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UPDATE: Hiker Dies After Falling in Eaton Canyon

Coroner's officials have identified the hiker as 23-year-old John Jutiyasantayanon of Montclair.

UPDATE: A Patch call to the Los Angeles County Coroner has confirmed the hiker's identity as John Jutiyasantayanon, 23, of Montclair. The story has been changed to reflect that.

A man in his early 20s fell to his death in Eaton Canyon while hiking Saturday morning, said Sgt. Debra Herman of the . It was the second fatality in the canyon in a week.

"It's tragic," she said. "People don't take [hiking in the canyon] seriously enough ... I can understand the draw, it's beautiful there. But it's treacherous."

The young man, identified as 23-year-old John Jutiyasantayanon of Montclair by coroner's officials, was hiking with a female companion when he slipped and fell, Herman said. The woman tried to help, but wasn't able to stop him from dropping even farther. Sheriff's deputies then received the call at 9:32 a.m.

Other hikers performed CPR on Jutiyasantayanon, but he was pronounced dead at the scene, officials told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

Rescue teams airlifted the woman from the canyon to a landing zone, then later transported to Huntington Memorial Hospital with minor injuries.

This is only the latest incident in the canyon, which has seen frequent rescues and mishaps this summer.

Paul Ayers August 06, 2011 at 07:09 PM
PSN reports the hiker, a male, died after falling 30-50'.
Redmond Carolipio August 06, 2011 at 07:36 PM
Thanks, Paul. Much appreciated.
Lorraine Pozniak August 06, 2011 at 08:56 PM
I moved to Altadena in May. Why is it that it seems like once a week I hear about a hiker in trouble in Eaton Canyon? Is it always this bad? I'm used to hearing about the Angeles Forest a couple of times per year from living in the LA area since 1999. Could it be set up so people have to "register" before they hike, and have someone assess their abilities? I guess staffing is not up to the task of turning away people who have no business hiking in the first place, nor would they be allowed to do so, probably... People who are just there to goof around and are not properly prepared for serious hiking don't belong there. I was a serious hiker when I was younger, but I know my limitations now, and am very hesitant to hike anymore. Some people seem to think that hiking is like going to Disneyland, when it's not...
Karen Mateer August 06, 2011 at 10:55 PM
The waterfall and upper waterfall area are part of the National Forest-and not under the administration or jurisdiction of Eaton Canyon Nature Center (which is a LA County facility). The docents, volunteers and staff regularly warn hikers and visitors that while the hike to the main waterfall may be suitable for most individuals-any climbing, or hiking above the falls is not. The area at and above the falls is largely made of decomposing granite-and as such is slippery and at times unstable. There is not a publicly maintained nor sanctioned trail leading beyond the first waterfall. We who know the area have long been aware of the hazards of hiking there. The unfortunate fact is that many blogs and websites created by individuals do give instructions and directions of how to reach the so called "razorback trail", this most hazardous and deadly area. The relative ease of access (particularly for those who chose to by-pass the main park entrance and enter at Pinecrest) provide ready access for individuals to the first waterfall. The sad fact is that many local folks as well as out-of area visitors are enticed by the promise (according to the various blogs) of the views and challenges of the "trail" above the falls. Climbing and hiking are not without risks. Even experienced hikers can find themselves in trouble in this area and far too many over-estimate their abilities, to their peril. Karen Mateer, President, Eaton Canyon Nature Center Associates.
Lisa Hastings August 06, 2011 at 11:50 PM
The forest service should post warning signs at the falls which detail the hazards of climbing or hiking beyond the falls. Of course there will be people who ignore the signs but the signs would serve to deter some and reduce the number of rescues, injuries, and deaths.
Natalie August 07, 2011 at 01:29 AM
Karen, thanks - once you told us it was the Razorback Trail, I found reviews on Yelp that could explain the large number of kids that are now climbing to the upper waterfall. It's enlightening to read the reviews and look at the photos. Frightening.
Daron Anderson August 07, 2011 at 03:35 AM
Dan, sad news here. I had atteneded the Sheriff's BBQ at Charles White Park today, and was speaking to various officers, etc. Met two of the Mountain Rescue team, and we spoke about the incident. Sure enough, they got word that the coroner was finished, and they packed up the truck and were on the way to pick up the hiker. They felt bad about the whole thing, but it was really nice to speak with them, and really good to know that we have a great group of officers to help in the hills.
