Tag Archives: Mildred Falls

Technical Details and Background on Mildred Falls Incident

The Orange County Register published a nice piece today on Matthew Pack, the canyoneer who died Friday descending Mildred Falls. Reporter Greg Hardesty describes Pack as a young man who had found great inspiration in nature, adventure, and the West, and helps provide a very human context to the story of this tragedy. If you are following this story, I recommend reading¬†Harvesty’s article. ************************************************************** On the technical side, canyoneer Kirk Belles posted some information from the SAR team that rescued Pack. From the ACA forum: The drop is 350+ feet. Matt had tied two ropes together and fixed them to the anchor at the top. The ropes were not long enough to reach the bottom. There is another anchor 100 feet down that people use to break the rappel into pitches. Matt had passed this anchor and was over the lip and in a long free-hanging section. It appears he may have been rappelling off to one side and either did not know the second anchor was there or over-looked it. Matt had some gear on the rope, but it is unclear what type of gear it was. Speculation is that Matt realized his ropes would not reach the ground … Continue reading

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Fatal Canyoneering Accident in Mildred Falls, near San Diego

I’ve been following the story of 24-year-old canyoneer, Matthew Pack, from San Juan Capistrano, CA, whose body was spotted hanging limply in the middle of 400-ft Mildred Falls on Friday. Hikers spotted Pack’s body in the falls after hearing screaming. They called 911 for rescue, but helicopter rescue efforts were delayed Friday by the dangers surrounding the heavy waterfall flow. The next day, a San Diego SAR team was able to recover Pack’s body at 1 p.m. I have seen little in the forums regarding Pack’s trip plan, experience, or commentary on the accident, and I haven’t been to Mildred Falls, myself, so it’s difficult to speculate on what might have happened here. Seems like a rank beginner wouldn’t have the equipment or cojones to venture out to a canyon with a 400-ft drop on his own, though, so I’m guessing Pack had some experience under his belt. Why he went alone on such a big trip (500 feet of rope is a lot to carry on your own) with such strong water conditions (big flow, water temperature in the 30′s) poses some powerful questions. Mildred Falls is generally listed with a 4 A/B III rating, implying no flowing water; … Continue reading

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