Southeastern Outdoors Rock Climbing
Southeastern Outdoors
  Home > Outdoor Activities > Climbing > Yosemite Climbing Rescue
Free Shipping on The North Face GearWeb Site Promotion

Yosemite Climbing Deaths
and Rescue From October Storm

(National Park Service) During the first major storm of the season on Tuesday, October 19th, 2004 rangers and search and rescue teams began a full-scale effort to rescue seven climbers on four different routes on El Capitan, located at the west end of Yosemite Valley.
Yosemite Search and Rescue team members surveyed the climbing routes on El Capitan after the first wave of the storm passed and saw two climbers from Japan on "The Nose" who were without a porta-ledge and were not moving (a porta-ledge is a tent-like storm shelter that climbers carry on long climbs and can be hung from the cliff).
Weather conditions initially made use of the park helicopter impossible. The rescue team hiked over 11 miles in driving snow, extreme wind, and poor visibility, then conducted a technical rescue to get down to the stranded climbers.

A break in the weather on Wednesday made it possible to fly to the site by helicopter. The helicopter flew very close to the two Japanese climbers on "The Nose," a difficult but popular route that stretches from the Yosemite Valley floor to the summit of El Capitan, and rangers on board could tell that both were deceased.

Rescuers then diverted their attentions to other parties on El Capitan. David Turner was solo climbing and had been on the rock for 17 days. He had almost reached the top of his climb when he realized that he needed assistance. Turner was taken to the summit, then transported by helicopter to El Capitan Meadow on Wednesday.

They next focused on two climbing teams on the cliff.
The first climbing team of two, Tom Thompson and Eric Erikson, both Californians, was climbing on the route named "Never Never Land." They were safely taken to the summit, then flown to El Capitan Meadow on Thursday.

The second climbing team of two was on Salathe Wall. Marisol Monterrabio Vekasco from Santa Torre, Mexico, and her climbing partner, Tom Andrews of New Paltz, New York, were taken to the summit, then flown to El Capitan Meadow on Friday afternoon.

All five of the rescued climbers are considered very capable and extremely skilled climbers and were in good condition after being rescued.
The two deceased Japanese climbers were taken off the rock on Thursday. They were taken to the Mariposa County Coroner's Office, where they were identified as Mariko Ryugo, 27, and Ryoichi Yamanoto, 26. The cause of death was deemed hypothermia. Ryugo and her climbing partner Yamanoto were from Hyogo, Japan, and were visiting Yosemite with two friends.

Marin County, Placer County, and Mariposa County Search and Rescue teams assisted Yosemite Search and Rescue. About 100 people were involved in the rescue operations.
[Submitted by Raye Santos, Public Affairs]
First Aid & Health
Rock Climbing
Yosemite Nat Park
Fatal Accidents
National Parks
Sponsor Links
What's This?
Related Links
Caving Discussions
Climbing Books