in any true paleolithic culture. So now that I’ve said it a fifth time, I will double-dog-dare any other poster to try and explain that the reason I’m wrong and people never used to have heart attacks is because people in ancient civilizations rarely lived past 40. Nevermind the fact that many children in our country get cancer and diabetes, diseases which people of ancient civilizations did not suffer from at any age, let-alone the children.

» on 09.19.12 @ 07:46 PM

To someguyinsb -

Why would I ask a member of the failed cult of MDs who reign over a country who has more heart disease than any other country in the world, past or present, that we know of, and a bunch of people who have heart problems about heart disease and diet?? That doesn’t make any sense. Why don’t I go down to the unemployment office next and get some tips on maintaining my current employment?

I’ll admit western medicine can potentially keep unhealthy people alive for a long time, my dad has plenty of stents in his arteries. This isn’t healing someone though, only proper nutrition and activity can do that. He has been successful in maintaining his health since then by decreasing the grain-fed fats in his diet and supplementing with fish fat (fish oil pills). From the reading I’ve done on SFAs, PUFAs and MUFAs it seems like he could have accomplished his goals and then some by switching to pasture raised animals and wild game. I may not be 100% certain what “proper nutrition” EXACTLY, but I am pretty sure the standard american diet is the opposite of what proper nutrition should be.

You go around insulting my intelligence, but you can’t refute any of my claims with either logic or evidence.

» on 09.19.12 @ 07:54 PM

LoonPt, Thank you for your closing argument.  We will not rebut, so than Nicole’s friend can post in peace.

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