Friday, August 5, 2011

Eaton Canyon Tragedy

One of the interesting thing about blogger (blogspot) is that it provides you with some feedback on where traffic coming to your site originated, and which posts have been viewed recently.

I was mystified as to why I got a small number of hits coming from an laweekly blog, so I tracked it back and figured it out. On the story they posted about a fatal fall at Eaton Canyon last on Sunday, they used a picture I had of the waterfall in the story (properly credited, of course).

Since nearly all of my posts are just hike reports, I was debating as to if I would post blog about the fall (as well as the extraordinary number of fatalities this year in Yosemite). I guess the link pushed me to post about the Eaton Canyon fatality.

I've been to Eaton Canyon many, many times, but I'ver never tried to get to this second waterfall. Apparently, it's frequently visited, but it sounds more precarious than getting to the falls in Rubio Canyon, Switzers', or the other local waterfalls I've been to. Or it could just be that the volume of hikers is much greater. Regardless, I'm pretty scared of heights (or, more properly, I'm pretty scared of falling), so if I did make my way towards that second falls and it got hairy, I'd turn around.

That's actually one of the advantages of hiking alone. Peer pressure can be a tremendous influence, both for good or bad. Sort of like the thing your mother probably used to say ("If everyone else was jumping off a cliff, would you also jump off a cliff?"), if you're in a group and everyone else is walking in front of you, it's easy to dismiss your qualms about falling as irrational. Obviously, around Eaton Canyon, they're not. Don't be afraid to turn around. Don't let the sight of other people going somewhere cause you to ignore your own reservations. If you choose to hike off-trail or where large drops are a threat, stay absolutely focused on the task at hand. Consider your route up carefully, and know that it's usually harder to climb back down than it is to climb up. Stay alert, and focus on the task at hand. Don't be afraid to turn around (yes, I know I wrote that one already: I'm just reiterating). And always remember that it's unlikely that anything you're going to see in Eaton Canyon is worth risking your life to see.


  1. I've been to Eaton Falls (only the lower, accessible falls) many times myself, and having been there, I wouldn't even consider attempting climbing it w/out proper gear. John Robinson wrote there was once a precarious cliff hanging trail that bypassed the waterfall, but it's long since vanished.

  2. Sadly, another Eaton hiker was killed just today.

    Also, another guy fell and broke his legs yesterday.

  3. Yeah, my dad mentioned that another hiker had died this week. Didn't know about the additional fall. Sometimes, these things seem to run in streaks.

    The LA Times reported today that additional warning signs are being posted in Eaton Canyon.

  4. I sit here broken out with poison oak, again, because I went off trail. Bottom line; its not a good experience when you venture off the beaten path. Well sometimes... but truly sad what happened and I shall remember this story and my family next time I am faced with a decision. --Just turn back; forget about it!

  5. Man, Jeremy, you've got to learn from your mistakes! :D