Mountaineers witness solo climber fall 200 feet to his death from El Cajon Mountain

- Advertisement -

A group of “traumatized” rock climbers witnessed the horrific fall of a 22-year-old rock climber on Sunday — who plunged 200 feet to his death — while climbing San Diego’s El Cajon mountain.

Witnesses say the climber, whose name has not been released, was climbing “free solo” — rock climbing without the use of a rope or protective gear — just before noon when the tragedy occurred.

A group of climbers stormed up to help the young victim, but it was too late. When search and rescue arrived, the climber was pronounced dead.

James Faerber said he was “traumatized” when he saw the man fall to his death from the popular mountain known as El Capitan or El Cap, which tops at 1,100 meters.

“I certainly went through a huge range of emotions,” Faerber told the San Diego Tribune.

On Monday, crews traversed the hazardous terrain to recover the victim's remains, two hours on foot, while a helicopter was airborne to assist in the recovery mission

On Monday, crews traversed the hazardous terrain to recover the victim’s remains, two hours on foot, while a helicopter was airborne to assist in the recovery mission

Search and rescue teams had a hard time recovering the body due to the treacherous terrain.

“By the time we were able to get to where the climber was, it’s about 2,500 feet in elevation, and it’s about a two-hour hike to get to the climber. So it made yesterday’s recovery impossible,” said Lieutenant Ruben Medina of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

Another obstacle the crew faced, the sheriff said, was nightfall. The darkness made it difficult to get back down the mountain.

On Monday, crews hiked the hazardous terrain to recover the victim’s remains, located near the lakeside area of ​​the mountain, while a helicopter was airborne to assist in the recovery mission.

The mountaineer was rescued more than 12 hours after falling off the mountainside.

The cause of the young man’s fall remains unknown and is under investigation.

Billy Ortiz, who has lived near El Cajon for 63 years, told CBS 8 that the area where the hiker was found is very ‘treacherous’ and known as ‘the wedge’, an area that rock climbers love to climb.

“It goes left and then right, and then there’s an overhang,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz had his camera focused on the recovery mission as search and rescue crews retrieved the climber’s body from the south side of the mountain.

A helicopter flies over the treacherous terrain on its way to the 22-year-old man who was tragically killed just before noon on Sunday.

A helicopter flies over the treacherous terrain on its way to the 22-year-old man who was tragically killed just before noon on Sunday.

A helicopter flies over the treacherous terrain on its way to the 22-year-old man who was tragically killed just before noon on Sunday.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department received a call on Sunday afternoon, December 4, about the El Cajon Mountain climber's fall.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department received a call on Sunday afternoon, December 4, about the El Cajon Mountain climber's fall.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department received a call on Sunday afternoon, December 4, about the El Cajon Mountain climber’s fall.

Dachel Fohne, a friend of the deceased, said she heard about a fatal accident on the mountain and then found out it was her climbing partner, Fox5 San Diego.

“I just didn’t want to believe it, and I still don’t want to believe it,” she said.

Before the tragic news, Fohne had left a note on the windshield of her friend’s car that had been parked in the parking lot at the foot of the mountain.

“I waited for you until 5pm,” she wrote. “Hit me when you’re safe. Always text me.”

Dachel Fohne, a friend of the deceased, left a note on the windshield of her friend’s car that had been parked in the parking lot at the foot of the mountain. “I waited for you until 5pm,” she wrote. “Hit me when you’re safe. Always text me’

Known as “Adventure Tick” on Instagram, Fohne expressed her devastation over the tragic loss in a recent post and her gratitude for those who tried to help. “My heart hurts so much,” she wrote. “If you were one of those climbers trying to help, thank you for your kindness. Called the ranger station this morning to be told that a climber has fallen, a good friend has come looking… It’s an empty, helpless feeling’

Fohne – known as “Adventure Tick” on Instagram – expressed her devastation over the tragic loss and her gratitude for those who tried to help in a recent post.

“My heart hurts so much,” she wrote.

“If you were one of those climbers trying to help, thank you for your kindness. Calling the ranger’s station this morning to hear that a climber has fallen, a good friend has come looking… It’s an empty, helpless feeling.’

She said she and her climbing buddy were both “loners” who were both connected by their love of the mountain and the magical feeling it brought them both.

She added, “Being alone on the mountain is pure freedom.”