Yosemite Climber Falls 30 Feet from Rock Face

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A 26-year-old male rock climber fell roughly 30 feet from a granite rock face at Yosemite National Park's Cathedral range Sunday, and was airlifted out after sustaining severe injuries. The unidentified hiker from Palo Alto, California had been trekking with three others, before falling onto a rock bench approximately 1,000 feet up.

Officer Andrea Brown, of the California Highway Patrol’s Air Operations Division, commented that the injured climber "was wide awake, he gave me a thumbs up and he was OK,” though was in too much pain to move. "He landed on a ledge, and was laying prone on the rocks," Brown added. The climber is presently in stable condition at a Modesto hospital, after being transported from the Higher Cathedral Spire.

Brown said that the rescue operation was a bit tricky, due to inclement weather. "It would have been OK if the winds were calm, but the winds were a little silly," she said, adding that in terms of difficulty, she would rate the operation a "7 or 8 out of 10." Brown also praised the CHP rescuers, stating that they are "world-class rock climbers, but not only can they climb, they can start IVs and give medical aid while suspended on ropes. They're pretty studly."

Here is some footage of the Higher Cathedral Spire at Yosemite:

Yosemite spokeswoman Kari Cobb called the park a "mecca for climbing," and pointed out that the Higher Cathedral Spire is a popular destination. "It's a very well-known climb," Cobb said. "It's something that is typically done on weekends on a regular basis. These guys were not on something that is rarely climbed."

The Higher Cathedral Spire is rated at a 5.4 on the Yosemite Decimal System (YDS), which is a three-part system used for grading the difficulty of walks, hikes and climbs. Cobb said that Yosemite typically sees one or two fatalities a year due to climbing accidents.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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