Crime - Sacto 911

Hiker dies after falling 100 feet down Sierra cliff

A hiking trip ended in tragedy for three people Wednesday night when one died in a 100-foot fall down a cliff.

Rene Dewarrat, 36, of Truckee was hiking with two friends and they planned to camp at Big Chief near Squaw Valley to get an early start on rock climbing Thursday morning, according to a Placer County Sheriff’s Office news release. About 9:45 p.m., the two friends called 911 in a panic to report that Dewarrat had fallen off a cliff.

The three men, all of whom worked at ski resorts near Lake Tahoe, had been rock climbing earlier in the day and wanted to get a fresh start for more of the same Thursday, said Sgt. Dave Hunt of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.

They assembled overnight packs, donned headlamps and took off on what Hunt called “a pretty expert trail” in a popular rock climbing region full of volcanic crags.

About 9:45 p.m., the hikers walked around a boulder lying in the middle of their trail. Dewarrat didn’t see the sheer drop-off below, took one wrong step and fell about 100 feet to his death.

His body was found about 8:20 a.m. Thursday. He appeared to have died on impact from the fall, Hunt said.

The two other hikers went down to where the victim lay after calling 911. They were both escorted off the mountain with no injuries, Hunt said.

Benjy Egel: 916-321-1052, @BenjyEgel