rlown wrote:the news tonight said it was an accident. Also said 17 for the total this year...Yosemite.
Found on Backpacker forum:
Death on the NW Face of Half Dome
by howie doin'
Tuesday August 23, 2011 8:05pm
My friend Jed and I went to go climb the Regular NW Face yesterday and today. For those interested, the spring is still running and the fixed lines on the death slabs are in decent shape. Yesterday we approached and fixed the first pitch for fun. There were no other parties there or up on the wall. We sat down to make dinner and discussed how excited we were to be in such a beautiful place by ourselves, gunning for a classic Yosemite route.
Then around 7pm we had an unwelcome visitor drop in. It started with loud shouting from high above, then turned into numerous, short, high-pitched screams. After we figured out that it was not likely to hit us, we were able to see a human form. Arms and legs flailing out of control, body twisting and turning in the air. The sound of a human body freefalling down a 2000 foot face is like the sound of a commercial jet near landing. After what seemed like a very long 5-6 seconds the body collided with the lower face about 300 feet from our vantage point and literally exploded. The pieces came to rest in the bushes downslope of the central bivouac site.
We called in the emergency and then tried to contemplate what we had just witnessed. After a fitful night sleep and some vivid dreams, we awoke at 4:30am and decided that we had definitely lost our mojo for the climb. We assisted the SAR crew who came to clean up and hiked up to the Subdome where we met with a Park special agent. The cables were closed and the rangers had been there overnight. The investigation as of this morning was inconclusive, but it was suspected as a suicide. We hiked down the Mist Trail. This was a surreal and crazy Yosemite experience for a couple of Eastside Sierra climbers.
The clean up at the base by SAR was likely very thorough, but the body impacted very close to the Direct Northwest Face route, approximately 2-3 pitches up. Use caution as I would not be surprised if some remains are found on this route for a while.