Woman Dies in Fall From Angel's Landing

Climb to the top of Angel's Landing in Zion National Park and you'll have an incredible view of Zion Canyon and the surrounding cliffs. You'll also risk a spell of vertigo if you get too near the edge and glance into the void.
In fact, reaching the top of the landing can be unnerving at times as you have to climb up some steep, and narrow, stretches of rock. The Park Service is well aware of the exposure on these sections and has anchored heavy chains into the most precarious spots so you have something to hang onto.
Over the years five people have died in falls from Angel's Landing....the most recent death occurred yesterday morning with a 29-year-old Las Vegas woman fell 1,200 feet to her death. No word just yet on how Bernadette Vander Meer came to fall off the cliff.

Comments

This is too creepy: yesterday I was looking at all these Angel's Landing pix because we're going to be near Zion in mid-September. My wife says "You're NOT going up there" after seeing some video some people took. Suddenly the Narrows Trail looks much more attractive.
When I was 8 years old in 1962 we went up Angel's Landing on Christmas Day. There was snow and ice at the top. When we went up the last bit my father slipped on the ice and the chain and pipe came out of the rock, leaving him dangling for a few seconds until my mother grabbed him. It left a lasting impression.
The last person to fall off angels landing was my cousin. She was young and had a great life, she had a great voice and was very much loved my everyone who knew her. It is terrible that she is gone, she was an avid hiker and she still fell and lost her life? And I really do think it should be shut down? Or at least have very severe warning about how dangerous it is, even to the point that maybe everyone past a certain point should wear a safety belt connected to the chain link? Five life's have been lost on this trail? I could understand it if maybe everyone who has fallen off was not used to hiking or had hardly ever been on a hiking trail? but my cousin Bernadette had been hiking from a very young age she new about the dangers. And yet she lost her life? just seems like sometimes we need to protect people from them self's? I really do think if there were mandatory requirements about safety on that trail such as safety harness's she would be alive today.
Yes, someone died, so, shut the trail down. Save the people from themselves. Maybe we should be strapped into our easy chairs and have the pictures of Angel's Landing piped into our TV sets. That way, we'll only die of heart attacks.
Hey "Mooks" or whatever your name is, have some respect for the deceased and her family. I don't believe you would have posted such a heartless comment if it was your cousin that fell to her death.
I doubt "Mooks" intent was to offend. His point is valid though. And to further his point natural areas are inherantly dangerous places. The Park Service does not have the responsability to identify, warn and protect all persons from all dangers. Would you want to visit Grand Canyon if they had handrails and signs warning of falls every six feet? Part of the attraction of Angels Landing is the challenge of topping. I doubt anyone who has gone there failed to recognize the danger involved. Park Managers have to make difficult decisions about how to make areas as safe as possible without detracting from the natural beauty. I think they typically err in the favor of safety which also increases their liability. Kudo to those who make the tough decicions.
On August 22nd, 2006, we were at the north rim of the Grand Canyon. We were stopped at the lookout point before Angel's Window. A young women had fallen about 1000 to her death and they had closed the road leading up to Angel's Window. From where we were we could look up and see the overhang of Angel's Window. We could see the rangers gathered up there looking down and about 30 minutes later a helicoper arrived. I am a little confused - we were at the north rim of the Grand Canyon, we had just driven 41 miles from Jacob's Lake. It was about 1pm in the afternoon. Did two ladies fall - one from Angel's Window in the Grand Canyon, one from Angel's Landing in Zions?
I was an interpretive ranger at Zion in 2000 and climbed Angels Landing only once. I had to do it in uniform so that I wouldn't chicken out and head back down (I could imagine children mocking me: "Mommy, mommy, look at the scared park ranger!"). So the entire time, I clug to the chains. There is risk involved, and I'll never do the climb again. However, people are at greater risk of heat exhaustion (one guy made the climb in 110 degree weather with only 12 ounces of water) and car accidents. By the way, it's "Zion" not "Zions." There is only one.
