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Sad, another person swept over a Yosemite falls
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Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Sad, another person swept over a Yosemite falls on 06/02/2013 15:52:14 MDT Print View

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Sad, another person swept over a Yosemite falls on 06/02/2013 18:12:48 MDT Print View

Yeah, very sad. Every year the same set of falls claims a crop. Very high trail density there, and apparently added percentage of clueless folks. Maybe if they renamed Nevada Falls "Yahoos End" it might help. Meh... probably not. :-(

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Sad, another person swept over a Yosemite falls on 06/02/2013 18:24:24 MDT Print View

The article lists signage warning of danger. Does anyone know what the signs actually read? I would imagine listing the number of deaths the previous few years would be a pretty good deterrent to swimming.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Signs on 06/02/2013 18:54:27 MDT Print View

They are VERY clear about the danger. Anyone that goes into the water is just plain ignoring the signs. You would think that there would be increased caution given the history but that doesn't seem to be the case. Though I suspect that if we think back to when we were that age, caution was the last thought.

Mike Stromsoe
(phstudio) - F

Locale: So. Cal.
Warning on 06/02/2013 18:59:19 MDT Print View


Seems pretty clear to me. Especially the you will die part.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Darwin Falls? on 06/02/2013 20:06:11 MDT Print View

Check out this video-- made me wince:
This is on the edge of Victoria Falls. There are a bunch of waterfall danger videos on YouTube.

I'm sad for the young victim and his family. 600 feet is a long drop. I don't know what people think about sometimes.

A couple weeks ago I was with friends at Fort Worden State Park, an old artillery battery site at Port Townsend, WA. We have friends who live nearby and I walked though the park and out to one of the batteries that is by 100 or so bluff dropping straight into Admiralty Inlet. The bluff had eroded, and as I walked up to the edge, I found myself standing on sod and not much else-- the edge was undercut a couple feet. I emailed the park manager regarding the danger and cc'd a local TV station. The news team sent out a helicopter and met up with the park team as they were building a new fence the next morning. Evidently they had previously put up a folding barricade and some yellow caution tape. The barricade was found on the beach and the assumption is that some nitwit threw it off the bluff. They have lost a couple dogs over the bluffs and had to rescue one dog owner when tried to retrieve their dog without gear or help. The Rhody Run was in full swing that morning with thousands of people in the park. Any kid could have walked up to the same edge and gone straight down.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Re Darwin Falls on 06/02/2013 20:34:55 MDT Print View

Dale smart idea getting the local media in on it. I never would have thought of that but hey its a public hazard, might as well get the word out.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Power of the Press on 06/02/2013 21:56:14 MDT Print View

If you want to "motivate" a public servant, just cc your local TV news team. Nothing like getting caught with your administrative pants down on television.

Between the email exchange and the new article, the issue with the new erosion wasn't news to the park manager. The comment that they had to take the park personnel off of other tasks to build the fence set me back a bit. What is more important than public safety?

Here is a photo of the bluffs in 1932. It's all 15,000 year old compressed glacial till-- layers of clay and gravel. The gravel ducts water and the clay slides off the top. It happens a lot around Puget Sound. I have a back yard full of the stuff :) The arrow is mine, showing the bluff in question:
Fort Worden bluffs,1932

To the credit of the park staff, they have had their budgets totally chopped are really are trying to do the impossible with nothing at all. The Forest Service is in the same (leaky) boat. I wonder how many trails can be repaired for the cost of one drone and ammo?

I have digressed: point in this thread is that the public can thwart the efforts of park officials as well as the park visitors not using good common sense. Roll that window down and let a grizzly stick his head in your car!

I forgot to mention that the park was the set for the military base in "An officer and a Gentleman."

Edited by dwambaugh on 06/02/2013 21:58:03 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Darwin Falls? on 06/02/2013 22:05:58 MDT Print View

Dale, the African men in that video are guides who know exactly where to stand without being swept over. There is a rock shelf right at the edge blocking anyone from going over. It looks super dangerous, but it's probably not.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Re: Darwin Falls? on 06/02/2013 23:15:54 MDT Print View

Its good there was a sign like the one pictured above, but I would think fast running powerful water below me, leading to a shoot, leading to and going over a giant cliff should kinda make a point all its own. "All it would take is one slip" (the brain should say to itself, in *any* language) "and whee...last super slide ever".

