Yosemite hiker shares chilling video of herself clambering on rocks where teen died in 2018

Nevada Falls, Yosemite National Park, USA
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Search and rescue volunteers have reacted with shock after a young woman posted a video of herself climbing onto a cliff edge over Nevada Falls at Yosemite National Park. The location appears to be very close to where teenager Tomer Frankfurter died while posing for photos in 2018.

A video shared on Instagram account TouronsOfNationalParks this week shows the woman sitting on a rock overlooking the roaring waterfall, then scooting right to the edge. Some commenters defended her, saying she was doing nothing wrong, but several people with experience of difficult rescues expressed dismay.

"I'm a Park Ranger," wrote one poster. "Accidents happen, and sometimes I have to put my life on the line to rescue people who have poor judgement. Please, just admire it from five feet back... I promise the view doesn't change."

"Being in search and rescue, I hate the memories of scraping people off the ground after slips from ledges," added another.

Rocks can be slippery, particularly when wet from spray, and accidents can happen in seconds. In September 2018, a young man died at Yosemite National Park after slipping at the top of Nevada Falls. Information was scant at first, but after a freedom of information request, the Mercury News was able to explain exactly what went wrong.

Eighteen-year-old Tomer Frankfurter, from Israel, was hiking the scenic Mist Trail with a group when the accident happened. When the others stopped for lunch, Frankfurter gave his backpack and phone to a woman in the group and headed out onto the cliff edge and began posing for pictures as souvenirs of his visit.

At first things seemed to be fine, but suddenly Frankfurter realized he was in trouble and called for help. Sadly, despite his companions' best efforts to pull him to safety, he slipped out of their grasp and fell.

Jesse McGahey, the Ranger who filed the report on the investigation into the accident, praised the hikers' for their attempt to save Frankfurter, and said he was responsible for his fate.

"“Frankfurter fell in a tragic accident, in circumstances that he was entirely in control of until the point of the fall,” McGahey said.

Yosemite is famous for its waterfall hikes, but it's important to take safety precautions around wet rocks and steep drops. It might be tempting to climb over for a better view, but staying on the trail will keep you away from dangerous sheer cliffs. Designated outlooks will give you a great opportunity for photos.

Make sure you wear proper footwear, too. Trails near waterfalls can be slippery at any time of year, so proper hiking boots or hiking shoes with deep lugs are a sensible choice for extra traction.

For more advice, take a look at our guide nine safety tips for waterfall hikes.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.