I just hiked Angel's Landing for my 47th birthday and it is an experience I would not wish to have missed. My husband and I are extremely athletic, (skydived, flying trapeze, bike racing, etc.) We knew of the death. I have never seen my husband more serious and cautious. At times we could not speak, we had to devote all our energy to concentrating on the trail. One thing we learned from the local guide was not to "hang" on the chain. It was important to be stable with footing and balance before proceeding and to use the chain as a back-up and a guide. I used the chain but did not NEED the chain. While on top there were young people from Australia and England. One young woman was in her socks going up and down at the very top which was at a downward slant on smooth rock surface. One guy was jumping up and down and running near the edge. I informed them that two weeks prior a woman had fallen to her death. They behaved differently after that. A sign at the entrance to the Angel's Landing hike stating how many deaths have occurred may help alert people to the dangers. I saw many people in tennis shoes, sandals, and not in hiking boots or shoes. Many did not look in great shape. Yet those who died were experience, a hiker, a boyscout, etc. Some people do not deal well with height even if experienced. But do not close it down. I would not have wanted to miss this experience. DD
I was recently at Zion and hiked up Angel's Landing. It is an amazing hike and view once you get to the top. I would do it again. I do not believe trails such as these should be shut off because of accidents. A close friend of mine died in a car accident recently. Were cars recalled? No. That would also mean we need to quit playing sports, riding in airplanes ... Bernadette may have been an experienced climber, but it only takes one factor - wind, lighting, water, footing - to cause an accident. I am sad to hear of situations like these. My best goes out to her friends and family.
I have hiked angel landing 3 times. Most recently around the first of August.I noticed the amount of work they have done on paving the trail. I wonder if people get the wrong idea of how dangerous this trail is at the top.It is my favorite trail. People need to be carfull.
I hiked Angel's Landing a few years ago in spite of my fairly significant dislike of heights and exposed climbs. I did it because I heard it was phenomenal (it is) and it looked like fun. While it is inherently dangerous and people should be made aware of this, it won't register with most of them. People don't think - that's just the way it is. Put a sign up if you want to (most people will ignore it) but don't close it down. You can't protect people from themselves - that's their job.
I'm sorry to hear that there was another fatality at angel's landing. I can't help but wonder if having those chains on the trail is really such a good idea. It seems to me they may be encouraging people to go up that should not be up there and giving them a false sense of security. They also detract from the wild beauty of the climb. I hiked the trail two weeks ago and I never touched the chains. For one thing I didn't trust them and preferred to rely on my own skill and balance to make the ascent. I didn't find it difficult at all but I am a person who knows his abilities and has faith in them. I believe the park service should remove the chains. I think that would eliminate the bulk of the people that shouldn't be up there in the first place. There are plenty of other safer hikes in the park where one can get a great view.
People are responsible for their own actions. If you're not, don't go. End of story.
Yes , I agree with Jeffrey that people are responsible for their own actions. If you are climbing Angel's Landing and using the chains and one of the pipes that anchor them to the rock pulls out and you fall to your death do you think the Forest Service is going to take responsibility for your accident? I doubt it. The park's policy is "use at your own risk". The decision whether or not to rely on the chains is no different than if you were rock climbing and there were existing bolts on the route. It's each individual's responsibility to check each anchor to judge if it's still usable. In the case of Angel's Landing, all the "safety" chains that someone installed there are not necessary to the hike, and to my mind are the same as having a rockclimbing route littered with a bunch of unnecessary bolts. They just deface the rock and degrade the experience of being out in nature. That's my personal opinion. What does everyone else think?
I just spent a phenomenal week in southern Utah. I attempted Angel's Landing on Saturday morning. I got beyond the first set of chains and at that point became terrified and wrestled through the decision to accept I simply did not have the mental fortitude to complete the hike. Today I saw photos of how much more exposed the hike becomes as one nears the top. It was then I gave myself credit for making it as far as "quitter's corner" (the large flat area before the first set of chains. Many people just cruised on by me and continued on to the top. I still cannot fathom the casual way in which many approached the last part of the hike. I had just collected myself, when a guy went strolling by on his way to the top with an infant well under 1 year on his back. It was then I lost it again. Angel's landing is an unbelievable place but is it really necessary to risk an infant's life. I realize we don't need more laws, however, it stuns me anyone would endanger the life of a child. I can not believe anyone would have to tell a parent hiking to the top of Angel's Landing with an infant is just plain unnecessary and unwise. It was the most intense moment I have had in a long time. I am so blessed to have had the experience even if I fell short of the summit. Thanks for all the insightful posts.
