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Yosemite hiker dies in fall from Half Dome

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Yosemite hiker dies in fall from Half Dome

Postby copeg » Sun Jun 14, 2009 9:12 am

From the San Francisco Chronicle
Yosemite hiker dies in fall from Half Dome

Jaxon Van Derbeken, Chronicle Staff Writer
Sunday, June 14, 2009
As many as 30 horrified onlookers saw a male hiker plunge hundreds of feet to his death Saturday as he was climbing Yosemite's world-famous Half Dome, park rangers said.

The man, who was not identified pending notification of relatives, fell at 3:40 p.m. as he climbed the granite edifice in the midst of a hail storm. The hiker fell to a shoulder of the dome about 1,800 feet from the top.

It's not known whether he was climbing alone or in a group.

Park Ranger Kari Cobb said the 30 witnesses were escorted down after the man fell and were being interviewed about what happened in an investigation expected to take weeks.

Cobb said is not known whether the man was climbing the 400-feet cabled handrails up the back to reach the top of the monolith at the time he fell or had reached the 8,842-foot summit.

The hiker's body is expected to be removed sometime today by authorities, who were working to notify his family.

"It had been raining and hailing," Cobb said. "We are not sure if he was actually on the cables or somewhere on the dome and slipped." Cobb noted that the base where the cables start have signs stating the risks of using the handrails in bad weather.

"We do have warnings posted at the base, saying if it is raining we advise not to go up. We can only do so much."

Ranger Scott Gediman said that on average, 50,000 hikers annually use the cable handrails to climb Half Dome. The last fatal plunge from Half Dome occurred on June 16, 2007, when Hirofumi Nohara, a 37-year-old Japanese citizen, lost his footing three-quarters of the way up the summit cables, slid off the side of Half Dome and tumbled 300 feet to a ledge.



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Re: Yosemite hiker dies in fall from Half Dome

Postby ERIC » Sun Jun 14, 2009 8:18 pm

Yosemite identifies hiker who fell to his death

The Associated Press
Posted: 06/14/2009 05:35:51 PM PDT
Updated: 06/14/2009 05:35:51 PM PDT


YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif.—Park rangers have identified the man who fell to his death while hiking on Yosemite's Half Dome as 40-year-old Manoj Kumar.

Yosemite National Park Ranger Kari Cobb says Kumar, who fell to his death Saturday, is from San Ramon in Contra Costa County.

Cobb says Kumar was using the cabled hand rails on his descent when he slipped and fell 100 feet as other hikers looked on. Rain and hail had made the face of the granite monolith slippery.

Rangers spent the evening helping evacuate 41 other hikers from the summit and cables.

The park is investigating the cause of Kumar's fall.
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Re: Yosemite hiker dies in fall from Half Dome

Postby rightstar76 » Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:15 am

There will always be people who push themselves to their limits (and beyond). He paid the full price for going in bad weather.
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Re: Yosemite hiker dies in fall from Half Dome

Postby fishmonger » Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:39 am

I find it strange that folks don't bring a pair if carabiners and a small harness to clip into the cables, especially when conditions are sketchy. In Europe, you don't go on a "Klettersteig" without this basic setup. Must be peer pressure or the simple lack of suggestion that this may be a good idea on this trail.

We used carabiners in each year we went up there back in the 80s and then sent them home from Tuolumne Meadows Post Office. A pound well spent.

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Re: Yosemite hiker dies in fall from Half Dome

Postby The Other Tom » Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:34 am

fishmonger wrote:I find it strange that folks don't bring a pair if carabiners and a small harness to clip into the cables, especially when conditions are sketchy. In Europe, you don't go on a "Klettersteig" without this basic setup. Must be peer pressure or the simple lack of suggestion that this may be a good idea on this trail.

We used carabiners in each year we went up there back in the 80s and then sent them home from Tuolumne Meadows Post Office. A pound well spent.


