Missing hiker found dead

Written by Union Democrat staff May 08, 2013 11:30 am

A Minnesota man who went missing while hiking the popular Mist Trail in Yosemite National Park over the weekend was found dead Tuesday afternoon.

Search and rescue personnel retrieved the body of Kenneth Stensby, 73, from the base of Vernal Fall about 1 p.m.

Park officials said Stensby died after falling 300 feet from a cliff near the waterfall. 

About 30 park rangers resumed the search for Stensby around 10 a.m. Tuesday after calling it off late Monday.

A California Highway Patrol helicopter and ground teams around 6 p.m. Monday spotted what appeared to be Stensby’s body but were unable to reach him before dark, said park spokeswoman Kari Cobb.

Stensby, of Edina, an outer suburb of St. Paul, had visited the park on many occasions, park spokesman Scott Gediman said. He would stay in the Ahwahnee Hotel and go hiking each day, bringing his camera. He checked into the Ahwahnee last Tuesday and each day left a note telling staff where he’d gone hiking that day. When he headed out Sunday morning, he left a note for hotel staff saying he was taking the three-mile trail to Vernal Fall and would return about noon.

Hotel staff reported him missing about 5 p.m. Park employees searching for Stensby on Sunday evening found his dark-colored North Face day pack at the top of Vernal Fall, by the guard rails. It did not contain his camera.

About 30 search and rescue personnel, a dog team and a CHP helicopter searched for Stensby, but progress was impeded by intermittent rain, park officials said. 

Stensby was a retired real estate investment executive. 

The Mist Trail was closed during the search but later reopened.