Lulu, I had to LOL at your story when I read "Quitters Corner". I had not heard that term -- sooooo appropriate!! A year ago my husband and I tried to finish the climb, and know very well the "wrestle" you had with not finishing the hike, and know even better the delimna associated with "Quitters Corner." After a year of accepting defeat at not finishing the climb and stopping at the "Corner," my husband and I just went last Saturday and finished the hike!!! IT WAS BEAUTIFUL and sooooo worth it. After our first attempt last year, and the shock at the sight of the cliffs, our second time didn't seem as scary. I think taking your time and being very cautious, you would be able to do it too. Part of me thinks that those first chains before the Corner, are probably, mentally, the worst. Good luck to all who try and Godspeed!!! ;-)
I started crying while on the chains and had to go back...slowly. Ithink I wore most of my fingernails off between the chains and the rock. I just had images of slipping and not having a chance to say goodby to my loved ones. I'll go back again but not sure if i'll get past the chains. It was a wonderful hike nonetheless.
I am the aunt of the husband who tragically lost his beautiful wife on Aug. 22nd, 2006 as she fell 1200 feet into the arms of her Savior. Her life, obviously, touched many that justify the "climb" up Angel's Landing. Please pray for her husband and family and friends.
reading the posts and having seen pics of the hike- should i be terrified- i have lots of experience ridge scrambling in uk- devils ridge, crib goch, anoch eagach etc- i get married in sept and we set ourselves the challenge of angels landing but now i'm not sure- it looks awesome-maybe too awesome?
Kingsley, I've been up Angel's Landing a couple times, once when my youngest son was about 8 or 9, and each time has been incredible. Yes, you have to be careful and clear-headed, but if you are somewhat comfortable with exposures (personally, I hate heights), the trek is not insurmountable. There are places where you can easily call a halt and turn around if things become uncomfortable, and I don't think anyone would think lesser of you.
I am rather afraid of heights. Would it be possible to run a rope from a climbing harness around the chain and back to the harness with a carabiner? Would that somehow disrupt things for other people?
I got the news today my brother and family were hiking this place and he and my neice walked ahead of the crowd they were with because they were going to slow..and all i know is he slipped on a rock or something and moumentim grabbed him as he started to fall and plummented or fell off..today is june the 8th and from the news i heard my brother who is a athletic man fell and they couldnt find his body for over 2 hours.. im so confused and sad.. we live in st louis mo and he was there for a wedding tomoorow sat and the family all were together.. and i hope he wasnt scared and wondered if he lost consciencness before he hit the ground my brother was 53 and a doctor. and his daughter from what i hear witnessed it all.
My good friend became the most recent casualty on Angels Landing. I am still in shock and mostly numb. After learning more about the trail, I was amazed at the number of accidents that have happened there. I am an avid outdoorsman although not a hiker. Are these statistics "common" among climbing trails in the western U.S.? What could be done to reduce these stats? He was a great man, will be missed by many, and always remembered.
My son had just turned 5 years old when I took him up Angels Landing. He ascended and descended the entire climb all by himself. I stayed close with a rope tied around my waist and attached to him, tied around his waist with bowline knots. We just chatted all the way up and all the way down. I remember and intense conversation about Star Wars on the way down. Was a hike I'll always remember. There are really only about 2-3 places on the whole hike where you can screw up enough to fall an kill yourself. I can hardly believe it ever happens at all?
I was with Mr. Goldstein when he fell this weekend. His daughter, brother-n-law, niece and son witnessed the whole thing along with me. His daughter unfortunately was the one who was right next to him and lunged forward after him to save him and missed. She is who I feel the most for. At any rate, Barry too was an experienced hiker and this particular hike to Angel's Crossing was his fourth. The only warning the park stresses to hikers is that it's "streneous". To me, it was horrific to witness an experienced hiker die like this, but even more to see hundreds of people go up on those trails with little water, tennis shoes, cameras dangling down....etc. I don't want the hike to be shut-down, however the park needs to advertise and communicate a little more on what this hike truly is: a deadly, narrow cliff where there are many opportunities for accidents that is for experienced/professional hikers only. And if you don't look prepared, that hikers are fined by the park. I hope the park is not keeping quiet about this hike knowing of it's popularity with Zion visitors and the possibility it might "hurt" profit.
I was planning on this hike with family next week. Because of the ages af my children, I think I will have to pass this time. I am so sorry for the loss of your loved ones. SP

