Solo Hiker Injured Near Dewey Point

March 10, 2015 Posted by: Yosemite Search and Rescue
On the weekend of February 14, 2015, a 23-year-old male backpacker was hiking along the rim of Yosemite Valley near Dewey Point. Upon reaching the point, overwhelmed with the spectacular view, he decided to attempt to access another spire just a little farther out. This effort required some scrambling, and he ultimately fell down the slope, sustaining a broken arm and several more minor injuries.

While he was able to get back to the trail, he was unable to carry his pack. He decided to leave it and head west along the trail to Tunnel View to seek help. Fortuitously, he encountered a ranger hiking in the area, who was able to help him out the last two miles to the road. The Yosemite Valley ambulance crew met the pair at the trailhead and transported the patient to the Yosemite Medical Clinic for care.

Upon speaking with the subject, he was most anxious to convey to other Yosemite hikers and backpackers that, if they choose to hike alone, they assume additional risks in doing so. With that in mind, they should do all in their power to mitigate any further risks along the way. He left the trail and entered loose, steep, difficult terrain—a choice that could have been deadly if he had not been able to stop his fall. He suggested that those travelling alone should "have a little more humility," and recognize they are far from help if things do not go as planned.

While hiking solo is not advised, it is often a long-held preference for those who are experienced and capable of doing so. This gentleman's advice sums up the best strategy: recognize the risk inherent in solo travel and accept no further risks. This means staying on the trail, making sure people know where you are going and when you will be home, and avoiding dangerous situations such as exposed cliffs and stream crossings. Cell phone coverage is poor throughout most of Yosemite and even satellite tracking systems have a track record of failure within the park, so counting on help arriving or someone finding you if you are seriously injured may not be a realistic plan.

This hiker fortunate enough to be able to walk after his fall. He did a great job taking responsibility for his mistakes and working to self-rescue. However, had he been farther in the wilderness, unable to walk further, or unable to reach help before nightfall, his situation could have deteriorated rapidly. We appreciate his candor and willingness to share his story.


Rocky point with the valley floor far below

Last updated: March 10, 2015

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