Lisa Hastings August 07, 2011 at 05:04 AM
Get the word out about the danger. Post a negative review on Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/eaton-canyon---razorback-trail-pasadena?rpp=40&sort_by=date_desc
Lisa Hastings August 07, 2011 at 05:13 AM
I also sent an email to Yelp urging them to remove the entire posting.
P Goeders August 07, 2011 at 05:28 AM
Huntington Memorial Hospital - in Arcadia???
Redmond Carolipio August 07, 2011 at 06:47 AM
@P Goeders: The story has been corrected. Thank you.
Angela Odom August 07, 2011 at 07:00 AM
Wow, this is sad. Hate to say it but it appears the Razorback is turning into Big Tujunga Narrows, or what is often referred to as Monkey Canyon. I've heard there are ropes up the path towards the Razorback. Not good if they exist. I don't think removing the post from Yelp with help because many have already told of the dangers there. Many will read it and ignore the warning because they want to see for themselves and will tempt fate. It's like some people don't learn to keep food out of their tent until a bear comes along and tears the tent up looking for the cookies. Then they get it, if they're lucky enough to go camping another day.
Leslie Aitken August 07, 2011 at 05:27 PM
Very sad stories this summer. Perhaps education of the locals at an early age through the schools by the sheriff's Search and Rescue teams would be a good idea. I think that many of the young people who live in the surrounding foothill communities see the canyons and hiking as an extension of their backyards and don't take them seriously enough. A posted sign about the danger involved in hiking Razorback, might be a good idea -- especially in light of 2 deaths in the past week! A lot of local kids just don't get the seriousness of the situation.
P Goeders August 07, 2011 at 06:13 PM
I do think that education in the local schools would be helpful, but from what I can tell from the articles, a lot of the people getting in trouble aren't local (ie maybe still from SoCal, but not Altadena/Pasadena/Sierra Madre local), but rather people from other areas who just see hear the "hey, there's this neat/challenging trail", but don't know the local tales. I know signs have been subject to vandalism, but even some big flyers at the key gate entrances for the rest of the month might be useful. But along the lines of what others have said (and having worked for a number of years at State Parks and other vacation destinations), you can't stop the willfully foolish, people who don't read the signs (including more functionally illiterate people than you could imagine), and those who grossly overestimate their equipment/preparedness/outdoor skills. I once heard a ranger in Yosemite say that the #1 profile of climbers they need to pluck from the mountains is a 20-something male who thought that climbing the rock wall at the gym and a sense of adventure were enough preparation. Sadly, this isn't limited to their trails, or any other wilderness area, including ours.
Faye Chan August 07, 2011 at 06:47 PM
I frequently jog down Pinecrest passing entry of EC & have been stopped many times by drivers not knowing where they are but searching for the "hiking trail". They all looked more like tourists than hikers..some with entire family with young kids... always appeared to have come off Altadena Dr, then getting lost once they're off the main street. Recent encounters included 2 parties asking specifically for direction to the "water falls". I noted 2 TV news vans at the Pinecrest entry yesterday as I jogged past the area, and it was the Eyewitness reporter who told me the incident was a fatal one. Perhaps those two news stations can be contacted to do a special segment emphasizing the dangers up those trails. If reporters could post segment on Facebook & Twitter, that'll reach more young kids.
socalhiker August 08, 2011 at 03:20 AM
I was one of the first hikers on the scene and helped turn him over as he was laying face down with a horrible head wound. We all did absolutely everything we could to help bring him back but just lookinhg at the extend of his head wound, it was obvious he parished instantly. It was a very sad and sobering day for me. Prayers go out to his gf, family, and friends. I washed my bloody hands in the stream that day...RIP
Cat August 08, 2011 at 09:31 PM
John was my very close, close friend =( We attended his memorial vigil at the bottom of Eaton Canyon, yesterday @socalhiker, I would really like to talk to you if that may be possible. I'll understand if you do not want to talk about or discuss anything with me. I just want closure and I want to know what happened to one of my best friends. cadeguzman@csupomona.edu. God bless your soul for trying to help my friend.
