99-77 - Pinnacles NM (CA) - Rescue

Rangers noted a vehicle in the Chaparral parking lot past closing hours on the evening of March 8th. Park raptor monitor Monique Imberski reported having seen two climbers on the Machete Ridge climbing route that day; rangers Robert Baker and Carl Brenner soon located the young couple on the face of the ridge. They had continued their climb toward the top even as darkness approached and soon found themselves without light and unable to descend. They were wearing only light clothing, and temperatures were already dropping into the 40s, with a significant wind chill. The rangers provided them with lights. Baker then talked the pair safely down through various pitches over a period of seven hours. The couple stopped on a ledge around midnight, and it appeared that rangers were going to have to climb to them. Members of a climbing team were accordingly staged, but the two climbers were able to make the final descent and hike out. They showed some signs of hypothermia but were otherwise uninjured.

[Mark Igo, CR, PINN, 3/9]

From NPS Morning Report 3/11/99, posted to rec.climbing.