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Stranded, Muscle Strain, Climbing Alone — California, Yosemite Valley


California, Yosemite Valley

At 1318 on August 15, 1984, a phone call to NPS dispatch reported “calls for help” from the cliffs left (west) of Lower Yosemite Falls. Investigation revealed a stranded solo climber on the third pitch of the “Surprise” route in the “Five Open Books” area. The climber called down that he had a strained back and could not finish his climb, but had a good foot hold and hand hold and would be stable for at least 45 minutes.

John Dill responded immediately with a rope and anchor gear from the SAR cache followed by a backup team with more climbing gear about ten minutes later.

Dill ascended the normal descent route, and threw a rope down to the stranded climber, who was then able to climb out under his own power. (Source: Gary Colliver, Ranger, Yosemite National Park)


The climber indicated that the lower back muscle spasms were probably from the strain of a long bike ride the previous day. One of the hazards of free soloing is having no one for backup if you become incapacitated. (Source: Gary Colliver, Ranger, and John Dill, SAR Ranger, Yosemite National Park)