Camelback Mountain Safety Sign & Memorial for Fall Victim Clint McHale

A new sign being planned for Camelback Mountain will likely memorialize falling victim Clint McHale with a picture, but don't call it a memorial, says one Phoenix official.

"It'll be more like an educational or information sign," says Kathi Reichert, deputy director for Phoenix's Parks and Recreation department. "It talks about safety and staying on the trail."

But if it's approved by her boss, Jim Burke, the acting director of the department, the sign will also feature McHale's picture and a short message about him.

The sign will likely be installed at the mountain by May, sometime around the one-year anniversary of McHale's death.

McHale had been hiking with a friend on May 4 when the two decided to scale one of the mountain park's many vertical cliffs.

Camelback is well-known among local mountaineers for its tall, though often crumbly, rock-climbing routes.

But McHale and his friend weren't experienced or trained in climbing, and had no climbing gear like rock shoes or a rope.

After they had climbed up about 50 feet, McHale slipped and fell. He died of his injuries not long after being flown by a rescue chopper to a local hospital.

His younger sister, Chelsey, began pushing for the sign soon after the accident, hoping that others will learn from his mistake.

She's helped raise about $500 toward a goal of $2,000 to pay for the sign.

The McHale family is holding a fund raiser at the Mellow Mushroom pizza
shop on Mill Avenue between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. on March 2.

Click here for the Clint McHale memorial Facebook site and here for the fund-raising site.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern