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Two people fall from Sugar Loaf in back-to-back accidents, how to prevent yourself from doing the same

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WINONA, Minn. (FOX 47) -

The beautiful weather we've had in recent weeks means many Minnesotans are getting outside and enjoying the outdoors.

But some activities can be dangerous.

Just last week two separate incidents at Sugar Loaf rock in Winona resulted in a need for rescue.

The good news is that these type of incidents aren't very common.

In Winona Assistant Fire Chief Joel Corcoran's 10 years on the job, there have only been 6 fall-related incidents at Sugar Loaf Rock.

The bad news is that two of those happened back to back last week, resulting in serious injuries.

I spoke with Corcoran on Tuesday about what happened and what you can do to enjoy the area, free from harm.

"It's become more and more popular, I know the Minnesota Climber's Association has put some anchors, permanently, into the rock up there at Sugar Loaf,” said Corcoran on Tuesday afternoon.

Sugar Loaf Rock is situated 550 feet above the roads of the city of Winona, and is a rock-climber's mecca.

"The rock itself is approximately 85 feet and it's essentially vertical,” explained Corcoran.

Despite its beauty, accidents can and do happen.

Take last week, for example.

"On Monday we had a young woman fall. She was up there hiking with one of her family members and she lost her footing and fell approximately 80 feet,” Corcoran said.

As if that wasn't enough of a scare, the very next day, a young man fell from the rock, this time 250 feet.

"The distance he fell, it is remarkable he was able to recover from that," Corcoran said.

Corcoran added that the Winona Fire Department is well-prepared for emergencies such as these.

"The training part of it is big for us, and we will purposely go to these places because they're accessed so often for us to make sure we're ready for a situation like this," said Corcoran.

As for the adventure seekers, he said it's all about the more you know.

"The most important thing you can do is educate yourself. Winona State University has some training facilities and they have a climbing wall where they'll teach you to properly harness yourself to keep yourself safe"

Assistant Fire Chief Joel Corcoran said not to let these two incidents scare you away from summer hiking and climbing fun, in fact, he encourages it!

He just stresses to do it safely.

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