mister altadena August 08, 2011 at 09:35 PM
Today's LA Times has an aricle about Eaton Canyon hiking. It notes both recent deaths and the dangerous trail to the 2nd waterfall. Too early to tell if it will stem or increase the tide of both/either hikers &/or hiking on dangerous trails.
Allen August 09, 2011 at 01:27 AM
It seems to me that the County gets absolutely nothing out of staffing and managing the Eaton Canyon Nature Center (ECNC), whether 50 people or 5000 people visit on a weekend. Who really buys anything there? It is all negative--trash, graffiti, noise, wasted resources, injuries, and lost lives. I read elsewhere that (paraphrasing) in good conscience we should not restrict people’s free access to the wilderness as if it is a sacred right handed down from a deity. It is actually handed down from the County and USFS. Believe me, I am right there with personal responsibility, but it’s not working and is getting worse exponentially!! I am generally against the government charging for services that many already pay for in taxes, but the situation at EC has gotten out of hand. Let’s consider a few changes:
Allen August 09, 2011 at 01:28 AM
--The ATC needs to take the lead to coordinate with the County to institute some change to the current situation. --If you are “local” (yes, I know, how does one define that?), you get an annual USFS/County pass for $10 to visit EC and a small parking sticker to use the parking lot. --Otherwise parking is $5 per day and an entrance fee is $5 for adults and $2 for kids; everyone signs a waiver taking responsibility for themselves and their family. --Parking on Altadena Drive is prohibited on weekends without a window sticker only issued to local residents. --Close off the entrance to Razorback anyway necessary and post signs announcing the dangers. --Close off the Pinecrest and Altadena Drive gates to entrants only allow exiting there through a turnstile. --As suggested flood Yelp and other similar sites with cautionary (or negative) reviews pointing out the new policies and the dangers. It will be easy for these ideas to be criticized as cuckoo and maybe cruel--even as I re-read them I don’t like many of them. But some process needs to be put into place to protect people from themselves, to make EC a little less desirable for non-locals, and to give the County some funds to maintain this process and maybe create a couple of jobs. If not these ideas then others, please.
mister altadena August 09, 2011 at 01:55 AM
Your ideas are neither cuckoo nor cruel. My unsolicited thoughts: #1 - No ATC involvement other than endorsing hike w/ caution signs be posting at entry/exits points in Altadena. I don't believe this is an Altadena situation just b/c hikers can enter via various points in Altadena. EC entrance is via Pasadena. #2 & 3 - Could keep down crowds. Doesn't prohibit hikers, just makes them pay to play. Altho nat'l parks charge, not sure how county/administrating grouips can justify it. It'll just look like a $$ grab vs. keeping down crowds. Bad PR for the county etc. I'm not down w/ signing waivers....too cumbersome to adminster. #4 - parking permits from where to where on Altadena Dr? what about side streets near EC entrance? No parking wknds exists now on Pinecrest. #5 - I've never been that to Razorback. I'll leave that for others to weigh in. #6- two way turnstile exists at Pinecrest. Normally I'd go w/ this but have reservations in case emergencies arise and entrance is needed. Closing these pts to entry forces ppl to other areas and severely clogs those areas. #7 - post on Yelp etc. if you want. I don't know how that stems the tide. Big assumption that lotsa hikers are going to that site before deciding to hike. I'd rather see "official" cautionary signs posted at entry points and key areas on trails. That way ALL who "dare to pass" will know the risks.
Geoff A. August 09, 2011 at 02:54 AM
Locking, or putting a turnstile, at Pinecrest would really restrict cyclists from accessing the Toll Road. The only legal way for cyclist to get to the Toll road would then be the ACT, which is another way hikers could access the area. I'm not against charging for parking, but I don't think it will have much of an impact at all. I am against charging for access to public lands, however. As a kid, hiking and camping were sometime the only family outings we could afford. Pucblicize the dangers and leave it at that. Young men will always find ways to kill and maim themselves. Heck, I'm still amazed I made it past my 20s.
Brian August 09, 2011 at 05:29 PM
