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Contact: Sintia Kawasaki-Yee, 559-565-3131
KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Calif. July 16, 2018 – On Thursday, July 12 at about four in the afternoon the parks received a satellite device SOS call from the John Muir Trail/Pacific Crest Trail near Center Peak in Kings Canyon National Park, just north of Forester Pass. A hiker reported someone calling for help about halfway up the peak on the northwest side, regarding a possible fall. The hiker was unable to make direct contact with this person due to terrain and monsoon-type weather.
A park ranger responded on foot, and a helicopter was requested. Another park ranger was short-hauled in via helicopter and evacuated the 37 year old male who was uninjured, but unable to ascend or descend from his location. At about 6:30pm the park ranger confirmed the nearby partner, 30 year old male, was deceased. The next day a recovery operation was completed at 12,000 feet elevation and the body was transferred to the Tulare County Coroner’s Office.
The investigation is still ongoing but information indicates an accidental fall. The two men were climbing multiple peaks that day.
Search and rescue operations have kept park rangers busy this year, about twenty more than last year in mid-July. When traveling in wilderness keep in mind that Monsoon-type weather systems can happen unexpectedly, and can bring potentially dangerous conditions including lightening, strong winds, and locally heavy rains that may impact water crossing levels and create footing on trails and rocks. For information about wilderness travel and permits call 559-565-3766.