Man rescued after Tallac fall |

Man rescued after Tallac fall

Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune / A CalStar helicopter searches the Mount Tallac area for an injured hiker on Sunday morning.

A 19-year-old man used his cell phone on Sunday to call for help after slipping on ice and falling face first several feet down Mount Tallac.

Alex Honnold of Carmichael suffered face abrasions and a concussion from the fall, which happened at around 10:30 a.m. He was found at about 12:30 p.m. and flown to Washoe Medical Center in Reno.

The accident comes six days after a fatal fall 600 feet down the same mountain by a 20-year-old Santa Cruz man on Monday.

Ian Carney, an outdoor enthusiast and UC Santa Cruz art student with aspirations to become an architect, was sliding down the face of the mountain with a friend when he lost control, hitting his head on a rock.

Sunday’s rescue near Cathedral Road, was within two miles of where Carney fell to his death. Carney’s body was found near Lilly Lake.

While snowshoeing alone, Honnold apparently lost his footing and fell, and was briefly unconscious before using his cell phone to call his mother. His mother then called the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department.

A California Highway Patrol and a CalStar helicopter were dispatched to look for Honnold. He was spotted by CalStar, and the California Highway Patrol helicopter landed on the side of the mountain to pluck him to safety, said El Dorado County Sheriff’s Sgt. Larry Olsen.

Officials warn that the mountain is especially icy after having several days of sunshine and warm temperatures. With snow expected through this week, it will make activities on Tallac especially dangerous and more prone to avalanches.

“All of the backcountry slopes are extremely icy right now, making for very hazardous conditions,” Olsen said. “And when the snow expected, it could make for extreme avalanche danger.”

With more people taking advantage of winter backcountry activities, it’s important for users to tell people where they are going, which route they are taking and when they plan to return, Olsen said..

“This is so (search and rescue) will know from the start what route you’re on,” Olsen said.

It is also a good idea to carry a cell phone, although the signal can be sketchy. During Honnold’s rescue, for example, the cell phone cut out several times, while he was speaking with dispatch and Olsen.

Weather conditions during the time of the rescue were blustery, and it made it difficult for the helicopter pilots to find Honnold. Olsen suggests that people carry bright colored material, and a flare if possible, so they can be spotted.

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