Gardnerville teen dies in fall

A Gardnerville teenager died Thursday morning in a climbing accident off Highway 88 near Woodfords, Calif.

Shawn Kronenburg, 19, and a friend were "climbing in the moonlight" at about 4 a.m. when Kronenburg apparently fell from a 30-foot cliff and tumbled down a 45-degree slope, reports indicate.

His 18-year-old friend, from Minden, told a Douglas County sheriff's deputy he was climbing ahead of Kronenburg when he heard sounds of distress. When he turned around, he could not find Kronenburg.

He then drove to Minden to the Douglas County sheriff's substation and alerted the deputy.

"It's better than a 50- to 60-degree slope with sections of cliff where they were climbing," said Bob Tucker, Alpine County assistant sheriff. "He heard his friend say something like, 'Oh no!,' and then he heard the sound of some dislodged rocks."

When the friend and the deputy returned to the site of the accident, a LifeFlight helicopter searched and found Kronenburg's body.

Because LifeFlight does not have the capability of hoisting patients, a search and rescue team was called in from Fallon Naval Air Station. They recovered Kronenburg's body after 7 a.m.

Tucker said the accident was alcohol related. Investigators believe Kronenburg and his friend had an older person buy them beer at a convenience store and that the pair had been drinking all night prior to the fall. They were camping near the accident site, he said.

"They were drinking and when the early morning came, they decided to climb a hill," he said.


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