News Release

Stranded climber rescued by NPS staff and interagency partners on El Capitan Peak

Sunlight brightens a limestone mointainside
El Capitan is the southern-most point of the Guadalupe Mountains. At 8,085 feet above sea level, El Capitan is the eighth highest peak in Texas and it's imposing height and stark outline have made it an iconic image for generations of travelers.

NPS/Laurence Parent

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News Release Date: May 2, 2023

Contact: Eric Leonard, 915 828-3251 ext. 2100

GUADALUPE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK, Texas – On Saturday afternoon, April 29, Guadalupe Mountains National Park was notified that a climbing party was in distress with one climber stranded and another member that had fallen off an edge and appeared to be unresponsive.    

Several search and rescue teams mobilized and were enroute that afternoon, working through the night to access the remote site. A rescue team reached the fallen climber Sunday morning and found the fallen individual deceased. The stranded climber was rescued Sunday morning. Additionally, one member of the park’s rescue team sustained an injury and was transported to El Paso for care. Access to the Pine Springs area was restricted for emergency traffic during the incident but has since reopened.    

Air Support was provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety and aircrews from C Company 2-227th MEDEVAC out of Fort Hood, Texas. Additional support was provided by Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Eddy County Fire Department, Carlsbad Fire Department, Dell City Fire Department, firefighters from Olympic National Park, Culberson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Culberson County Ambulance Service.    

Superintendent Eric Leonard said, "Guadalupe Mountains National Park staff are saddened by this tragedy and our entire park community extends sincere condolences to the family and friends of those involved."  

Visitors are reminded that rock climbing, including the use of technical aids, rappelling, or unaided free climbing is prohibited in ALL areas of the park. Most of the rock within Guadalupe Mountains National Park is highly fractured limestone. These conditions are prevalent throughout the park and create loosely jointed rock that is easily dislodged, resulting in dangerous climbing conditions.    

When planning a visit to this or any national park, park rangers advise that you prepare appropriately for your visit, pick an activity that you can safely enjoy, pack the 11 Essentials, and if a safety concern impacts your activity, consider turning around instead of pushing ahead.   For more information about Guadalupe Mountains National Park, visit 

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s more than 400 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.  

Last updated: May 2, 2023

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