The park should not allow anyone to go up Angel's Landing without the proper equipment (hiking boots, certain amount of water, etc.) There should be minimum standards set and met before going up. A park ranger should approve the ascent at a checkpoint after meeting such requirements. They should at least post a sign stating the equipment needed to make the climb and a picture of the shoes, etc. with a "X" marked through it.

I read where a parent took a 1 year up on his back. That should be outlawed and a person fined for endangering a minor. Really, no children under 16 should be allowed up. If they can't legally drive a car by themselves prior to that age, they most certainly have no business climbing something this dangerous. Why should we have laws and restrictions for Angel's Landing? To save people from their own arrogance and stupidity.

It's a shame people feel they need a thrill or adrenaline rush to "live life".

If you are planning to climb this landing in the future; make sure you have life insurance, your family may need it.

I fell terrible for this family - especially the daughter. I hate heights and exposures but I have hiked out to the end of Angel's Landing and several times during that hike I thought "I could turn around now" but I chose to continue. I also saw several people who did turn around or not attempt to hike all the way out. They didn't need someone to tell them to do that - they decided for themselves what they were comfortable doing and that's just what they did. I regularly hike with a guy who I call "Goat" (short for "mountain goat)" because he literally runs up and down and across exposures that I choose not to do. He is comfortable doing those things. Even when I see the ease and grace with which he traverses these areas, I still refuse to do it because I'm not comfortable with it.

I spend a lot of time in canyon country and frequently come upon exposed areas that make me uncomfortable. My solution? Turn back. I don't need the government telling me I shouldn't do it - I'm a big boy and I can decide that for myself.

Do you really think they should post a ranger at the bottom 24/7 to determine who should be allowed to pass? People should be accountable for themselves - I don't believe it is goverment's job to "save people from their own arrogance and stupidity".

As for taking a 1 year old up on someone's back: with the number of kids who are genuinely neglected/mistreated/abused in the U.S. today, I don't think we should devote too much time and resources to chasing down folks who take their children for a hike in a National Park so they can be charged with 'endangering a minor'.

At the grand canyon, they have signs warning people about the dangers of not having enough water with strapping athletic people who got into trouble and had to be rescued; likewise I think it would be effective if the zion rangers would put up some pictures of good hikers who got into trouble on the trail and posted it up there. Tragedies could be prevented a little more, hopefully.

5 of us went on the AL trail several years ago. 1 stopped at the beginning of the "danger zone". 2 of us (including me) stopped at the next "landing" and 2 others did the entire trail. The key is common sense and knowing yourself. we laugh at each other now, but there was no "peer pressure" (age 29 then) from the others that day. Every person needs to decide for themselves. beautiful country from any viewpoint.

