Man Killed Canyoneering at Mildred Falls

A San Juan Capistrano man died while canyoneering at Mildred Falls in the Cleveland National Forest.

Hikers leaving the area heard cries for help around 5:30 p.m.. They could see a man hanging from his climbing harness when they called 911.

Once deputies arrived, the man was motionless, according to the county's medical examiner. Deputies called in search and rescue teams but it was deemed to be too late and too windy to attempt a rescue.

On Saturday morning, the rescue turned into a recovery, deputies said. The man was pulled up from the falls and pronounced dead, according to deputies.

He has been identified as 24-year old Matthew David Pack.

Pack's friends spread the news of his death through Facebook posts. One even said he had heard about the news in church on Sunday morning.

Pack used a social site called Mountain Project to track his climbs and list those he’d like to attempt.

The site shows he last visited three days ago, just before the outing to Mildred Falls. 

One blogger, who said he had been following the story of Pack’s death, had several questions about why the young man would venture into the canyon on his own.

“Whatever the scenario, it is incredibly scary to imagine being entangled in your own ropes in the middle of that much cold water,” posted Nick Wilkes. “Let us learn from his tragedy, that less stories like his happen within our community.”

The falls, located near Julian, can be found on the opposite side of the valley from Cedar Creek Falls. 

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