YOSEMITE – A 26-year-old Palo Alto man was successfully rescued in Yosemite National Park on Sunday, Apr. 20, after falling approximately 30 feet and sustaining serious injuries to his back.
According to YNP Ranger Kari Cobb, a call came in to Search and Rescue dispatch shortly after 10 a.m. that a climber had fallen from a nearly-vertical granite pillar and was injured and unable to continue on his own.
“The Park utilized the CHP who flew in two park rangers for a hoist mission,” said Cobb. “The two rangers, David Pope and Jack Hoeflich, were lowered to the location to provide medical attention to the individual.”
YNP relies on CHP helicopter H-40 during times when the park helicopter is off-season. H-40 carefully hoisted Parkinson into mid-air with a cable attached to a litter.
After rescuers completed the hoist, the injured climber was transferred to El Capitan meadow and then taken by air ambulance to a local hospital.
The climber was later identified as Blake Parkinson, a Stanford University admissions officer. Parkinson was climbing with a partner on Higher Cathedral Spire.
They were reported to have been approximately two pitches in, or at 400 ft., when leader Parkinson, who was wearing a helmet and rope, fell for as-yet-unknown reasons. He hit a cliff or ledge, according to Ranger Cobb, who said the investigation into the accident is ongoing.
Parkinson has since been transferred from a hospital in Modesto to the Bay Area, where his recovery is expected to take about six weeks.
Cathedral Rocks and Cathedral Spires are located on the south side of the Yosemite Valley. Higher and lower Cathedral Spires are considered to be the most impressive spires in Yosemite, with Higher Cathedral being more than 600 ft. tall.
The California Highway Patrol Flight Crew included Pilot Officer Bill Dixon, Flight Officer/Paramedic Andrea Brown and Pilot Officer Chris Barrett.
To view the entire rescue video released by the CHP, click here.