The easy trail hike to Eaton Canyon's lower falls above Pasadena isn't the problem. It's the rugged climb off-trail up to the upper falls where people slip and fall, sometimes to their deaths. "By the second or third rescue of the day,” says Los Angeles County rescuer Richard De Leon, “I start thinking, ‘Will you people just stop!'" From ZevWeb:
Every day in the mountains above Pasadena, this sense of youthful invincibility collides with a stretch of treacherous terrain that leads to a waterfall tucked into Eaton Canyon....There's there’s no trail to speak of to reach the upper falls—just an obstacle course of crumbling rock, tree limbs and narrow ridgeline paths with sheer cliffs on both sides.
In just the past two years, five people have fallen to their deaths there, the most at any single site in the county’s sprawling recreational landscape. The most recent, in March, was a 17-year-old Alhambra girl, who was a standout in academics and athletics. Already accepted to Cornell and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, high school senior Esther Suen sustained fatal head injuries after she plunged 200 feet. A teenage companion also fell, but he survived.
Although the problem is not new, De Leon, who is team captain of the Sheriff’s Department’s search and rescue team in Altadena, says the frequency of people being stranded and injured is on the rise because of social media postings that draw inexperienced hikers to the place and the destruction of other Angeles National Forest trails from the massive Station Fire a few years back.
Photo: Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky website