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Stranded—Ropes Jammed, Haste—To Try to Catch Thieves, Inadequate Equipment—No Knife, California, Yosemite Valley, Middle Cathedral Rock


California, Yosemite Valley, Middle Cathedral Rock

On September 13, Chris Heck (39) and Michael Taylor (28) set out to climb the Central Pillar of Fren2y on Middle Cathedral Rock. In Hecks words, “We had planned to do five pitches and descend the route but started down after four, after my climbing partner alerted me to the fact that someone was rifling through our packs at the base. We were in a hurry to get down and see what had been stolen, but we realized we needed to step back, slow down, and not do anything stupid.”

“At the third pitch belay station, we butterflied the ropes and very carefully threw them right into the crack! Of course they were stuck. (The third pitch follows a wide, low-angle crack, a classic rope-eater) Michael rappelled with a prusik and worked to free them for an hour. He came back up for water and headed back down again for about another hour. If we’d had a knife we could have cut the rope and continued rappelling with the leftover piece. After about two and a half hours of trying to free them we shouted for help.”

Someone alerted the NPS. Two rescue team members climbed to Heck and Taylor so they could rappel off. (Source: Chris Robinson, NPS Ranger and Chris Heck.)

(Editors Note: There was no indication as to whether the vandals were successful. It reminds us of yet another dimension the increase in numbers has brought to the cimbing scene.)