Hey climbers, leave Morro Rock alone

Morro Rock is an ecological preserve with signs clearly marking that climbing is off limits.
Morro Rock is an ecological preserve with signs clearly marking that climbing is off limits. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

What part of “Do Not Climb Or Enter” do they not understand?

We’re talking about the foolhardy visitors who ignore warning signs posted at Morro Rock. They climb—or attempt to climb—it anyway, putting themselves and emergency responders at risk.

It happened again on Thursday, when a Southern California man who identified himself only as Taylor said he was driving along the coast when he spied the rock and felt compelled to climb it. He made it safely to the top, but because he appeared to be in a precarious spot, a helicopter was dispatched to the scene, and rescuers were sent up the rock as a precaution.

Fire crews and a helicopter responded to a report of an illegal climber on Morro Rock on Thursday, June 15, 2017. The climber, who said he was from Southern California, said he was driving on Highway 1 when he saw Morro Rock for the first time and

Just three weeks earlier, a Bakersfield woman climbed about 150 feet and had to be rescued. At the time, Morro Bay’s fire chief said she could be fined between $2,000 and $3,000 to cover the cost of the emergency response.

Then there was the Fresno man who made the climb last year so he could propose to his girlfriend via Facetime from atop Morro Rock.

This rock is the rock I would love to put on your finger,” he told her. “If I could buy a diamond this size, I would because that’s what you’re worth to me.”

Remember him? He got stuck, and had to be rescued by helicopter. Later in the day, authorities got a complaint that the rescued climber appeared to be under the influence. He was arrested on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, and ended the eventful day by being booked into county jail.

Because everyone’s a sucker for romance, that escapade was picked up by Inside Edition, the New York Post, Fox and the U.K. Daily Mail, among others, so while a crazy—and illegal—stunt like that could get you on the news, it could also cost you thousands of dollars.

Here’s a crazy idea of our own: Maybe it’s time to raise the stakes by setting the fine at a minimum of, say, $5,000?

In the meantime, we’ll repeat the warning to any would-be climbers out there: Don’t do it. We repeat, don’t do it, or we’ll give you something else to remember to go along with a citation—a souvenir brickbat in the shape of Morro Rock, topped with a “Do Not Climb Or Enter” sign.

Bouquets and brickbats appear periodically in The Tribune. If there’s something (or someone) you would like to honor with a bouquet or chastise with a brickbat, email your idea to sfinucane@thetribunenews.com.

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