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Thread: California man drowns while canyoneering

  1. #1

    California man drowns while canyoneering

    Man who drowned at Shaver Lake identified
    The Fresno BeeJuly 7, 2014

    Read more here:

    The Fresno County Coroner's Office on Monday identified the man who drowned at Shaver Lake on Saturday as Luis Ortiz, 38.

    Ortiz's residence was not known, but he was not a Fresno County resident, the Coroner's Office said.

    The Fresno County Sheriff's Office said deputies responded to a call of a man stuck in a waterfall in an area near Stevenson's Creek and Shaver Dam. The man had been exploring with friends in Shaver Canyon near the dam when he became stuck under the falls and friends were unable to pull him out, the Sheriff's Office said.

    Deputies had to rappel several hundred feet to where Ortiz was located. When they reached him, he was dead. Deputies used a California Highway Patrol helicopter to remove the body from the river.

    Also, deputies on Monday continued a search for an Anaheim man presumed drowned at Hume Lake.

    Divers began searching the lake Friday for the 27-year-old man, who was visiting with family and swimming near Sandy Point. Dense vegetation has made it hard for divers to see and move underwater, a sheriff's dive unit supervisor said Sunday.

    A detail from a photo released by the Fresno County Sheriff's Office shows a team at the site where the body of a drowned man was recovered at Shaver Lake on Saturday, July 5, 2014.

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  3. #2
    I have been following this accident on the SoCal Canyoneering facebook page. They are currently organizing a fund raiser for his family. Very sad story.

    Fund raiser for Luis's Family.

    Luis in Supercloud Canyon earlier this year.
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    Eaton Canyon
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    Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit

    Personal Website

  4. #3
    If anyone has more details of what went wrong please post. We can all learn from these tragedies.

    Tap'n on my Galaxy G3

  5. #4
    This guy was a friend of an acquaintance, this was posted on his FB page: "A rappel had a deviation anchor to avoid a waterfall that you could potentially get stuck in. The options for the deviation were a biner, rapide, and an old rusty hook. A member of our group used the hook to deviate his rappel. He then slipped, shock loaded the hook, the hook gave out and bent, and he pendulumed into the waterfall and got stuck, wedged between rocks. We tried to help from above and below to no avail. He drowned."

  6. #5
    Thanks for posting that, I was curious what went wrong.

    Tap'n on my Galaxy G3

  7. #6
    FYI--this is a class C route, although in the Sheriff's photo above it appears that they shut the water off from the damn/reservoir to retrieve the body, normally whitewater running through that chute.

  8. #7
    The accident happened on a route called "Shaver Cut". And since I had never heard of the canyon I looked up some beta. If your interested it's here:

  9. #8
    This is what it would have looked like when he was in it, photo was taken a week before the incident. The first photo was taken from the re-direct bolt:

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    Why he didn't use the perfectly good BD 'biner 2" to the right of the hook to redirect off of, I do not know. Its a tricky traverse to the redirect bolt, granted. My guess is he got to the bolt, grabbed the 'biner with his free hand instead of tethering in, used his brake hand to put the rope into the very rusted hook, then likely slipped, pendulumed into the hook which failed and let go of the rope, or never had his brake hand on the rope after he grabbed the biner. There is a known and beta'd foot entrapment hazard near the bottom of the chute/falls, this is well below where the redirect is. If he simply pendulumed from the redirect he would not have been anywhere near the foot entrapment area, he definitely let go of the rope, IMO.

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