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Northern California man collapses and dies while hiking Mount Shasta

Hailey Branson-Potts, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

A 49-year-old man from Northern California's Santa Clara County died last week while hiking Mount Shasta, the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office said this week.

On May 17, David Lopez of Campbell collapsed while approaching Helen Lake — a broad, flat, snow-covered plateau with a view of the steep incline that begins just above it — with his climbing partner, the sheriff's office said in a statement.

Just before 7 p.m., the sheriff's department said, its dispatchers received a Garmin inReach emergency notification from 9,500 feet up the Avalanche Gulch trail. Lopez had become unresponsive.

It was too dark for pilots to make an air rescue, the sheriff's department said.

Lopez's climbing partner, whose name was not released, immediately began CPR, continuing until U.S. Forest Service climbing rangers and the sheriff's search and rescue team found the pair and tried to revive the fallen hiker, according to authorities.

Lopez could not be resuscitated. Rescuers carried his body down the mountain to Bunny Flat, where they were met by at the trailhead by a sheriff's deputy who pronounced Lopez dead at 10:49 p.m., the sheriff's office said.

The cause of death has not been determined, pending an autopsy, authorities said.

 

"The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office offers its most heartfelt condolences to the Lopez family and friends and expresses its appreciation to the USFS Climbing Rangers and SAR team for their rapid response to the distress call and lifesaving efforts," the sheriff's statement read.

In a comment on the sheriff's Facebook page, Monterey County Supervisor Wendy Root Askew said Lopez, who was known as Davy, "lived life in a way that brought so much light and joy to everyone he met."

In June 2022, Jillian Webster, a professional mountain guide, was ascending Avalanche Gulch tethered to two clients when one of the climbers lost their footing, causing all three to slide down the mountain. Webster died, and her clients were badly injured.

Although dozens have died while climbing the mountain over the years, the death of Webster, 32, shocked the climbing community and raised questions about the growing popularity of summiting Mount Shasta, a snow-capped volcano that rises 14,179 feet above the north end of the Central Valley.

The same day Webster and her clients fell, two other climbers plummeted down Avalanche Gulch, falling more than a thousand feet and suffering serious injuries.


©2024 Los Angeles Times. Visit at latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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