A search dog team hot-loads into a National Guard Blackhawk. Photo David Pope Storming the white water on the Merced. NPS photo

Preventative SAR Reports

PSAR - Preventative Search and Rescue:
Learn from the misfortune of others with in-depth reports, analysis and photos designed to prevent incidents.

CLICK LINKS for FULL REPORTS, PHOTOS and ANALYSIS


"Half Dome: Know Before You Go"
This six minute Half Dome hiking safety video on YouTube by Andres Estrada is a must-watch for anyone planning to hike up Half Dome.

11-10 to 11-12-08 - Major Search for Missing Backpacker
A solo backpacker became stranded for twelve days in a remote area of the Yosemite high country, snowed in by a signifcant winter storm. With a search area of 400 square miles, YOSAR ground, air, and investigative personnel tried to locate the starving backpacker. Click here for report and photos.

6-3-08 - Air Evacuation of Critically Ill Day Hiker - Half Dome
ACUTE HYPONATREMIA, HELICOPTER RESCUE TIPS
A hiker on the Half Dome Trail just below the Sub Dome experienced seizures and altered mental status. A rapid air evacuation was carried out for the critically ill hiker. Click here for report and photo.

11-20-07 - Climber Fall - Royal Arches Rappel Route
A climber rapelling the route fell and sustained life-threatening injuries. Click here for report and photos.

11-11-07 - Climber Fatality - Cathedral Peak
STORM, FAILURE TO TURN BACK, INADEQUATE CLOTHING
In-depth and first-hand account of the tragic weather-related mountaineering death of Peter Noble near Cathedral Peak in Yosemite's Tuolumne Meadows, November 2007. A detailed climber's account of the incident is followed by analysis from YOSAR's SAR gurus. Click here for report and photos.

10-12-07 - Serious Climber Injury / Church Bowl
BELAY FAILURE—NO STOPPER KNOT, MISSED CLUES, INATTENTION
A climber on top-rope was lowered off the end of the rope. This report includes a first-hand account and analysis of the chain of events that led to serious injury. Click here for report and interviews.

8-21-07 - Half Dome Rescue - North West Face Route
In-depth analysis and interviews with climbers involved in 80-foot lead fall on Half dome. Click here for report and photos.

7-15-07 - Epic on Washington's Column
A pair of climbers retreating from The Prow became stranded without a rope in technical terrain. Although they were rescued without help from YOSAR, there are valuable lessons learned. Click here for report.

5-17-07 - Climber Fall - El Capitan, The Nose Route
CLIMBER'S LIFE LIKELY SAVED BY CLIMBING HELMET
A climber on pitch 17 of the Nose took a long leader fall striking Eagle Ledge and sustaining multiple injuries. The rescue method was a helo-hoist operation from mid-face on the wall. Click here for report and photos.

7-11 - 7-12-05 - Lead Climber Fall on Fairview Dome
LOOSE HOLD—LATE START, BENIGHTED WITHOUT LIGHT, INADEQUATE CLOTHING
Nearing the top of Lucky Streaks, a hand-hold broke off, dislocating the leader's shoulder. An all-night high-angle rescue was conducted from the summit. Click here for report.

7-05-05 - Lead Climber Fall on Lembert Dome
FALL ON ROCK—OFF ROUTE, RUN OUT 
Off route and run-out, a climber on Northwest Books was injured in a 30' lead fall, requiring rescue. Click here for report.

6-16 - 6-17-05 - Stranded Climbers on Royal Arches
INADEQUATE PREPARATION, STRANDED WITHOUT STORM GEAR
A pair of climbers were benighted in a storm at the top of Royal Arches without overnight gear. A night rescue was required to guide them to the ground. Click here for report.

10-19 - 10-21-04 - Analysis of The Nose Fatalities
An in-depth look at the choices and circumstances that led to the tragic deaths of two climbers on The Nose. One of the most-read reports on our site, for a reason. Click here for extended report.

