Several hikers witnessed a tragedy on Sunday afternoon, December 4th near San Diego, California. A solo climber ascending El Cajon Mountain fell 200 feet to his death as the hiking group looked on in horror.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department received a call about the climber’s fall from the mountain on Sunday afternoon, NBC San Diego reported.
“There was a solo climber, but there were other climbers who saw this young man fall to his death,” Lt. Rubin Medina told FOX5 News.
A man named James Faerber was one of those witnesses, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The outlet interviewed Farber.
“I’ve been through a huge range of emotions for sure,” Faerber told the paper. “It was very traumatic.”
A paramedic was flown by helicopter to the hiker on Sunday. He was pronounced dead on the scene, CBS8 reported. Officials could not initially retrieve the man’s body because of the area’s difficult terrain, according to NBC San Diego.
The next morning, a search-and-rescue team then went out by foot to retrieve the body, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The team hiked for two hours on steep terrain, then secured the body. It was then hoisted out of the area by helicopter at 1:15 p.m.
The man’s identity hasn’t been released yet. It won’t be released until all family has been notified, CBS8 reported.
Hiking Group Member Describes Tragedy at El Cajon Mountain
“El Cajon Mountain is the high point of a large block of granite that rises up above the town of El Cajon,” according to Modern Hiker.
The main rock climbing wall “is only a small fraction of the entire mountain,” according to Chillino Rock Climbing. “From the parking to the base of the rock formation the elevation gain makes up a stunning 1,900 feet in 1.9 miles,” the website said.
El Cajon Mountain, which is commonly known as El Capitan or El Cap, is a mountain located in the Cuyamaca Mountains. El Cajon is a prominent natural landmark in the East County of San Diego. It overlooks the town of El Cajon.
The summit of El Cajon Mountain is at 3,677 feet. The mountain is almost entirely surrounded by private property and an Indian reservation. However, the mountain itself belongs within the Cleveland National Forest. This area is also known as County of San Diego’s El Capitan Open Space Preserve.
There are two main routes to climb El Cajon Mountain. The main class 1 hiking trail is accessed from Lakeside, California, and also several class 3 climbs up the south face. However, this side is now private property and closed to public access. The main trail hike is considered one of the hardest hikes in San Diego County. It has incredibly steep climbs and rolling terrain, making it very difficult for most.