Weekly newspaper of Three Rivers, California, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

Backpacker dies crossing Silliman Creek

By: 
John Elliott

 

It is problematic crossing any creek in the High Sierra this season. Snowmelt, especially as temperatures warm in the afternoon, has waterways so swift and cold that it is difficult to locate a safe place to cross or know what method will be best. 
 
On Saturday afternoon, June 17, a 26-year-old female hiker slipped while crossing Silliman Creek (7,250 feet elevation), in the vicinity of where the Lodgepole-to-Twin Lakes Trail crosses the rushing stream. The Beverly Hills resident was on a backpacking trip with a companion when the misstep occurred.
 
The victim was carried downstream and she became pinned against a tree and lodged in between rocks and debris. Silliman  Creek had become swollen with more melt that afternoon after warm temperatures made the creek especially cold and swift.
 
The woman’s companion ran the approximately two miles back to Lodgepole for help, arriving 30 minutes later. Rangers responded and determined they needed to have a technical rope system to reach the submerged victim. 
 
The woman’s body was recovered the next day and transferred to the Tulare County Coroner. The Coroner’s office completed their examination on Tuesday, June 19.
 
This is the third drowning in Sequoia National Park this year. There have also been multiple drownings on the Tule and Kern rivers to the south.
 
Waterways from Three Rivers to the highest reaches of the Sierra are flowing dangerously high.
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