Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Another Half Dome death - Saturday, June 13, 2009


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Larry Sullivan
(150mph) - F

Locale: Los Angeles
Another Half Dome death - Saturday, June 13, 2009 on 06/15/2009 02:47:18 MDT Print View

Yosemite this weekend. My camp mates saw it happen. Here's the story I wrote on my hiking site:


http://planetrambler.com/150mph/news/_accidentonhalfdome.html

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Another Half Dome death - Saturday, June 13, 2009 on 06/15/2009 03:13:06 MDT Print View

Scary stuff. It seems like they could do with a simple harness and clip-in system. If losing your grip means falling to your death then it seems pretty dumb that non-climbers are allowed to go up and down in wet conditions without any safety device. I might be jumping to conclusions there though. Does anyone clip themselves onto the cable?

Nate Meinzer
(Rezniem) - F

Locale: San Francisco
Half Dome Death on 06/15/2009 03:16:59 MDT Print View

Here's the news link:

http://www.modbee.com/local/story/744397.html

His name was Manoj Kumar, from San Ramon.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: Another Half Dome death - Saturday, June 13, 2009 on 06/15/2009 03:20:12 MDT Print View

> It seems like they could do with a simple harness and clip-in system.

Yup. Slows things down, but as my dad always says;

"Better ten minutes late in this life, than 40 years early in the next..."

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Another Half Dome death - Saturday, June 13, 2009 on 06/15/2009 07:51:46 MDT Print View

That is a sad story, very unfortunate for that to happen, I think it speaks a lot to the safety that we all must take when outdoors, whether it is a trail run or extended backpacking trip.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Another Half Dome death - Saturday, June 13, 2009 on 06/15/2009 08:01:49 MDT Print View

"Better ten minutes late in this life, than 40 years early in the next..."

I like that.
It lends a good bit of perspective.

A wise man, your Dad.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Another Half Dome death - Saturday, June 13, 2009 on 06/15/2009 08:05:23 MDT Print View

The last death in June too. Maybe it should be closed until later in the summer?

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Re: Another Half Dome death - Saturday, June 13, 2009 on 06/15/2009 08:21:58 MDT Print View

I was about 12 miles away on the trail to Vogelsang High Sierra Camp. I heard a helicopter going overhead (couldn't see it, the sky was so low at the time) and knew something bad must have happened somewhere in the park.

It was definitely not a great day to be going up Half Dome. It should go without saying that this man's death is awful and something that could've happened to anyone who has made a bad decision in their lives.

But, if the park estimates of 50,000 people a year scaling Half Dome are accurate, that means 100,000 people did it w/o dying between the last death and this one. That's a pretty good success rate.

As dangerous as it seems, and by the looks of some of the people who attempt it, are the cables a case of the NPS making something too easy for people, and as a result, putting people's lives in danger? Should something like Half Dome only be accesible to people who have the requisite climbing skills?

I also thought of this when I saw the sign at the Half Dome TH about people breaking up trees on HD for firewood, pooping and not packing it out, etc.

If you make things too easy, people don't appreciate them and don't always treat them with respect.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Re: Another Half Dome death - Saturday, June 13, 2009 on 06/15/2009 09:49:12 MDT Print View

Very sad indeed.

I did Half Dome a few years ago, and could not help but think that it is an accident waiting to happen. The people that I see heading up the trail to Half Dome especially scare me. Most are unprepared for an outing in the Sierra's. A small water bottle for hydration, no jacket, no food, sun protection, etc. I understand the allure of hiking Half Dome but some thought should be taken as to the precautions involved in undertaking a difficult hike.

george carr
(hammer-one) - F

Locale: Walking With The Son
Re: Another Half Dome death - Saturday, June 13, 2009 on 06/15/2009 15:06:32 MDT Print View

Sorry for my ignorance, I've never climbeed Half Dome, but is this picture the spot your talking about:

half dome

I hijacked this pic from another thread here, and only just noticed exactly how serious this climb is. Tragic.

I agree that maybe this appears to be just a little to accessable to inexperienced climbers. Having never been there I might just be blathering on about a moot point.

I don't want to be exclusionary, but how do you protect foolish people from themselves without imposing restrictions on all users?

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Still Another Half Dome fall (not a death) - June 6, 2009 on 06/15/2009 15:16:10 MDT Print View

See http://www.hikehalfdome.com/blog.html/1500

I heard about it via http://thegoat.backcountry.com/2009/06/15/another-hiker-tumbles-at-half-dome/

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Another Half Dome death - Saturday, June 13, 2009 on 06/15/2009 15:29:08 MDT Print View

George, those are the cables. It is not as steep as it looks from the picture. Though without cables and the wooden slats it would be pretty tough to climb without climbing gear.

