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Crater Lake fall victim identified

The man who died after falling from a rocky cliff along West Rim Drive in Crater Lake National Park July 4 was identified today as Kevin Octavio Pineda, 20, of Orlando, Florida.

Pineda had scrambled down inside the caldera just west of Rim Village about 5:45 a.m. Tuesday. Witnesses said Pineda walked onto a rocky point, and the rocks he was standing on broke loose, causing him to fall 50 to 70 feet into the caldera. Rangers rappelled down the cliff and confirmed the man had died from injuries sustained in the fall.

The release of Pineda's name had been withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Park officials remind visitors that climbing or hiking within the caldera is prohibited because of the extremely hazardous conditions inside the collapsed volcano. Patches of snow can also contribute to hazards in the caldera and on other high-elevation slopes.

The area where Pineda fell is not signed, but as supervisory park ranger Alec Chapman noted, "We just realistically can't sign everything." Over the years, even in area where signs are posted, visitors have routinely ignored the warnings.

Park officials also note that most of the park's higher-elevation hiking trails are still partially or fully snow-covered and should be avoided. Visitors are cautioned to observe warning signs, be aware of footing on rocky, pumice slopes and never approach the edge even in areas that may appear traveled by others.

Because of heavy spring snows, hikers on backcountry trails may encounter patches of snow, fallen trees and other debris well into August.

The Watchman trail remains closed because of snow and dangerous conditions, while the Garfield Peak trail is partially open. The Cleetwood Cove trail, the only trail to the lake, is open. Because of work needed to replace the boat docks, which are submerged, concession boat tours have not started, and no start date has been given.