Palo Alto Man Recovering After Yosemite Fall

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A 26-year-old Palo Alto man is recovering after falling while rock climbing in Yosemite. Nannette Miranda reports.

    A 26-year-old Palo Alto man is recovering after falling while rock climbing in Yosemite.

    Blake Parkinson was climbing the Cathedral Spire, a popular near-vertical pinnacle, with a partner Sunday when he fell about 30 feet.

    A California Highway Patrol helicopter assisted with the rescue. Parkinson's fall was broken by a ledge, which officials said made the rescue tricky.

    The CHP helicopter had to hover in place and avoid a rock wall as park rangers lowered to rescue Parkinson, who was then transported to Memorial North Hospital in Modesto.

    Parkinson, who describes himself as an avid climber, is a Stanford University grad and also supervises the school's climbing wall. He suffered injuries to his back in the Yosemite fall.

    "I hit a ledge, a large rock. I had my back on a boulder. It was protruding off the ledge," Parkinson said Tuesday from his hospital bed. "So that's what caused the injuries to my back."

    The rock climber said he was carrying a water bladder that exploded from the fall.

    "When I went to feel my back, I thought it was my blood," he said.

    The CHP and Yosemite park rangers train extensively for situations like Sunday's rescue.

    "The people were just really, really competent and very caring," Parkinson said. "I'm grateful they were there to help me."

    Parkinson expects to return to the Bay Area for rehab this week.