Mount St. Helena parachutist called wife before dying

Walden Grindle, 35, worked in wine industry
2013-09-23T13:50:00Z Mount St. Helena parachutist called wife before dyingBay City News Service Napa Valley Register
September 23, 2013 1:50 pm  • 

More information became available Monday about the St. Helena skydiving and BASE jumping aficionado who died Sunday when he crashed while parachuting off of the south side of Mount St. Helena.

Walden Grindle, 35, went to the top of the mountain by himself to "speed paraglide" Sunday, Capt. Tracey Stuart said.

"You stand there with your chute open and the wind pulls you up like a kite," Stuart said.

When Grindle crashed, his emergency response radio beacon sent a distress signal to the company that monitors the signals, Stuart said. "They called us and gave us the coordinates," she said.

Grindle also called his wife and told her that he thought he broke his hip. Grindle's wife then called the Sheriff's Office around 12:40 p.m. to see if they were on the way to the crash site, according to Stuart.

A California Highway Patrol helicopter flew to the mountainside and a medic on a long-line reached Grindle and pronounced him dead at the scene, Stuart said.

Grindle was taken by a fire truck to the main access dirt road at Robert Louis Stevenson State Park. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.

Grindle had worked since 2002 as the geographical information systems manager at Jack Neal & Son Vineyard Management in St. Helena and at Neal Family Vineyards winery in computer administration, web and graphic design, marketing materials and labeling, according to the company's website.

His duties included managing new technology applications in weather monitoring, vineyard imaging and field computer operations.

The company's president Mark Neal said he was too distraught to comment Monday morning.

Grindle and his wife, Danielle, got married in December.

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(10) Comments

  1. sporizon
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    sporizon - September 23, 2013 3:24 pm
    It's hard to feel sorry for anyone who does extreme sports. Most of the time when I say that, people get angry and talk about how they lived lives to the fullest and died doing what they loved, but at the end of the day, that's just a load of feces to make themselves feel better about a senseless tragedy.
  2. DroppingBy
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    DroppingBy - September 23, 2013 5:15 pm
    My condolences to the family. I apologize for the previous person, who, admitting they have a problem with being appropriate, still hasn't learned from it, and somehow makes the issue about themselves and not the tragedy.
  3. Crosscountrykid
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    Crosscountrykid - September 23, 2013 6:42 pm
    As someone who has assisted the bereaved, you'll unfortunately hear too many inane and vacuous comments. Surround yourself with those who will support you and help you along your healing journey. Avoid those who are emotional and spiritual Drano.
  4. catstew2
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    catstew2 - September 23, 2013 8:40 pm
    Condolences to his family, friends & coworkers.
  5. glenroy
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    glenroy - September 24, 2013 6:30 am
    Well said....
  6. shakyra18
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    shakyra18 - September 24, 2013 1:08 pm
    awl dats sad 2 get a call 4rm sumbody u luv dats telln u sumthing b4 dey die
  7. shakyra18
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    shakyra18 - September 24, 2013 1:09 pm
    i knw rite dats not rite 4 dat
  8. Ephemerol
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    Ephemerol - September 24, 2013 7:40 pm
    Staying in an extended adolescence deep into one's thirties seems to be the new distorted and extreme new normal. What lessons are you teaching children at this age? We need more mature and involved family fun, less TV and it's requisite hyper-sex and worse toxic hyper-violence for us men. If we ever needed wisdom and maturity in this society for all of us, it would be now if there is any time left. Children are not just cute and disposable fashion accessories.
  9. Amcanchick
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    Amcanchick - September 25, 2013 12:26 pm
    It's very unfortunate that people have forgone love and compassion for being critical and negative toward others misfortunes and grief. Sporizon, I don't believe anyone asked you to feel sorry for anybody. Frankly I don't believe you or Glenroy are capable and more importantly I don't think anyone cares if you don't. And speaking of extended adolescence...evidently this is what we teach our children, don't feel empathy to anyone in pain. Didn't any of your mother's ever teach you that if you don't have anything nice to say.........keep your lips still. It's time for the community to pull together and be kind to one another and not be so mean spirited.
  10. LLTTF
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    LLTTF - September 26, 2013 9:12 am
    What a horrible thing to say! I don't think you know the first thing about adventure sports. It amazes me that someone so narrow minded as you even attempt to psychoanalyze extreme sports. It's obvious that your life is boring, your probably a road biker. Here is a question for you, how many road bikers died in Napa County over the last 2 years? Personally I believe people who are overcautious, live a sheltered life, and spend WAY TOO MUCH TIME on the computer are the dangerous ones.
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