Tahoe Ski Resort Worker out Hiking Dies After Falling 100-feet Down a Sierra Nevada Cliff

Steven Agar | ClimbingClimbing
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Rescue teams head out after receiving a call at 9:45 pm Wednesday evening. Credit: Placer Sheriff

A hiker died on Wednesday night after a 100-foot fall down a Sierra Nevada cliff reports the Sacramento Bee.

Rene Dewarrat, 36, of Truckee was hiking with two friends with plans to camp at Big Chief, just east of Highway 89 and Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Ski Resort, to get an early start on rock climbing Thursday morning, according to a Placer County Sheriff’s Office news release. About 9:45 p.m., the two friends called 911 in a panic to report that Dewarrat had fallen off a cliff.

The three men, all of whom worked at ski resorts near Lake Tahoe, assembled overnight packs, donned headlamps and took off on what Sgt. Dave Hunt of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office called “a pretty expert trail” in a popular rock climbing region of the Sierra Nevadas, full of volcanic crags.

About 9:45 p.m., the hikers walked around a boulder lying in the middle of their trail. With little light, they suspected that there was a significant drop on the side of the rock, so they threw rocks into the dark to judge the depth. They didn’t hear the sound of the rocks, and believed it was a long drop, officers said. Upon attempting to circumnavigate the boulder, Dewarrat didn’t see the sheer drop-off below, took one wrong step and fell about 100 feet to his death.


His body was found about 8:20 a.m. Thursday. He appeared to have died on impact from the fall, Hunt said.

The two other hikers went down to where the victim lay after calling 911. They were both later escorted off the mountain with no injuries, Hunt said.

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