Fall From Tokopah Falls Kills Visitor to Sequoia National Park

A 19-year-old California man has died from a 50-foot fall from Tokopah Falls in Sequoia National Park. NPS photo.

A 19-year-old visitor to Sequoia National Park was killed Monday when he fell about 50 feet from Tokopah Falls, according to the National Park Service.

Park officials say Kevin Trevor Rodriguez, believed to be from the Malibu, California, area, was pronounced dead at approximately 4 p.m. Monday after sustaining severe head injuries from the fall.

Rangers say Mr. Rodriguez and a friend were scrambling on the rocks above the trail when the accident occurred. Instead of climbing down in the same location as they had ascended, they attempted to descend via what appeared to be an easier route. While less steep, the rocks they chose to descend were made slippery by water passing over them during normal high water, and the teenager took a tumbling fall, landing in a small pool below.

Mr. Rodriguez’s traveling companions and bystanders attempted CPR for approximately 45 minutes. Park medics arriving on-scene attempted an additional 15 minutes of CPR before the man was pronounced dead.

Comments

I've visited similar cascading falls in the past. I was too scared to get any closer than maybe 10 ft from the edge.

I guess all it takes is a simple hit to the head. So sad.

i saw the guy falling...and run to ask for help. It's a shame how long it took to the rangers of the park to get to the place. I think it was more than an hour and it was only 2 miles away on an easy trail.
With such a rescue service no wonder why there aren't more deaths!!!
Obviously it's the hiker fault, but there should be a quicker response.

He was my brother, and it was pretty devastating to hear. Its a shame he couldnt get help sooner or else he would still be with us. He will be missed extrememly and always loved. R.I.P. kevin and i love you

Dear Diana,

Our family offers heartfelt condolences for the loss of your brother. We were on the trail across from the cliff and saw the fall. My husband is trained in Wilderness First Aid and reached your brother as quickly as he could. Others were already at his side administering CPR and, I'm sure, doing all they could. My daughter (also 19) held his head for a while until others took over. A young German man on the trail ahead of me immediately ran down the 2-mile trail to summon rangers. I spoke with him later. A trail crew working 1 mile down the trail had radios and made contact with rangers. There is no cell phone service in Tokopah Canyon, nor most of Sequoia National Park. So many people responded to this crisis with due urgency, yet I doubt even a surgery center in Lodgepole would have been enough to save your brother. It is so sad.

I was there at Lodgepole Monday Aug. 10, and watched as the rangers (about 6 of them), prepared to make the 1.7 mile trek to Tokopah Falls to help this young man. Yes, it is a moderate hike, but with the rocks and some up-hill portions of the trail, it would take at least an hour for someone going at a very fast pace to reach the falls. As I was leaving for home this morning I asked a ranger about the accident and he said the young man had not survived. I feel very sad about this. Tokopah Falls is very beautiful place, and also very attractive for people to want to climb the rocks. I wish they would post strict signs warning people to stay off. Unfortunatley there are none.

Diana. I am so sorry for your loss. My name is Matt Bretz. I was the first person to arrive with Stouffer at the bottom of the cliff and together we did everything we could to keep Kevin alive. I will be at the funeral regardless. But I am hopeful that I might also get in touch with family and/or Stouffer before hand. Please feel free to contact me directly at . also, javier, you and i spoke immediately after kevin fell. i am very grateful to you for running and getting help. please drop me a line if you are inclined. I would like to hear more of what happened with you.

I also witnessed the accident, and observed from the trail across from the fall (for a time with Andrea) the extreme urgency everyone felt to get help to Kevin. From the people who ran down the trail to get help, to the the people such as my and Andrea's husband who immediately ran down the rocks to Kevin's aide, to the trail maintenance guys who ran up and radioed for help, to the nurse on the trail who nervously got herself down the rocks to Kevin, to the medics and rangers who hiked up the almost 2 mile trail in just under an hour , and to the helicopter who had trouble finding a place to land due to the difficult terrain . I impart this information so that the family may hopefully find some peace that everyone did their best to help. But in the end, I also agree with Andrea, the fall was so severe I'm not certain a quicker response could have changed the tragic results. I am so, so sorry.

i too was at the scene shortly after the accident..i arrived with the trail crew, i wish there was more we could have done, your family has the deepest regards from the trail crew and myself. RIP trevor.

Hi Diana,

I was not present when this happened to your brother, but my best friend's daughter had taken a photo of Scott and his friends just before. I had breakfast with my friend this morning and she is still struggling with this tragedy, so I can only imagine what you and your family are going through. I just wanted you to know that people are thinking of you and that my heart goes out to you all. Sequoia is a place where my family spent many summers, so it really hit home with me when I heard about this. Very sincerely, Juliet

The sad thing here is that a little common sense and a show of respect for things unknown would have totally prevented this accident. You can't blame the rangers, who are too few and too far between, to be right on the spot for every event. This is a huge park and there are probably 5 or 10 "stupid incidents" every day. A few weeks ago my daughter slipped on loose gravel while we were hiking in the Grand Canyon. We were about 4 miles from the emergency medical facility at the park, but it still took the EMT's about 30 mins to get to our location, and they had a vehicle that came within 10 feet of where we were. I thought that was pretty good timing, all things considered. She broke her arm in the fall, but it wasn't life threatening.

Joel, the first half of your comment was insensitive and insulting to the family and friends who will never see this kind, loving and angelic child again. This page was created following an article on the boy's death, not on hiking in Sequoia; your comments show a lack of context and respect. Given the extreme sadness such an event evokes, I am certain the rangers did not take the offense your insensitive comment would seem to assign them.

Trinidad and Roberto,

Not a week passes without the remembrance of your wonderful son in some small or great way. He was, and will always be, a model of a truly thoughtful and good person. We miss you, Kevin.