Climber dies in fall at Texas national park; stranded climber rescued

A climber died after falling off a cliff edge over the weekend at Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas, officials said, and a second stranded climber was rescued. 

Officials at the park were notified about the fallen climber Saturday afternoon, according to a news release. They were also told that a second climber was stranded on El Capitan Peak.

The park said multiple search and rescue teams responded, and worked throughout the night to reach the stranded climber, who was rescued Sunday morning. The body of the fallen climber was also recovered Sunday morning. The victim was not immediately identified.

During the rescue process, a rescuer was hurt and had to be transported to a local hospital, the park said.

During the operation, the Texas Department of Public Safety provided air support. Several local fire departments also provided assistance, the park said.

“The Guadalupe Mountains National Park staff are saddened by this tragedy and our entire park community extends sincere condolences to the family and friends of those involved,” park Superintendent Eric Leonard said in a statement.

Officials warn visitors that most of the rocks within Guadalupe Mountains National Park are highly fractured limestone, and rock climbing or free climbing within the park is prohibited.

“These conditions are prevalent throughout the park and create a loosely jointed rock that is easily dislodged, resulting in dangerous climbing conditions,” the park said in its news release.

El Capitan Peak is located about 100 miles east of El Paso near the New Mexico state line.

This incident comes after a hiker died at the park on New Year’s Eve of last year. On Dec. 31, park staff responded to a non-responsive hiker on the Guadalupe Peak Trail after hikers at the scene administered CPR, officials said.

The victim had hiked the strenuous trail amid a high wind warning that was in effect, with wind gusts of more than 50 mph, and wind chills well below freezing, according to park officials.

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