Man missing in Yosemite found dead after 7-day search

2 mins read

A Bay Area native who fell into rushing rapids at Yosemite National Park and was missing for seven days was found deceased. 

According to his family, Hayden Klemenok, 24, was backpacking with friends when he fell into the water at Upper Chilnualna Falls on July 2.

On Tuesday, Klemenok’s sister, Taylor McKinnie, posted a statement on her social media reporting that Hayden’s body was found on Sunday. 

“Hayden’s cause of passing is presumed to be an accidental drowning,” McKinnie wrote.

Klemenok’s body was found in an area that was complex to recover. 

“It took another 24 (hours) to formally recover him,” McKinnie wrote.

Klemenok was a college athlete who played baseball at a Santa Rosa college. He graduates from San Diego State University two months before the incident. 

According to Yosemite Park officials, river water temperatures are so cold that it can cause even a strong, experienced swimmer to struggle. The National Park Service wrote, “Mountain water is extremely cold. Keep in mind that one misstep on a rock, even above a seemingly calm pool, may result in inability to escape from a hazard downstream.”

Klemenok’s family said it now has a long road ahead for grieving and adjusting to “our new lives without our irreplaceable, unforgettable brother and son whom we cherish and immeasurably miss.”

A GoFundMe page has raised over $60,000 for the victim’s family. McKinnie said a memorial service will be planned for Klemenok.

McKinnie wrote that her family, “will never stop loving our Hayden, and today, (we) are finally able to say we are all leaving Yosemite ‘together.’”


Charlene is a Bay Area journalist who hails from the small community of Fresno. Drawing from her experience writing for her college paper, Charlene continues to advocate for free press and local journalism. She also volunteers in all the beach cleanups she can because she loves the water.