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Rock climber dies in fall at Joshua Tree National Park

April 21, 2011 |  9:18 am

A rock climber died after falling more than 100 feet in Joshua Tree National Park, authorities said Thursday.

David Pinegar, of Loomis died of his injuries after the Monday afternoon accident, said Joe Zarki, a park spokesman.

Pinegar had been hiking with a companion near a large formation called Saddle Rock when the pair decided to descend the popular Walk on the Wild Side slab, a 600-foot vertical course up Saddle Rock.

Pinegar’s companion went first and made it safely to the bottom, Zarki said. Pinegar was less fortunate.

“As he was coming down, he fell,” Zarki said. “I don’t know the mechanism of how he fell.”

Zarki said Pinegar fell about 110 feet.

Pinegar died at the scene.

Accidents occur every year in the park, which has thousands of well-known climbing routes suitable for all skill levels, Zarki said.

Pinegar’s death was the first fatality in the park since a hiker fell in March 2009, Zarki said. He urged climbers to check and repair their equipment and to select routes suited to their climbing capability.

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-- Ann M. Simmons

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