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Yosemite Valley

The Moon is Waxing Gibbous (92% of Full)


Some Arrests

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avatar Some Arrests
December 18, 2006 02:46PM
BASE Jumpers Apprehended

Ranger Keith Lober was descending from El Capitan while off-duty on December 3rd when he came upon two men who were ascending fixed ropes on the rappel route. While waiting at an anchor with the first man, it became apparent to Lober that the second man was not a climber due to his attire and lack of climbing skill. Suspecting that they were BASE jumpers, Lober engaged them in conversation. The men asked Lober if he was a ranger; when he assured them that he wasn’t, they told him that they were going to BASE jump from El Cap that night. Later in the evening, they jumped from El Cpitan by the light of the full moon. Lober and other rangers were waiting for them when they landed. Fernando Motta, 29, of Oakland, California, landed in the meadow, stashed his gear, and evaded the rangers in the dark, but Walden Grindle, 28, of Angwin, California, was arrested as he landed. Motta turned himself in two hours later in an effort to retrieve his vehicle and BASE jumping gear, all of which had been seized as evidence. Both were charged with illegal air delivery, and Motta was also charged with possession of marijuana. Evidence seized by the rangers included video from Motta’s helmet camera. [Submitted by Leslie Reynolds, Valley District Ranger]

AWOL Army Soldier Arrested In Backcountry

On Sunday, November 26th, rangers arrested Christopher Powell in Little Yosemite Valley, a backcountry camping area six trail miles from Yosemite Valley. A limited search for Powell had begun on the night of November 19th, when rangers noted that a vehicle registered to him had been parked at a trailhead for a long period of time. When rangers ran the vehicles’ registration, they discovered that Powell was AWOL from an Army base in Virginia. Further checks revealed that Powell had obtained a wilderness permit for the John Muir Trail for the period from November 6th to November 20th. When he did not return to his vehicle on the 20th, rangers investigated further. They found that Powell had come out of the backcountry to buy supplies at a store in Yosemite Valley on November 16th. Missing person flyers were posted and hikers eventually reported that Powell was camping in Little Yosemite Valley. On the eve of an impending winter storm, rangers hiked to the valley and contacted Powell. They found that he had a loaded .38 caliber handgun in his possession, and he told rangers that he’d contemplated suicide. Powell was arrested and escorted down the trail. An Army AWOL apprehension team took him into custody. [Submitted by Leslie Reynolds, Valley District Ranger]

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