SELECTED RESCUES - YOSAR responded to 241 calls in 2007


10-12-07 - Serious Climber Injury / Church Bowl
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.


11-11-07 - Climber Fatality / Cathedral Peak
A long awaited, 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 best SAR gurus.

CORRECTED and EXPANDED REPORT (posted 3-28-08)

11-20-07 - Climber Fall / Royal Arches Rappel Route
A climber rapelling the route fell and sustained life-threatening injuries. Full report and photo.


12-31-07 - Children Rescued from Car in Merced River
A car left Highway 140 in the El Portal area and ended up on the Merced River bottom just after noon on December 31st. The driver was reportedly attempting to pass several cars on a wet and sandy bend in the road when the accident occurred. The vehicle came to rest on rocks, with its tires in shallow water. A park Roads employee who was traveling home reported the accident.

Two adults in the vehicle were able to get out, but two children with serious injuries had to be removed by emergency responders. While El Portal Firefighters and Rangers began to manage the scene, units were called in from Yosemite Valley and Mariposa County to provide EMS and traffic control, and three air ambulances were brought in. One child suffered head fractures and the other had a punctured lung. The California Highway Patrol is investigating. [From NPS Morning Report]


Rescue Update:
1-3-82 - Ten year old boy the only survivor of plane crash
After spending five days trapped under snow in a crashed plane, 10-year-old Donnie Priest was rescued by YOSAR and NAS Lemoore, but lost both legs. Now a successful prosthetist, Priest revists the site of the crash and the people who saved his life. San Francisco Chronicle Article


11-20-07 - Climber Fall / Royal Arches Rappel Route
A climber rapelling the route fell and sustained life-threatening injuries. Full report and photo.


11-17-07 - Stranded Hikers / 4-Mile Trail Area
At 3:15 PM a 911 cell phone call reported that three hikers were stranded on the cliffs that separate Union Point and the 4-mile Trail switchbacks. The party of three had scrambled down a series of ledge systems that left them stuck with over 200 vertical feet of terrain above and below them. No injuries were reported.

Rangers responded from the valley to attempt to locate the stranded hikers. Simultaneously, a spotter with a high powered scope was sent up the Yosemite Falls Trail. Once the individuals were located it was determined that the best access to them would be from above their location. Three technical rescuers hiked to the Union Point area and traveled off trail through thick brush and rocky terrain. Due to darkness and the difficulty of navigating through the dense terrain, the spotter on the Yosemite Falls Trail used the lights of the rescuers to guide them via radio to a location directly above the hikers.

The rescuers set-up an anchor system and rappelled 70 meters with the guidance of the spotter across the valley, and located the three hikers huddled together on a small ledge. The subjects were secured with harnesses and ropes, and individually raised back to safe terrain.

The hikers were escorted back to the 4-mile Trailhead. The rescue was complete at 10:30 PM.


11-11-07 - Climber Fatality / Cathedral Peak
Weather related climber death near Cathedral Peak. Read more.

10-7-07 - Climber Fall / Royal Arches Route
After badly breaking his leg in a lead fall, a climber was rescued using the park helicopter. 


9-24 to 9-27-07 - Three Day Search for Overdue Backpackers / Edith Lake
Two backpackers were diverted from their intended route by weather, becoming overdue and spawning a multi-day search effort in the Lake Eleanor area. 


9-16-07 - Rescue of Injured Climber / El Capitan - The Nose
A climber on the Nose broke both legs badly during a 30-foot lead fall. A dramatic overnight rescue was executed with resources diverted from the search for the missing photographer.


9-15 to 9-17-07 - Three Day Search for Missing Hiker / Taft Point
A missing photographer's vehicle was found on the Glacier Point Road, spawning a three day, multi-agency search. 


9/4/07 – Exhausted Climber Rescue / Half Dome - Northwest Face
On 9/4/07 at approximately 10:00 PM NPS dispatch received a 911 call from a climber at the base of the Northwest Face of Half Dome. The reporting party stated that he had been in contact with a climber from a different team who was experiencing an unknown medical condition. His condition caused him to suddenly collapse and be unable to continue the ascent or rappel the route. The medical situation left the victim stranded on Big Sandy Ledge, four pitches from the summit of the route. Due to the late hour of receiving the initial report, rescue operations were organized to begin early the next morning.

