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Campbell man dies while climbing Mount Shasta

Campbell man dies while climbing Mount Shasta

MOUNT SHASTA — A 49-year-old Campbell man died last week while climbing Mount Shasta, according to authorities.

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The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office identified the man as David Lopez.

Just before 7 p.m. on May 17, the sheriff’s office received an emergency alert at 9,500 feet along the Avalanche Gulch route, the sheriff’s office said in a news release. Lopez had collapsed and become unresponsive while approaching Lake Helen with his climbing partner.

The sheriff’s office in turn notified the U.S. Forest Service and the California Highway Patrol.

The onset of darkness prevented the CHP from performing an air rescue, but climbing rangers with the USFS managed to reach Lopez, according to the sheriff’s office.

After Lopez collapsed, his climbing partner performed CPR on him until the rangers arrived and took over life-saving efforts, the sheriff’s office said. The rangers were unable to resuscitate Lopez, who was then transported to Bunny Flats.

A sheriff’s deputy met the rangers at the trailhead, where he pronounced Lopez dead shortly before 11 p.m. and notified his next of kin, according to the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office said the cause and manner of Lopez’s death are pending an autopsy.

Posted to Facebook, the sheriff’s office news release drew heartfelt comments from people who knew Lopez. Monterey County Supervisor Wendy Root Askew was among them.

“Davy lived life in a way that brought so much light and joy to everyone he met,” Askew wrote. “It’s been years since we adventured together but this news leaves me heartbroken.”

Other deaths have occurred along the route, including Jillian Webster, 32, of Redmond, Ore., in June 2022. Webster, a guide, was accompanying a young couple up the mountain when one of them lost their footing and all three fell 1,500 to 2,500 feet.

While not considered overly technical, the Avalanche Gulch route ascends 7,000 vertical feet and exposes the climber to steep snow and ice, rock fall and weather extremes, according to the Mt. Shasta Avalanche Center. Most people complete the climb over two days.

Check back for updates.