County firefighters responded to two separate rock-climbing falls in Joshua Tree National Park Saturday, in which one man was killed and another seriously injured. About 4:10 p.m., the man, whose name has not yet been released by the Coroner’s Department, was climbing the Cyclops route near Hidden Valley when he fell about 60 feet to the ground. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The reason for his fall is unknown.
About a 1 ½ hours earlier, at 2:40 p.m., firefighters were called to the Hemingway area in the park where a 69-year-old rock climber had fallen. According to the Sheriff’s Department, Tom Hurgis had fallen about 25 feet, landing on a rock ledge and unable to move. Rescuers determined that due to his injuries, Hurgis needed to be hoist-rescued, and called for a Sheriff’s helicopter. With the help of firefighters who climbed up to the ledge, Hurgis was hoisted off and flown to a nearby area where an ambulance took him to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs for treatment of his non-life-threatening injuries.