A 17 person technical rescue team was flown to the top of Half Dome by Helicopter 551. A rescuer was lowered to the subject’s location on Big Sandy Ledge, and the patient and rescuer were hauled back to the summit. Another operation was performed to retrieve the subject that spent the night on Big Sandy Ledge with the sick climber (who through a series of events and a climbing partner swap mid route was apparently was not the person the rescued climber started the climb with). The patient was transported to the Yosemite Medical Clinic and was treated for severe dehydration. He was released later that day.


8-24-07 - Mutual Aid Response To Serious Vehicle Accident
Park fire and EMS personnel responded to a mutual aid request from Mariposa County for an assist at a head-on collision on Highway 140 near El Portal just before 3 p.m. on August 24th. The high-speed collision caused major structural damage to both vehicles. Four people were injured. Two air ambulances landed on the roadway near the accident scene and transported the two most critically injured victims. One, a teenager, was flown to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto and taken directly to surgery.


8-21-07 - Half Dome Rescue - North West Face Route
Valley rangers received a report of an injured climber on the northwest face of Half Dome at 4:30 a.m. on August 21st. The climber, Robert Kuntz, had taken a leader fall of about 80 feet after having gotten off route. During the fall, Kuntz zippered out at least four additional protection pieces that he'd used as climbing aids. Kuntz's fall was finally arrested by his climbing rope, but not before he injured his back in a glancing blow off a protruding ledge. Rescuers were flown to the top of Half Dome in the park's contract helicopter. Two rescuers were then lowered 600 feet down the overhanging face to Kuntz's location. He was packaged in a vacuum body splint, raised to the top of Half Dome, then flown to a trauma center in Modesto.


8-21-07 - Park Provides Helicopter Short-Haul Assist In Rescue
The Inyo County Sheriff's Office contacted the park around 2:30 p.m. on August 21st and requested the park's contract helicopter for a short-haul rescue of an injured climber from a ridge at the 11,100-foot elevation on Mount Ritter. A 15-year-old boy had reported that his father had taken a 150-foot fall and was having trouble breathing. Rescue personnel had difficulty in finding the accident site at the outset due to very limited information. The fall had occurred on Sunday, August 19th, but the victim had to wait three days for rescuers to arrive. Once found, though, the short-haul was carried out without incident.


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.


7/30/07 to 8/14/07 - The Search for Ottorrina "Terrina" Bonaventura
80-year-old Bonaventura went missing on 7/30 in the Vogelsang area, spawning a massive search effort that lasted two weeks. Her body was found on 8/14/07.


7/26/07 - Short-haul Evacuation of Injured Fisherman / LYV
At approximately 1115 Ranger Sam Flourney was contacted by members of a fishing party who reported that a 77 year old member of their group had sustained a dramatically angulated leg fracture after having taken a ground level fall. Ranger Flourney, Little Yosemite Valley (LYV) SAR Technician Chris Nanamura and LYV SAR Technician Jen Imai immediately responded to the victim's location, approximately 25 minutes east of the Little Yosemite Valley Campground. Ranger Flourney indicated to the Incident Command that a helicopter short haul would be required to extricate the patient from their location as he was in heavy timber and on an inaccessible side of the Merced River. A medical team was flown into Little Yosemite Valley area and deployed by heli-rappel. The patient and Medic Matt Stark were short-hauled from the accident site, an approximate 5 mile flight, directly to the Ahwahnee Meadows heli-spot in Yosemite Valley proper.


7/11/07 - Hiker Fatality / Half Dome Trail
At 1255 hours Yosemite Dispatch received a 911 phone call reporting an unconscious hiker on the Half Dome Trail approximately 0.5 miles above the John Muir Trail / Half Dome Trail junction. Bystanders initiated CPR at that time. The park contract helicopter was dispatched and inserted two rescuers via heli-rappel into a forested area nearby. The man was pronounced dead on scene and, due to a lack of adequate landing zones, long-lined to Awahnee Meadow by helicopter.


6/21/07 - Medical Emergency / Panorama Trail - Illilouette Fall
A man experiencing a diabetic emergency on the trail required a helicopter evacuation.   Please click here for the full report.