I thought of that the first time I climed Half Dome (2002 ?) I asked a guy who had done it before and he said it might impede the hikers coming down , or those behind you. I didn't do it but when i got on the cables I wished I had.
By the way, I guess your photo was taken when you could camp on top ? Otherwise, why the big pack.
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Re: Yosemite hiker dies in fall from Half Dome

Postby fishmonger » Mon Jun 15, 2009 12:02 pm

The Other Tom wrote:I thought of that the first time I climed Half Dome (2002 ?) I asked a guy who had done it before and he said it might impede the hikers coming down , or those behind you. I didn't do it but when i got on the cables I wished I had.
By the way, I guess your photo was taken when you could camp on top ? Otherwise, why the big pack.


1989, got to the top just after sunset.

I don't care if I impede anyone - if they wanna die, let them go around the outside (seen enough idiots do the "granite glissade" along the south side of the cables, trying to impress girl friends and what have you. Darwin comes to mind...
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Re: Yosemite hiker dies in fall from Half Dome

Postby Rosabella » Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:13 pm

I've gone down the outside of the cables a few times. The wooden slats extend beyond the support poles so there is still the foot rest. When Half Dome is busy the faster hikers are already passing the slower hikers that are going up the cables. You can't have both cables going down.

If a person is going down in an unsafe manner, I doubt that it's going to make that much difference what side of the poles they're on.
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Re: Yosemite hiker dies in fall from Half Dome

Postby maverick » Mon Jun 15, 2009 2:24 pm

What it comes down to is that if there is a thunderstorm some where in the vicinity
you should not be going up, period.
Coming down while it is raining is bad enough, but even worse when it is hailing, it
is like skating down a 60 degree slope, suicide.
People will do what they want to do without understanding/caring about the risks
involved, I am sorry he had to loose his life.
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Re: Yosemite hiker dies in fall from Half Dome

Postby fishmonger » Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:55 pm

Rosabella wrote:I've gone down the outside of the cables a few times. The wooden slats extend beyond the support poles so there is still the foot rest. When Half Dome is busy the faster hikers are already passing the slower hikers that are going up the cables. You can't have both cables going down.


outside the cables is one thing - completely free of them, about 10 feet over to the side is what I was refering to, and I have seen a lot of that.

The carabiners are on one side of the cables - there's nothing holding up anyone from passing or moving past you in the opposite direction.
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Re: Yosemite hiker dies in fall from Half Dome

Postby ERIC » Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:15 pm

ERIC wrote:Yosemite Employee Falls From Cliff Face



YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA - An employee at Yosemite National Park was found dead Monday afternoon by park rangers.

The park service reported in a news release that Christopher Hale, 23, of Gainesville, Florida hadn't been seen since Sunday morning.

It is believed that he had been climbing a cliff face near Mirror Lake in eastern Yosemite Valley.

Hale was an employee of DNC Parks and Resorts at Yosemite, Inc. which is the park's primary concessionaire.

This is the second fatal fall at the park in the last three days.

On Saturday Manoj Kumar, 40, of San Ramon in Contra Costa County fell to his death while hiking on Yosemite's Half Dome, according to Park rangers.

Cobb said Kumar was using the cabled hand rails on his descent when he slipped and fell 100 feet as other hikers looked on. Rain and hail had made the face of the granite monolith slippery,
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Re: Yosemite hiker dies in fall from Half Dome

Postby Rosabella » Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:45 am

fishmonger wrote:outside the cables is one thing - completely free of them, about 10 feet over to the side is what I was refering to, and I have seen a lot of that.


Wow... I can't imagine going down Half Dome without at least ONE cable, even in perfect weather. That's crazy!

... then I remembered the first time I went up Half Dome - there was a younger man who started heading up when we did, and he was also the distance from the cables that you described. He was obviously is great shape - he was practically running up the side, but it made me really nervous. If he would have had a miss-step, he would have been another statistic. I didn't see if he did the same coming down.
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Re: Yosemite hiker dies in fall from Half Dome

Postby Skibum » Tue Jun 16, 2009 10:22 am

Last time I climbed up the cables it was a so congested I did go up and down the outside of the cables. I definitly clipped in with a short lenth of rope.
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