Rock Climber Dies in Yosemite National Park
Climber Dislodged Rock that Struck Climbing Partner
Kiernan and his climbing partner were approximately 600 feet up the climbing route when a loose block was dislodged. The block, estimated to be one foot by two feet, fell approximately 150 feet before striking Kiernan and causing fatal injuries. The incident occurred at approximately 2:00 p.m.
A second party climbing just below Kiernan immediately called the Yosemite Emergency Communication Center via cell phone and reported the incident. Yosemite Park Rangers and Yosemite Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel were immediately dispatched to El Capitan where they began climbing the route to reach the climbing party.
Park Rangers reached Kiernan around 4:00 p.m. and pronounced him deceased. A California Highway Patrol (CHP) helicopter, H-40, and the park’s helicopter, Helicopter 551, assisted in the incident by inserting Park Rangers and rescue equipment onto the wall and hoisting the victim to Yosemite Valley. Park Rangers rappelled the route with Kiernan's partner and the second climbing party.
Did You Know?
Giant sequoias are a fire adapted species. Their bark is fire resistant and fire helps open the sequoia cone and scatter the tiny seeds. Fire also clears forest debris from the mineral soil and provides a nutrient rich seed bed as well as clearing competing species.