6/17/07 - Stranded Climbers / Royal Arches - Super Slide (5.10a)
At approximately 1520 hours an employee working at the Awahnee Hotel reported cries for help coming from the Royal Arches wall. YOSAR team members responded to the incident with technical equipment, spotting devices, and a PA system. Two rescuers climbed to the party's location. At 1554 hours rescuers were able to confirm via voice contact that the party of two was stranded with no injuries. Rescuers secured the climbers and lowered them several hundred feet off the route. All units were back on the ground at 1815


6/16/07 - Fatal Hiker Fall / Half Dome - Cables Route
National Park Service Press Release - Hirofumi Nohara, 37, slipped and fell while ascending the Half Dome cables on June 16, 2007 at around 2:30pm. Nohara, a Japanese citizen in the United States on a work visa, was hiking with four friends when the fall occurred. Nohara fell approximately 300 feet from the east side of the cables, and was pronounced dead at the scene. An investigation into the cause of the slip and subsequent fall is underway.


6/8/07 - Climber Fall / Yosemite Valley - Arches Wall
Park Dispatch received a 911 phone call at about 1730 hours from a party at Backpackers Camp who said there were screams for help coming from somewhere between the Arches Wall and the Direct Route on Washington’s Column. Further investigation revealed that a climber had taken a leader fall, resulting in a deep head laceration. The subject had walked to the horse trail near Indian Caves when rescuers reached him. He was carried to an awaiting ambulance and transported to the Yosemite Medical Clinic. The subject was transported by an air-ambulance out of Yosemite due to the extent of his injuries. More information will be posted after interviewing the subject.


5/31/07 - Swiftwater Incident / Merced River - Happy Isles Reversal
A 15 year old boy playing near the path along the Merced River below Happy Isles jumped onto a rock near the rivers edge. The boy became stranded and was unable to safely return to shore. A swiftwater team set-up an extension ladder and sent a swiftwater technician onto the rock in order to rescue the boy.


5/25/07 - Vehicle in Merced River / Crane Creek Confluence
Cries for help were heard at 2230 hours from the Merced River near the Crane Creek confluence (Highway 140, west of Yosemite View Lodge). A vehicle was partially submerged in swift moving water with one occupant stranded on top of the vehicle. Units from Yosemite National Park, Mariposa County Sheriff, and the California Highway Patrol responded. The swiftwater team was able to use a rescuer with a tethered rescue board to safely bring the driver of the vehicle to shore. The vehicle sank shortly after the subject was extricated.


5/20/07 - Cardiac Complications / Upper Yosemite Falls - Colombia Point
Subject suffereing from severe chest pain during a hike uphill required a carry out from Colombia Point.


5/19/07 - Swiftwater Incident / Mist Trail - Vernal Fall Footbridge Area
A man fell from a rock just above Vernal Fall Footbridge Bathroom, and was swept down the Merced River at about 1400 hours. Eyewitnesses state they saw debris pass under the Vernal Fall Footbridge shortly after. YOSAR swiftwater personnel searched the river throughout the afternoon but only found the subject’s shoe, downriver of the accident site. Numerous rescuers, including search dog teams, searched the Merced River from Vernal Fall Footbridge to Happy Isles Bridge throughout the following weeks without success. On 5/29/07 a backcountry ranger spotted what appeared to be a body in the river. A highline operation was used that afternoon to recover the subject.


5/17/07 - Climber Fall / El Capitan - The Nose Route
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.


5/15/07 - Two Subjects Stranded / Tenaya Creek - Mirror Lake Area
Two juveniles attempted to cross the upper section of Mirror Lake and were swept into the current and down stream. Both males were able to scramble on top of rocks mid-stream and await a rescue.


4/19/07 - Hiker Fatality / Half Dome - Cables Route
While descending the Half Dome cables, a victim slipped from the route and onto the blank face of the shoulder.


4/11/07 - Overdue Climbers / Royal Arches - North Dome Gully
A father and son team topped out late on the Royal Arches climbing route and became disoriented while trying to find the North Dome Gully descent route. Nightfall forced them to bivy on the ridge of Washington's Column, and require rescue asssitance the following morning during the beginning of a two day snow storm.


3/31/07 - Missing Person / Seperated Party - Valley View Trail
A female was reported missing after having walked off-trail while with a hiking group. After her group looked for her for 50 minutes without success, a search was initiated. The subject was located three hours later.


1/12/07 - Vehicle In Merced River Below Pohono
A car slipped on ice below the pohono bridge and partially slide into the Merced river. All occupants were removed from the vehicle. There were no significant injuries. 

Friends of YOSAR 501(c) 54-208 1466

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