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Half Dome Hiker Falls to His Death in Yosemite

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A male hiker fell to his death from Half Dome on Saturday afternoon at about 3:40 p.m.

The victim, whose name has not been released, had apparently been using the cable handrails.
Weather conditions were poor at the time of the accident, with rain and hail having made the granite dangerously slippery.

Other climbers witnessed the accident. Afterward, rangers helped more than two dozen other Half Dome hikers descend to safety.

Like the Angels Landing climb at Zion National Park, Yosemite’s Half Dome cable handrail climb has attracted a good deal of attention because of its high risk factor and occasional fatal accidents. The last fatality at Half Dome occurred two years ago this month when a Japanese hiker slipped and fell from the cable handrails.

The vast majority of the 50,000 or so people who hike the Half Dome Trail each year negotiate it safely. However, accidents like the one that happened yesterday underscore the fact that poor weather and other factors can make the cable handrail climb lethally dangerous.

Comments

Half Dome now has implemented a permit limiting 300 permits and 100 (wilderness permits) for Friday, Saturday and Sundays. They go quick so get them early.


I just hiked Half Dome this past weekend and it's my second time. Both times I'm SHOCKED at the lack of respect for this rock. It's a sheer, smoothed piece of granite that we're climbing only because we can pull our weight up by the cables and the little wood step that's given to us. I just witnessed a father take 2 of his sons up around 12 years. One of them was mentally challenged and had difficulties climbing up. This started a huge traffic jam. I rested on each step for over 1 minute to 5 minutes waiting to go forward. My arms were killing me. Some people were starting to just turn around in the middle of their climb because of the traffic jam caused by the father and son. On the way down, it took even longer as I got caught behind the father and son. The mentally challenged son couldn't move and the father had to coax the son and help him on each step. It was sooooo painful to watch because I was thinking I would never put my children in this kind of danger. I also saw people climbing this with moccasins, bare feet, and flip flops. I've done it twice and I'm still amazed at how people don't realize how difficult it is climbing this granite even in top form. I understand that even if you're prepared with correct equipment and shoes, tragedy happens, which is why I'm still amazed at the lack of respect for this climb.


I did Half Dome about 6 years ago at the age of 47. I would only comment that from the bottom of the cables, you do not realize that what you can see at the bottom is only half of the ascent and that it gets much steeper as you go along. I think this misleads some people. The only warning sign is about the weather. I think a sign stating how many have fallen to their deaths since a certain date in time might at least jolt a few parents that this is no place for young children. A warning that better than average arm strength will be required might help as well. By all means, do NOT take down the cables. I consider that hike one of the top thrills of my life and I'm sure I'm not the only one. People should be allowed to assess the risk and proceed at their own risk.


The NPS folks do a GREAT JOB! The problem is that there has been an increase in individual stupidity, lack of hike preparation, and inability to recognize personal safety concerns.


GEAR? TO the individual that made the ... comment about safety gear. Are you nuts? I did half dome and insisted on my wife as well as I wear a harness and biner. Don't be fooled, this gear may save my life or others around me if I happen to catch a climber falling. (Ed. note: this comment has been edited slightly.)


There are several warnings on the trail to the top of half dome which inform hikers not to attempt to summit if there are any clouds on the horizon. The mountains have their own weather system, anyone who works in Yosemite Valley or lives there (such as professional rock climbers who scale the face of El Capitan and Half Dome routinely) knows how quickly the weather changes up there. A lot of the people who are attempting to hike to the top aren't completely prepared or aware of the dangers, that is why the signs are there. If you start at sunrise (which is recommended), you eliminate the bottle-neck on the cables - especially if you arrive before LUNCH TIME. There are a lot of people who have NO BUSINESS on those cables, endangering the lives of others - because they are AFRAID OF HEIGHTS and scared to MOVE UP OR DOWN. This weekend one guy was laying across the cables & wood plancks near the top, which stopped all movement on the cables for over 15 minutes. On the way down, a young girl who was "scared of heights" was attempting to slide down on her butt while her mom encouraged her. RIDICULOUS


after reading all of the above comments i am surprised that i have been able to take and use something from each and everyone of you.
it seems to me that caution is of the utmost importance. you can only rely on one's self, not the person in front or in back of you or what they are or are not doing. it all rests on you for you.
harness or not each and every one of use knows what we can do.
you all went up there to become part of that rock to feel the on top of the world rush, the rock is not the problem here it is us, SOOOOOOO all of you who go up there think, think, think, common sense.


I was there too he was wearing right gloves and was not playing with his life. Please dont comment on something that you dont know.


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