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Man Climbs Cliff for Marriage Proposal, Requires Rescue

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Morro Rock Climbing Rescue News
Rescuers arrive to assist a stranded climber on Morro rock. Photo: Courtesy Morro Bay Fire Department

A Fresno, California man was rescued after a marriage proposal yesterday. According to KSBY, Michael Banks, 27, climbed the 600-foot Morro Rock in Morro Bay to propose to his girlfriend during sunrise via Facetime video chat. He chose a different path for the descent down the dome’s east face.  About 80-feet from the ground, he found that he was stuck. Banks yelled for help until someone below called 9-1-1.

Morro Rock News Rescue Climbing California
Morro Rock in Morro Bay, California, the site of the rescue. Photo: kjkolb/Wikimedia Commons; CC BY-SA 3.0

It’s unclear whether Banks has any technical climbing experience, but he did not have any climbing equipment. Banks was wearing a wet suit when rescuers arrived. As explained on the Morro Rock Mountain Project page, the cliff is closed to climbing for a variety of reasons, including numerous deaths.

“It kills people. I have been on at least four calls where people have died on the rock,” Morro Bay Fire Chief Steve Knuckles told KSBY.

Thirty-one responders were involved in the rescue. Ultimately, a California Highway Patrol helicopter was flown in to lower a rescuer down to Banks, who was then flown to safety. Banks was charged with trespassing and will also pay the cost of the rescue, which is estimated to be several thousand dollars.

This video was released of the rescue.

According to a KSBY, “[Banks’s girlfriend] reportedly said yes, but was upset by the stunt.”

Update: The route has been added to Mountain Project.