My daughter & I hiked Angel's Landing 3 years ago--September 2005. She was not quite 11 at the time (very tall for her age, long legs). We read up on it first, including pics & videos, wore appropriate footwear, and approached the hike with respect & foresight. We didn't have any trouble. We hike regularly, but nothing as exposed as AL. She still talks about it at least once a month--it is a memory & accomplishment she'll have for a lifetime. You have to know yourself & whoever you are with; your strengths & weaknesses & respect your instincts. The most important trail advice is above--don't rely on the chains solely--have secure footing without holding on to them. They can be very dangerous--especially when someone in back of you grabs hold & "springs" the chain, making it bounce & fly around--if you are not sure of your footing, you could easily lose it there. In making the choice to take my daughter at her age; the biggest factor was that I knew that first, if she was too scared or unsure to go on, she would tell me; and second, that I knew she'd follow directions immediately (like STOP!) without any attitude or hesitation. Several kids in her Scout troop want me to take them when we go camping in Zion--NO WAY!! Because of those two factors--not sure which ones I could trust to behave. Good luck to anyone trying the hike--it is truly an experience to last a lifetime.

I went from Zion today. I thout it would be cool to hike up Angels Landing. But, on the bus they taked about the trail, and now I never want to go on angel landing hike. I have very good balance but i'm clumsy i have been ever sence I was little.
Hearing about all the people who died did not make me more scared, It made me sad but they knew the risk.
When i heard that some one took there baby up on the trail that made me mad. Who would put there kids, there baby in that risk. It sounds like to me theydon't care about there baby safty. There stupid but, it was there choose, stupid but it was up to them it is there kid and always will be.
I will never do that take my kid on that trail, and you who all that are reading this i hope you dont neather.
Remember be careful waer the right shoes, have every thing that you need, and lots and lots of water.

My 11 year old daughter & I ascended to Angel's Landing two days ago. It was an outstanding experience. My wife & I elected to leave our two 7 year old twins down in the valley and they hiked the Riverside trail. I think it's up to each individual to determine whether they can safely proceed on any given "adventure." We certainly don't need rangers to enforce the types of shoes to wear. What about all those people who choose to free-climb on some of the fantastic walls? I'd never do it, but if they wish to take the risk, know the consequences and feel they can handle it...more power to them! I've been on several back-country skiing trips in this country and elsewhere that have substantially more risk than hiking Angel's landing; it would be the end of outdoor adventure as we know it if there was a ranger at every trailhead dictating who was "fit and capable" of going ahead. It's sad when someone dies in an accidental fall, but those who've died did so doing something they enjoyed doing and did so of their own free will. We as a society need to stop worrying so much about having our government officials make sure we live long, and start living well.

Me and my wife just got back from Zion a few days ago and did Angels Landing for the 2nd time (we go every year). And it never ceases to amaze me how many people do Angels Landing in just plain casual tennis shoes, one small bottle of water, no food. I think most accidents that happen of people falling off, sorry to say, is their own fault. There is a lot of people that just don't have any common sense. We have hiked to the saddle back point and then got some rain and we go no further than that because the rock gets too slippery. Yet I've seen people hike it in the rain when the signs tell you not to. I think some people who go there have no experience, lack of common sense and goof off too close to the edge and then get hurt or worse. My number one advice to people who are going to do this hike is to WEAR PROPER SHOES!

Lulu,

Had to laugh at your name of "quitter's corner". My description of that area is that it is like going to the party and not dancing. Thus, in May 2008 I, at almost 61, make the trek all the way to the top. I was just a little over a year post intensive shoulder surgery and not so great of a knee, so I was most delighted when I was able to accomplish this adventure. I don't know that I will ever do it again, i.e. I lived to tell about it and that is my story. Other posters are right about keeping it open; however, the chains do provide a service and I think they should remain there. One girl had her camera fall over the ledge and, thus, lost all of her photos of having been at the top--felt so sorry for her. Some of the folks that died, were, in my opinion, probably not as careful as they should have been as they were experienced and figured that was enough. It was a slow and steady experience for me, i.e. no ridge running from this girl. Can't wait to go back (maybe Sep 09) and get in some of The Narrows this time around.