9-29-03 - Lead fall due to loose rock - Lost Brother
FALLING ROCK - FALL ON ROCK, FAILED TO FOLLOW INSTINCTS
This is a detailed and engrossing first-hand account of a veteran climber's lead fall due to loose rock on a seldom-visited route in Yosemite Valley. This is must-read analysis about following your instincts, placing gear, negotiating a lengthly rescue, and loose rock. Click here for report.
From Accidents in North American Mountaineering (ANAM)

6-2-03 - Climber injured due to rock fall - Middle Cathedral
FALLING ROCK - FALL ON ROCK
This ANAM accident report illustrates the importance of effective communication between leader and follower, the dangers of loose rock to seconds, and that climbing helmets save lives. Click here for report.
From Accidents in North American Mountaineering (ANAM)

5-26-03 - Big wall lead fall and rescue - Sunkist, El Capitan
FALL ON ROCK, INADEQUATE PROTECTION
A first-hand big wall climber's account of his 80-foot lead fall on the 15th pitch of El Cap's Sunkist, VI 5.9 A4 that injured both him and his belayer sufficiently to require immediate rescue. This report gives useful details about airy gear placements as well as subtle details of belay and Screamer setup that can prevent injuring your belayer. Click here for report.
From Accidents in North American Mountaineering (ANAM)

9-24-02 - 50-foot lead fall on aid - El Cap, Mescalito
FALL ON ROCK - PROTECTION, INEXPERIENCE, INADEQUATE FOOD
This is a move-by-move examination of a big-wall trio's epic on the 20th pitch of Mescalito. Click here for report.
From Accidents in North American Mountaineering (ANAM)

9-15-02 - Head injury during top-rope traverse - Daff Dome
FALL ON ROCK, INEXPERIENCE
A brief report highlighting a hazard of inexperienced top-rope climing. Click here for report.
From Accidents in North American Mountaineering (ANAM)

7-12-02 - Double climber fatality - Middle Cathedral Rock
PROTECTION PULLED OUT - FALL ON ROCK
Investigation and analysis of double trad-climbing fatality that possibly involved catastrophic achor failure on the Direct North Buttress route. Click here for report.
From Accidents in North American Mountaineering (ANAM)

5-14-02 - Injury from pendulum lead fall - El Cap, The Nose
PROTECTION CAME OUT - FALL ON ROCK, PLACED INADEQUATE PROTECTION, DARKNESS
Detailed account of the conditions, decisions and gear placements that led an experienced team to call for help off El Cap. Click here for report.
From Accidents in North American Mountaineering (ANAM)

9-23-01 - Head Injury From Lead Fall  - Reed's Pinnacle

FALL ON ROCK, PROTECTION PULLED OUT, PLACED INADEQUATE PROTECTION, NO HELMET
A brief examination of the gear placement decisions that led to a lead climbing injury on a popular climbing route. Click here for report.
From Accidents in North American Mountaineering (ANAM)

08-12-01 - Serious Injuries from Dislodged Rock - Gunsight Notch
FALLING ROCK - DISLODGED BY DAY-PACK, POOR POSITION
A detailed account of a near-death situation caused by loose rock dislodged by a climbing partner, this report describes the signs and symptoms of severe internal bleeding.  Click here for report.
From Accidents in North American Mountaineering (ANAM)

8-12-01 - Head Injury from Lead Fall - Pywiack Dome
FALL ON ROCK, NO HELMET
This extremely brief account of a lead fall on a sport route illistrates the importance of wearing a climbing helmet. Click here for report.
From Accidents in North American Mountaineering (ANAM)

8-4-01 - Leg Fractures from Icy Lead Fall - Half Dome
FALL ON ROCK
This report is written from the rescuer's vantage point during a helicopter-aided rescue of an injured climber on the Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome. Your climbing route may become coated in ice, even in August.... Click here for report.
From Accidents in North American Mountaineering (ANAM)

8-1-01 - Shoulder Dislocation - Royal Arches Climbing Route
OFF ROUTE - FALL ON ROCK, INADEQUATE EQUIPMENT AND PROTECTION
YOSAR regularly responds to climbers that become stranded, lost or injured while attempted to negotiate one of the several descent routes off Royal Arches. This detailed account of one team's decisions highlights several common issues seen on this route.  Click here for report.
From Accidents in North American Mountaineering (ANAM)

6-27-01 - Head Injury from Dislodged Rock - Sentinel Rock
FALLING ROCK - DISLODGED, NO HELMET, POOR POSITION
This is an excellent, first-hand account of a serious injury caused by a loose rock dislodged by the party during descent. It offers excellent advice given by the climbers themselves.
Click here for report.
From Accidents in North American Mountaineering (ANAM)