Yosemite National Park (CA)
Climbing Fatality on Lower Cathedral Rock
On the morning of Saturday, May 31st, Chris Hampson, 25, of Breckenridge, Colorado, died while climbing the Overhang Bypass route on Lower Cathedral Rock in Yosemite Valley. Climbing a considerable distance above his last protection, Hampson took a leader fall of at least 80 feet and was caught by his partner, Sybille Hechtel. Hampson ended up around a corner from Hechtel and did not respond to her yells. Minutes after the fall another climber, Bob Jensen, happened upon Hechtel while free soloing the same route. Jensen climbed up to a point on the route where he could see Hampson hanging more than 40 feet below. Jensen called out to Hampson and encouraged him to try to climb back up. Hampson could not climb and appeared disoriented to Jensen. Hampson also said that he could not see. Without gear to descend to Hampson, Jensen down-climbed the route and then drove to the Valley SAR cache, where he reported the incident at 12:15 p.m. SAR team members responded and a paramedic was with Hampson by 1:57 p.m. Medical control at the Yosemite Medical Clinic pronounced Hampson dead via the radio at 2:12 p.m. Hampsonís body was lowered about 300 feet to a ledge. From there he was transported by long line under the park helicopter to the Crane Flat Helibase. Hampson received severe trauma to his head in the fall. He was not wearing a helmet.
[Submitted by Jack Hoeflich, IC]