Wade,

I don't know if you have already gone to Zion or not, but in response to your question, the chains do not go all the way up the mountain. There are many times where you are left to figure a way to get up as there may be two options or so. So, a carabiner is out. If the chains went all the way, it would be a disruption for others. Realize that there are people coming down as you are trying to come up; however, most are very patient and will wait for you to come on up or you can wait for them to come down. As far as being afraid of heights, only you can make the decision of whether to go all the way. Good luck.

Jacqueline

This is a ridiculous discussion. Close down dangerous trails? Yes if there are too many crazy people killing themselves by mere oversized self-overestimation. That is a phenomenon I found so often in the US. People who do not know what they do think they can do everything. I found this also in US citizens in areas like Nepal. They think they just can challenge and press the good fortune. I think God loves the Americans since so amazing few accidents happen. For me as an experienced hiker and alpinist the angels landing trail is a trifling hike. Although for me it is an easy stroll, I always take care where it is necessary. But I am aware that so many people who do the hike do not really know what they are doing. But in this country everybody is free to walk wherever he wants. Right so, or do you want to close all places where one might fall down or be rammed by a car when crossing a parking lot?

This is a ridiculous discussion. Close down dangerous trails? Yes if there are too many crazy people killing themselves by mere oversized self-overestimation. That is a phenomenon I found so often in the US. People who do not know what they do think they can do everything. I found this also in US citizens in areas like Nepal. They think they just can challenge and press the good fortune. I think God loves the Americans since so amazing few accidents happen. For me as an experienced hiker and alpinist the angels landing trail is a trifling hike. Although for me it is an easy stroll, I always take care where it is necessary. But I am aware that so many people who do the hike do not really know what they are doing. But in this country everybody is free to walk wherever he wants. Right so, or do you want to close all places where one might fall down or be rammed by a car when crossing a parking lot?

I hiked Angel's Landing in Oct 2007. It was easily the most beautiful experience I've ever had in the outdoors. Much of the ascent (and the view from the summit) feels as if you're flying suspended in mid-air over Zion Canyon.

I'm an experienced hiker, in my mid-thirties, with a reasonable amount of trad rock-climbing experience, and little fear of heights. Even so, I have to admit that the view from quitter's corner (as someone here called it) gave me pause. In my opinion, Angel's Landing deserves to be treated more like a climb- this is a dangerous and hard hike, and deserves respect. If you're thinking of doing AL, here are some pointers:
- Go early in the day, wear a good pair of hiking boots, and carry at least 1-2 liters of water and a decent amount of food.
- Read up a little about climbing technique if you can- I found that my climbing experience came in handy, the chains I agree are somewhat of a crutch, and if you position your weight correctly they're often quite unnecessary.
- Focus on your breathing- most people panic when they're taking short breaths...
- Give yourself at least a couple of extra hours for the last half-mile. Mistakes happen when you're feeling rushed or tired.
- Work on the trail in short stretches, and try not to think too much.

As for myself, once I crossed the first really narrow constriction beyond quitter's corner (about ten or twenty feet into the trail), I stopped crouching, and stood up straight. From there on, the hike was pure exhilaration. I will never forget the light on that day, and the view from the top.

Hiked Angels Landing last Sunday, March 1st. Made it to the first set of chains. This is NOT an amusement park and I would question the intelligence of any parent taking a child under the age of 16 on this hike. Even at 16 I would want to make sure as to the maturity of the child involved. Even though I made it to only the first set of chains, there is enough excitement and danger in the hike to that point. Anyone making it up to Scouts lookout after Walters Wiggles has certainly accomplished something. For me it was the hike of a lifetime. I don't feel bad about not making it all the way. In fact, I am pleased that I made it as far as I did. I am 62 and have gone through 6 heart bypasses (at one time). If I can make it, anyone can, BUT exercise extreme caution. This is not expedition everest at disney. This is real.

