Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: El Capitan County Preserve

Update: The victim has been identified as 22-year-old Nathaniel Takatsuno, who had reportedly been free climbing without a rope when he fell 200 feet, Times of San Diego reports.

December 5, 2022 (Lakeside) – The body of a rock climber who fell to his death yesterday on El Cajon Mountain, located in the El Capitan County Preserve in Lakeside was recovered today by a Sheriff’s helicopter crew.

The Sheriff’s department indicated the climber, a man whose identity has not yet been released, fell about 200 feet.

A video posted on Facebook by Lakeside resident Billy Ortiz shows the difficulty of the recovery process and indicates the fall occurred on the south side of El Cajon Mountain, which is also known as El Capitan.

Although the fall was reported Sunday evening, darkness and rugged terrain prevented recovery efforts until Monday, CBS 8 reports.

The climb is rigorous, requiring a two mile hike to ascend approximately 1,800 vertical feet.

It is unclear whether the climber was using ropes or free climbing when the tragic accident occurred, or whether loose rocks may have given way, or a medical emergency could have precipitated the plummet.

An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fall.

The victim’s identity will be disclosed by the San Diego County Medical Examiner after notification of family.


Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.