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Park Staff Assist Stranded Climbers

Pinnacles National Monument - On the evening of Sunday, November 15, park staff assisted two male climbers, from the San Jose area, off of a climbing route after they had become stranded due to nightfall. Both climbers were uninjured.

The climbers were able to place a cell phone call to a friend, who contacted the park, around 6:00PM after they could no longer climb in darkness. They were near the top of "Condor Condiment", a 500 foot route on the Condor Crag formation in the High Peaks area of Pinnacles National Monument. The climbers were in different locations on the route and could not complete the final 100 feet without additional light. Rangers contacted the party via their cell phone and determined their approximate location and condition before the climber's phone battery was exhausted. With an overnight forecast of 25 degrees Fahrenheit and gusting winds, rangers and search & rescue team members were dispatched to their location. A California Highway Patrol helicopter located the pair using infrared radar and a powerful "Night Sun" floodlight. Assisted by monument staff, the climbers then completed the route and shorter descent off the back side of the formation. Upon completing the descent at 1:00 AM, the pair had been on the route for 14 hours.

Rangers escorted the climbers back to the trail and provided them flashlights for their walk back to the Chaparral parking area on the park's west side.

"I am glad that through the efforts of our search & rescue team and partner agencies, this potential tragedy has been prevented," explained Eric Brunnemann, Superintendent of Pinnacles National Monument.

Some hints for safe and successful climbing:

  • Do not go beyond your abilities and always allow yourself enough time, before darkness is imminent
  • Use a helmet
  • Know the route, carry a guidebook.
  • Know and practice self-rescue techniques.
  • Carry extra food, water and clothing.
  • Carry two ropes on a multi-pitch climb.
  • Carry a headlamp, spare batteries and bulbs.
  • Carry a first-aid kit and know how to use it.
  • Use redundant anchor systems.

For more information about climbing at Pinnacles, please visit the parks climbing web page or the Friends of Pinnacles web page.

General park information can be obtained by visiting or by calling 831-389-4485. -NPS- Experience Your America

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