County of Marin - News Releases -Cliff and Beach Rescue

For Immediate Release
March 29, 2016

Hikers OK After Cliff and Beach Rescue

Four men tried to climb cliff when tides and waves cut off beach

Woodacre, CA – Four hikers were safe and unhurt after being rescued – two from an unstable cliff perch and two from a beach – on the night of March 28 in a remote West Marin in the Point Reyes National Seashore.

A map showing the location of the rescueThe rescue took place near Alamere Falls in the Point Reyes National Seashore.
Multiple agencies, including the Marin County Fire Department and the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, responded when an emergency call was placed at 8:12 p.m. from a Good Samaritan on the beach, said Marin County Fire Battalion Chief Bret McTigue. The woman said a man had run up to her on the beach describing three other male friends stuck on a cliff near Alamere Falls. The rescue area was about three miles north of the Palomarin Trail, about six miles northwest of Bolinas and about 14 miles due east of downtown San Rafael.

The first responders on scene found two people stuck about 100 feet from the top of the cliff and about 75 feet above the beach. Two others had made it back off the cliff to the beach below but were cut off from trail access by rising tides and waves.

“Our team was hindered from accessing the top of the cliff to conduct a high-angle rope rescue due to thick brush,” McTigue aid. “The brush was 6 or 7 feet tall. The team was cutting the whole duration of the rescue in case a helicopter couldn’t get to them.”

A helicopter crew from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) had been airborne already when it was dispatched to the cliff. The pilot lowered the helicopter to beach level so a CHP medic and a Marin County firefighter could step off and assist the hikers there. A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station San Francisco, better equipped for a technical hoist rescue at night, extracted the stranded people from the cliff at 12:41 a.m.

In all the two hikers were on the cliff for nearly 4 ½ hours. Helicopter crews from Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office and the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office that often aid in coastal rescues were unavailable at the time, McTigue said.

The Coast Guard flew the two men, all in their 20s and 30s, to Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco located at San Francisco International Airport. They were checked and released uninjured.

In addition to Marin County Fire and Sheriff’s deputies, the CHP and the Coast Guard, personnel from the Marin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team, the U.S. National Park Service and the Bolinas Volunteer Fire Department participated in the rescue. The total personnel commitment was about 35, McTigue said.


Bret McTigue
Battalion Chief
Marin County Fire Department

33 Castle Rock Ave.
Woodacre, CA 94973
(415) 473-6717
Email: Bret McTigue
Marin County Fire website