Three friends hiking the Yosemite Falls trail Friday took a shortcut that left two of them stranded – one overnight – until rescue teams pulled them off the mountain.
The California Highway Patrol said the trio started hiking about 2:30 p.m. Friday and took several hours to reach the falls. Because daylight was dwindling, the group decided to take a shortcut off the trail and down a gulch.
“This was a bad decision due to the difficult terrain, especially in low light,” the CHP said in a news release.
Two of the hikers climbed down a 10- to 12-foot ledge as their friend found his way back to the designated trail and followed it to the valley floor. The two who continued down the ledge ran into trouble when one of them broke his glasses, the CHP said, and had to remain on the ledge.
The remaining hiker, a 22-year-old man, continued down until stopped by a 320-foot cliff, the CHP said. Unable to continue or scramble back up the ledge, he built a fire and settled in for the night, awaiting rescue.
The friend who had returned to the designated trail arrived at the valley floor about 7:30 p.m. and alerted park rangers, who were able to pull the one hiker from the ledge but could not reach the man on the cliff.
Yosemite Search and Rescue contacted the CHP early Saturday and requested a helicopter to hoist the man off the mountain.
CHP officials said the man was unhurt, though shaken up and “very relieved” to be rescued.
“It is very important that visitors stay on designated trails and obey all signs for their safety,” the statement said. “Otherwise, they may find themselves in a similar predicament.”
Call The Bee’s Marissa Lang at (916) 321-1038. Follow her on Twittter at @Marissa_Jae.