First time I went to Eaton was in 1969 after the great rain and floods of that year. Been hiking in Eaton canyon ever since then. The furthest I've been in the Canyon is up to the 6th falls. Very narrow and difficult to navigate back - we didn't want to go back the same way we came -razorback. There used to be a tunnel that shortcutted the razorback trail and I've been through that - 'bout a 100 - 150 long and very dark. That tunnel would take you way up past many of the waterfalls. The tunnel was cemented shut and the rickety steep stairs leading to the tunnel have long since been torn down. Now, onto Razorback trail to upper falls in Eaton Canyon. This is probably the most dangerous hike most people will EVER attempt in their lives. The 'trail' begins in the floor of the canyon up the spine of a very steep & narrow mountain with a sheer dropoff on both sides if you fall. The foot trail is approximately 8-12 INCHES wide in the initial part of the trail. Skirting around sheer drop-offs at 40 feet up is also part of this trail. THIS IS NOT A HIKE FOR BEGINNERS OR KIDS or NOT for the faint of heart. If you're a thrillseeker, go with a crew and some ROPE in case your luck runs out. Decomposing granite is the primary makeup of the mountains in this area. It is BRITTLE and easily crumbles when weight is placed on it. You must be very careful about this WHEREVER you hike in the Eaton Canyon area. Some of the granite is stronger than other parts but BE CAREFUL !!!
Lisa Hastings August 09, 2011 at 06:58 PM
@ Brian. I'm sure the people who have been killed, injured or rescued believed in their hearts that they were being careful. Their problem was not lack of caution but ignorance of what is required to climb sheer cliffs: specialized training and equipment (climbing harness, helmet, ropes, anchors, boots, gloves).
Lisa Hastings August 09, 2011 at 07:05 PM
Another hike that is dangerous is the Rubio Canyon trail where the trail in places is only 8-12 inches wide one misstep would result in a fall of at least 50 feet down to the canyon below. I am astonished at how the various Altadena groups put out positive publicity about this trail given its danger.
Cat August 11, 2011 at 07:19 PM
Hi Dan, my name is Cathryn and I was a very close friend of John. His family and I are seeking to find closure on our loved one's death. I wanted to ask if I could speak with you. My email is cadeguzman@csupomona.edu. I'll understand if you do not want to speak with me or discuss anything with me. I was just seeking answers and was hoping if you could help me. Thank you.
Cat August 11, 2011 at 08:23 PM
[Written by a person friend of John Jutiyasantayanon]: Hello, my name is Cathryn and I was a very good friend of John. My friend was a beautiful person, inside and out. Genuinely a kind human being who always gave to other and never expected anything in return. John was an avid photographer and loved to capture happy moments at events like birthdays and graduations. He never wanted to be apart of the photo, rather be the one to take it, and make sure all of us were smiling in the photo. John had recently graduated from Cal Poly Pomona as an Electrical Engineer and had only been working at his new job in a nuclear powerplant, in San Clemente, for exactly one month when he passed away. He was only 23 years old. I wanted to reach out to anyone who knows any information about what happened to my dear friend. I am in need to help find any search and rescue team members and/or LA firefighters ... anyone who was there with my friend that day, so that we can help bring peace and closure to the hearts of John's family. Any information anyone has will help tremendously and is very, wholeheartedly, appreciated. My email is cadeguzman@csupomona.edu. The viewing will be held tonight at Montclair and the funeral on Friday morning. If you would like to attend or know of anyone who would, please don't hesitate to email me. The more support and love we can show to the family, the better, as this is a very difficult time for them. Rest in peace John, I love you
JosephR August 22, 2011 at 06:53 PM
Brian - I remember the tunnel (hole in the wall) and wonder how many have died on razorback since tunnel was sealed. Unintended consequence of do-gooders closing tunel has led to deaths among those who seek to explore upper canyon. Razorback has steep edges however I believe the most dangerous location is where you have to clear the blind corner around rock ledge past the razor. I'd be interested to hear from rescue team if there's a particular point where folks usually fall from. Liability prevents County from rigging cables however local hikers can install assists for safely crossing exposed sections of trail. Kids will attempt the trail - removing ropes only increases likelihood of falling.
jay jay August 11, 2012 at 01:44 AM
The should close this canyon seriously too many issues i think its bs to have it open....no shameeeee my friend died 3 days ago due to this stupid canyon

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