Yosemite National Park Rangers have recovered the body of missing hiker Kenneth Stensby near the base of Vernal Fall. Stensby was fatally injured after falling from a cliff near the top of the waterfall. His body was discovered by Yosemite National Park Search and Rescue Ranger personnel and was extricated at about 1:00 p.m. today.
Stensby, 73, from Edina, Minnesota, had been in the park for several days. He was staying at the Ahwahnee Hotel and went on day hikes each day. Each morning, Stensby would leave a note with the Concierge, outlining his daily plan. On Sunday, May 5, his note stated that he was planning to hike to the top of Vernal Fall via the Mist Trail and return to the hotel around noon. Hotel staff attempted to contact Stensby around 5:00 p.m. that evening, and discovered he had not returned. They contacted the National Park Service to notify Park Rangers that Stensby had not returned to the hotel. Park Rangers discovered his backpack near the guardrail at the top of Vernal Fall later that evening.
Yesterday, the park conducted a full scale search and rescue operation, including multiple ground teams, a dog team, and a California Highway Patrol (CHP) helicopter. The search area was concentrated around the Mist Trail. There was intermittent rain throughout the day, resulting in difficult search conditions. The CHP helicopter, concurrently with ground teams, spotted Stensby’s body around 6:00 p.m. last evening.
The Mist Trail, closed during the search and rescue operation, has now been reopened.