The culture of capturing “epic” photos at outdoors destinations is becoming a deadly problem, with new evidence of that problem revealed in the death of a teen in Yosemite National Park.
On September 4, 2018, 18-year-old Tomer Frankfurter was visiting California from Israeli and hiking with a group he met on the popular 5.4-mile hike to Nevada Fall. But when he decided to duplicate a popular photo similar to one at Brazil’s Telegraph Rock, he fell nearly 600 feet to his death while.
According to The Mercury News, Frankfurter asked his new hiking friends to take a photo of him dangling from a cliff, but struggled to hoist himself back up and eventually called for help.
“I thought he was joking,” one witness told investigators. “I turned around because I couldn’t watch, but he was hanging off the rock. Then he started to struggle.”
Frankfurter had wanted to imitate a photo from Telegraph Rock, which is actually an illusion. As visitors dangle from the popular Brazilian cliff, they risk falling only 3 feet:
The teen’s death is just another example of how “Instagram culture” is motivating young people to take unnecessary risks to capture that perfect photo. In October 2018, a Bay Area couple who were travel bloggers and Instagram influencers fell to their deaths on Taft Point in Yosemite. A Berkeley law student fell off Southern Oregon’s Toketee Falls in August 2018. And in July 2018, a 30-year-old man was killed jumping off Burney Falls.
Frankfurter was on a two-month trip to the United States and was set to enter 2-3 years of military service in Israel upon his return.