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Climbers Rescued Off Machete Ridge

Park Service Release

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The rescue of four stranded rock climbers ended successfully Monday morning, September 18, when the second two climbers, Hein Roehrig and Daniel Preda, safely made a short repel then scrambled down the remaining portion of their route. The first two climbers, Andre Herrera and Michael Fosnowski, were air lifted from the cliff Sunday evening by a California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) helicopter.

The rescue of the stranded rock climbers began Sunday evening when one of the less experienced climbers left the planned route and was unable to climb back up. He and one other climber were airlifted from Machete Ridge, one of the tallest cliffs in the park, before it became too dark to safely use a helicopter. "After Park Rangers, CDF, and Monterey County Sheriff's Deputies assessed the remaining climbers’ condition, gear, and supplies to survive the night, we suspended the entire rescue operation finding it too risky to continue in the dark," said Dana Sullivan, Supervisory Law Enforcement Ranger at Pinnacles National Monument. "Two rangers remained in the field to monitor the climbers overnight." Just before 7:00 a.m., cold and tired, the remaining two climbers safely made the short repel then scrambled down the remaining portion of their original route. By 8:30 a.m. they were back on the trail and walking with rangers to the Chaparral parking area.

No one was injured during this incident. However, the outcome could have been tragically different. Whether hiking or climbing at Pinnacles, always remember you are in a wilderness area and help may be many hours away. Plan your trip ahead of time and take plenty of water and snacks. If you are planning a longer trip, let friends and/or family know where you aregoing, when you plan to return, and bring a jacket and flashlight incase you become lost or stranded.

General park information can be obtained by visiting the Web site or by calling (831) 389-4485 extension 0.

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