Alot of folks do this hike and alot of them are not too well equiped.

I had a friend do the hike that same day and he is not too experienced nor I think was his group. They turned around and went back. Smart move on their part that day. I heard that the Rangers were leading others down off of Half Dome. The weather has been pretty strange in California this month and I am sure that the Sierra's are having some rather intersting weather too. This is the time of year for Thunder Storms up there.

Edited by kennyhel77 on 06/15/2009 15:40:46 MDT.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Still Another Half Dome fall (not a death) - June 6, 2009 on 06/15/2009 15:38:13 MDT Print View

Roleigh after reading your two links, it sounds like hikers were pretty defiant towards the weather in an attempt to summit. One can understand wanting to summit Half Dome or any mountain. The problem is, most that are climbing it are not prepared both in experience and being properly outfitted.

Barbara K
(Barbara)

Locale: So Cal
belays on the cables on 06/15/2009 15:47:11 MDT Print View

I hiked it the day after the person fell in 2007. Almost the same weekend to the day. On the advice of some climber friends, I changed into (rented) climbing shoes and also set up a rope round my waist with a second rope looped thru it (I'm sure there's a name for this, ha) and both ends of that clipped to the cable. Yes it takes longer cos you have to unclip and reclip as you go past each upright. Because I had 2 ropes clipped, there was always one clipped on at any time. If I fell, I'd fall a few feet only.

I saw no-one else doing this but many thought it was a good idea and someone borrowed it to sue after I got down. The rock was dry, but still slippery. Gloves with good grips are a must. I came back down facing forward (as told) til i started to slip, then I faced in towards the rockface for the rest of the way. The railroad tie "steps" are a vital resting place, - I found my arms got more tired than my legs - they do a lot of work. I'm sure it is incredibly slippery when wet. I've heard people say that the cables would never be put up "nowadays". There are numerous signs warning not to ascend if clouds present....it's very sad.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Still Another Half Dome fall (not a death) - June 6, 2009 on 06/15/2009 15:53:16 MDT Print View

Here is a blog written by a friend of my friend that was up there that day. Again, they are not experienced hikers.


http://davidgoad.wordpress.com/

Jesse H.
(tacedeous) - MLife

Locale: East Bay, CA
sad :( on 06/15/2009 16:10:25 MDT Print View

My mom told me about this when i was driving back from a whitewater rafting trip... im currently planing a trip up half dome in august, I had thought about tethering myself, in all honesty, i had nixed the idea.. BECAUSE OF WEIGHT!, d*mn my UL obsession... definitely tethering myself... call me a pansie if you want (friends already have, lol) but as stated about swimming in the ocean, as a surfer, i know about taking proper precaution... dont let your pride get in front of returning home to tell the tale...

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Re: Re: Another Half Dome death - Saturday, June 13, 2009 on 06/15/2009 16:19:48 MDT Print View

A friend of mine skiied down that face quite a few years
ago then returned to film another fellow snowboard it.

Don't close everything down.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Re: Another Half Dome death - Saturday, June 13, 2009 on 06/15/2009 16:47:42 MDT Print View

My nephew climbed that when he was four years old. It scared the bejeevies out of me when I climbed it, and I was an experienced rock climber at the time (prolly why it scared me...I don't like going up something like that without being tied in). I think what happened was just an accident, as already pointed out, 2 deaths out of 100,000 ascents is really not that bad. I wonder if more people die driving to get to the valley??? Still pretty horrendous for those that have to watch, and the bereaved family and friends.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Another Half Dome death - Saturday, June 13, 2009 on 06/15/2009 17:55:35 MDT Print View

A few simple safety measures like clipping in is all it needs. I really hate it when the authorities go too far in trying to protect us, and end up spoiling the natural beauty of the spot. I'm sure a lot of folks here would agree with that. I think it's awesome that you can do this sort of thing without needing to be a climber. The fact that they would never set up something like this 'nowadays' is pretty sad, but true.

george carr
(hammer-one) - F

Locale: Walking With The Son
Don't close everything down on 06/15/2009 18:59:08 MDT Print View

David,

I agree 100% that these things shouldn't be closed down. It was more like me wondering out loud how to prevent this sort of thing from happening, when the reality is you can't protect the people from themselves. I just wonder how well informed the non climbing/hiking tourist about the dangers that are present. The problem is if you have too many of these types of incidents (regardless of fault), something will be done, maybe to the detriment of recreation and the outdoor community at large. Two deaths in 100,000 visits doesn't sound like a big number, but what is the number that sets somebody's alarm bells ringing to close or limit access to a trail or a peak? I guess what I am advocating is more/better education to users of these areas, to better preserve them. Unfortunately the price of freedom is never free.