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Rattlesnake Bite in Little Yosemite Valley

June 02, 2012 Posted by: Yosemite Search and Rescue

On the evening of June 2, 2012, the Yosemite Emergency Communications Center received report that a 25-year-old male had been bitten on the hand by a rattlesnake in the Little Yosemite Valley campground. The incident happened in the early evening, while the subject was cooking dinner on top of a bearproof food locker. The subject reached down to ground level to lift and close the metal door of the food locker, and was bitten on his hand. Rattlesnakes are frequently spotted in Little Yosemite Valley near food preparation and storage areas, most likely attracted by the rodents that patrol for food scraps and crumbs. Always watch where you step and reach with your hands; before setting off a hike or backpacking trip, reading more safety tips for rattlesnake encounters is a good idea.

The physician assistant from the Yosemite Medical Clinic obtained anti-venom from the clinic. He and the YOSAR team hiked up the trail and met the patient at Clark Point, a junction on the John Muir and Mist Trail, approximately halfway between Little Yosemite Valley and the Valley floor.  The patient was experiencing systemic symptoms when the team arrived on scene. The patient was administered the anti-venom and carried out by the litter team to the valley floor. The patient was then transported by ambulance to a hospital outside the park.

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Did You Know?

View of Yosemite Valley from the Wawona Tunnel Vista.

Rockfall events have helped shape many of the outstanding features along Yosemite Valley's walls, including Royal Arches, North Dome, and Half Dome. Giant talus slopes that slant away from the Valley walls accumulate debris with each rockfall event.