Group sees climber fall 200 feet to his death from California mountain, officials say


A group of mountaineers witnessed a solo climber fall 200 feet to his death from a California mountain, according to media reports.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department received a call about the climber's fall from El Cajon Mountain in the afternoon on Sunday, Dec. 4, NBC San Diego reported.

The sheriff's office did not immediately respond to McClatchy News' request for a phone interview on Monday, Dec. 5.

"There was a solo climber, but there were other climbers who saw this young man fall to his death," Lt. Rubin Medina told FOX5 News.

James Faerber was one of those witnesses, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

"I've been through a huge range of emotions for sure," Faerber told the newspaper. "It was very traumatic."

A paramedic was flown by helicopter to the mountaineer on Sunday, but the climber was pronounced dead on scene, CBS8 reported.

Officials could not initially retrieve the man's body because of the difficult terrain, NBC San Diego reported.

Instead, a search-and-rescue team set out on foot to retrieve the body Monday morning, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The team hiked two hours on steep terrain and secured the body before it was hoisted out of the area by helicopter at 1:15 p.m.

The man's identity is being withheld until his family is notified, CBS8 reported.

"El Cajon Mountain is the high point of a large block of granite that rises up above the town of El Cajon," according to Modern Hiker.

The primary "rock climbing wall is only a small fraction of the entire mountain," according to Chillino Rock Climbing.

"From the parking to the base of the rock formation the elevation gain makes up a stunning 1,900 feet in 1.9 miles," the website said.

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