I hiked up Angel's Landing with friends a couple of days ago.
It's a wonderful place and in those warm, dry, benign conditions, was really no more dangerous than many of the world's most beautiful spots. There were signs telling us that people have died there and I think it's down to the individual to decide if they're uncomfortable rather than legislating against personal freedom. I assume safety is why the park authority put the chains there in the first place.
I agree it'd be significantly more dangerous in ice, snow or darkness and this needs to be (and is) made clear.
However, even in bad conditions, a properly prepared hiker who takes it gently would not be at very high risk IMO.

No risk = no reward = a potentially rather unfulfilled life.

Don't get put off the hike to Scouts' landing by others!!

The majority of the hike is to 'Scout's Lookout'. Angel's landing is almost a separate section .

I've just re-read other posts and realised that some people (eg StudentPilot) are being put off visting this hike altogether because they don't realise that 80% of this hike is to get to Scout's Lookout.

It would be a crying shame to decide not to try the portion of this hike that is incredibly safe, very rewarding.. and provides much of the great views. I would feel very comfortable walking my children (3 and 1) to Scout's lookout.

that is the dumbest thing i've ever heard...mandatory safety? there are warnings all over. if one sticks to the chains they will stay safe. its usually the avid hikers that die because they think they are more experienced than they really are...thats when mistakes happen

I don't want to see anybody get hurt. It would be so easy to make angle's landing safe by making it mandatory for people to use a harness and having a cable that run the whole length. People could clip into the cable eliminating the risk of an accidental fall. The last thing i want to see is sombody fall while i am on vacation. The sad part about it is the trail is so well maintained and constucted all the way to angle's landing and then you get the last section that has chain lacking in certain spots. People get in situations they don't want to be in, accidents/slips can happen to anyone. I think the park system needs to keep people safety in mind. Alot of different options could be used to make the trail safe.

We made the trip to Zion in 99. My wife and the 2 boys(ages 18, one which was not ours) decided to hike AL. When we got to Scout's Lookout, we realized that we had quite a ways to go. Well, the 3 of them took off and I remained at SL. After about 5 minutes, I decided that I would follow them. WELL, with huge backpack and tri-pod in tow, I set out. The very first section leading up to the first set of chains is when I knew I'd made a mistake. All of a sudden panic set in. With all of the gear on, I found it very difficult to turn around. After finally getting turned around, I made my way back down. After getting composed, I looked up and here came my son back down. He had gotten frightened and turned back. So me and him both chickened out but both of us are hear today, although he's in Afghanistan with the Army.

Not sure how far the wife got and the other kid but I don't believe they made it all the way. Well, in 2002, me and my son went to Yosemite. We hiked Half Dome. I didn't even try to make it to the summit but my son tried. Same thing. He came back down. He said"Dad, when I started slidding backwards and I had to hold the chains, I knew it was time to go down".He didn't have hiking boots, but he's like me. Don't think we like heights, I know I don't.

Don't think the NPS should police the trails. Just do what me and my son did. TURN around and live to laugh and visit more parks.

My sincere compliments to deanhicks for his comments above!

Just do what me and my son did. TURN around and live to laugh and visit more parks.

Many people would have a much more enjoyable visit to parks if they followed his - and his son's - example, and simply called it a day when they realize they are outside their comfort zone, or venturing outside their level of skill or equipment.

If more people would take that approach, rangers would spend a lot less time on search and rescue missions - and body recoveries.

Back in the '60s and '70s, I spent time hunting and traveling with Eskimos and Koyukon Indians in northern Alaska. They were true experts when it came to dealing with the wilds. From them I leaned the importance of patience and common sense in dealing with nature. They rarely took unnecessary risks and were masters of "hunkering down" in the face of extreme environmental conditions. They couldn't understand why White people seemed so determined to keep a schedule or felt they had to prove something by pushing their luck in the wilds. The idea of "man against nature" was silly, because they considered themselves part of nature.

Ray -

Excellent perspective!

We "chickened out" at the chains, but found a much, much better and far safer view at Observation Point. Glad we turned around and enjoyed the day!