A man who was climbing a California mountain at night with a pair of friends took a fatal fall on Wednesday, Feb. 7.
The three men, described by KCRA as being in their 20s and 30s, were rock climbing and hiking along the Granite Chief Trail, just west of the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Ski Resort.
As night fell, the trio began an ascent of the 3,000-foot-fall Granite Chief. All three had headlamps, but it was still dark and their fields of vision would have been sharply limited, sheriff’s deputies reported.
According to KCRA, the three came to a large boulder blocking their path. They could not see what was on the other side of the boulder, but after throwing stones into the darkness and not hearing them hit, they surmised that the drop was quite long.
Rather than turn back, they decided to climb around the boulder. One of them didn’t make it.
Last night, PCSO's Search & Rescue and our #TahoeNordic Team responded to the area of #GraniteChief for 3 stranded hikers. One of the hikers had fallen 100’ +- down a cliff. #SAR members & @TruckeeFire hiked to fallen hiker. 2 rescued. Fallen hiker from #Truckee has died. pic.twitter.com/LXg5kqZZjp
— Placer Sheriff (@PlacerSheriff) February 8, 2018
The remaining two hikers called for help from search and rescue crews around 10 p.m.
Placer County sheriff’s officials reported Thursday morning that the two surviving hikers had been successfully rescued and the body of the third hiker had been recovered. The man had fallen about 100 feet to his death.
Not every fall while hiking ends in a fatality.