June 3, 2013
A 19 year old man, Aleh Kalman, from Sacramento was hiking the Mist Trail with a church group on Saturday, June 1. According to witnesses, he was swimming above Nevada Fall when he got swept over the edge by the current. The Yosemite Search and Rescue Team (YOSAR) has suspended search efforts due to high water levels causing treacherous conditions at the base of Nevada Fall. For more on the story go to: LA Times
Yesterday, Sunday June 2nd, 28 year old Felix Kierman, of London, England, was killed while climbing El Capitan. He and his partner were about 600 feet up the East Buttress of El Capitan when a block was dislodged and fell about 150 feet and struck Kierman. He died of the resulting impact. The Yosemite Search and Rescue Team (YOSAR) in conjunction with helicopters recovered Kierman’s body and assisted his partner down of the climb.
The climbing community is still reeling from the tragic death, two weeks ago, of another climber, about 2000 feet up on the Muir Wall of El Capitan where another block was dislodged.
A first-hand account by veteran climber, Mark Chapman (Chappy), who was nearly hit by the falling rock on the lower part of the Nose route, can be found here: Chappy
We send our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the friends and families of those whose lives have been lost.
There is an excellent book, Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite, that recounts and summarizes all of the untimely fatalities in Yosemite since 1851when Caucasians first entered the Valley. Although the subject matter is somewhat morbid, it’s an excellent history book with lots of interesting information that is peripheral to the main theme of the book. Beyond that, the book is co-authored by a former member of YOSAR with the idea that by understand why fatalities occur in Yosemite, the park’s visitors and staff can be more aware of the dangers inherent in Yosemite’s spectacular landscape.