YOSEMITE (CBS SF) — A Palo Alto man’s Easter climb in Yosemite ended with him being rescued from a sheer cliff by a CHP helicopter Sunday.
Blake Parkinson and Ben Tomsky of Palo Alto were tackling a difficult stretch of Higher Cathedral Spire in Yosemite National Park Sunday when Blake, an experienced climber fell, breaking his back.
“I went to pull a move, and I didn’t make it and I fell, and it was about 20 or 30 feet before the rope caught me,” Parkinson told KPIX 5.
Climbing partner Ben was panicked after seeing his friend fall.
“Whoa, this seems bad. It seemed bad that he was not responsive, that he was not shouting to us. Normally when a climber falls, they would say ‘I’m okay, I’m getting back on it’,” Tomsky said.
When Tomsky and other climbers reached Blake, he was in bad shape, and they called for help.
After careful maneuvering, with chopper blades close to the rock face, rescuers carefully reeled him up in what they call the littler basket, finally securing him after a few dicey moments.
“Yosemite search and rescue are the best in the world at what they do, and if you’re ever gonna get injured rock climbing, Yosemite Valley is probably the best place to do that,” Tomsky said.
Parkinson is recovering in a Modesto hospital.