There is actually an analogous kill-zone that unfortunately does the same kind of business (though fortunately not as much) in Sequoia NP. From below and from a distance it looks very Rivendell-esque, kinda like a several mile long 45 degree incline coming like a narrow ribbon out of the high sierra peaks in the distance. Up close it is not nearly so smooth. Added to the 45 degree angle of the "slide" itself there is a kind of V with glacially polished granite up to a hundred yards or so on either side. It all looks so mild and peaceful, and in spite of the signs every year people get captivated, wander too close to the V, slip and slide down into the sluice, and find out the hard way it isn't like a smooth water slide at all up close. There are always a few each year that die, in spite of the fact it has been going on since forever, apparently.

Edited by millonas on 06/02/2013 23:27:51 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Darwin Falls? on 06/02/2013 23:31:43 MDT Print View

"Dale, the African men in that video are guides who know exactly where to stand without being swept over. There is a rock shelf right at the edge blocking anyone from going over. It looks super dangerous, but it's probably not."

There is no way that a responsible person would attempt such a thing. There are other videos from the same falls that show some ropes being used too. It is exactly the same mindset that got that young man killed. Tell his mother it is okay to do such things--- I DARE you.

If you want to take risks, do it helping the poor and the sick, be a fireman, or go clear some minefields. I met a doctor who saved a Colombian village from a form of hemorrhagic fever and he contracted it himself in the process. He survived of course, and there are now generations of people living to attest to his courage. THAT is risk taking to aspire to. It is the height of foolishness to waste a life for no purpose other than cheap entertainment.

Edited by dwambaugh on 06/02/2013 23:32:16 MDT.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Darwin Falls? on 06/02/2013 23:34:57 MDT Print View

Dale, +1. But lets try to convince them to stop being Jackasses first. One step at a time.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Darwin Falls? on 06/03/2013 00:00:05 MDT Print View

"Dale, +1. But lets try to convince them to stop being Jackasses first. One step at a time."

They just announced on the news that a hiker was killed jumping into Punchbowl Falls in Oregon ( Three young men thought it would be a good idea to jump in. One got out, one was rescued, one died.

Edited by dwambaugh on 06/03/2013 00:07:26 MDT.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Darwin Falls on 06/03/2013 04:38:13 MDT Print View

Given the number of visitors to Nevada falls it is inevitable that some will die there. I think the signage is adequate and people are, and should be, responsible for their own taking of risks there and elsewhere.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Darwin Falls on 06/03/2013 10:14:11 MDT Print View

Here's a link to the news report of the death at Punchbowl Falls in the Columbia Gorge. This is along the Eagle Creek Trail. Like Yosemite, the posted warning sign did not stop these young men.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Sad, another person swept over a Yosemite falls" on 06/03/2013 10:35:22 MDT Print View

Having read the book, "Death in Yosemite" (an entire section of which covers people who go over the falls) the one thing I think visitors don't realize is how slippery the rocks are there. In Alaska, where I live, generally it's safe to cross rivers if they are low and slow, because the footing on the rocks themselves is pretty good. Not so in Yosemite. People have slipped in 6" of water and been swept hundreds of feet downstream until they go over the falls in Yosemite. They simply can't get stopped. Would-be rescuers are often also injured or killed in their attempts to help.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
risks on 06/03/2013 10:38:03 MDT Print View

if people want to take risks thats their choice .... same if they want to die

just dont take other people out with em

in rock climbing you take major risks all the time ... you just choose which ones to take .... if you dont youll never climb anything bigger than a small crag


Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Natural Selection at work on 06/03/2013 12:04:34 MDT Print View

The Merced River is cold and swift, especially as it approaches the falls. (For swimming, go all the way to Little Yosemite Valley and get in where the river flows slowly and into deep pools.)

Add to that it is flowing over glacial-smoothed granite.

Add to that the extreme slickness of said granite due to the growth of algae (aka Veriglass) on its surface. It is easy to fall and almost impossible to get a grip on anything when you do....and the current is there to sweep you over the falls.

There is a very inviting pool between the footbridge over the river and the edge of the falls. It looks like a large kid's wading pool. It is anything but. That's why the Park Service has fences, cables, and warning signs there. I have seen folks standing at the very edge of the granite cliff, just to one side or the other of the falls itself, leaning out and over to take photos.

Maybe the Park needs to station a ranger there 24/7/365 to hand out citations (and Darwin signs).

Edited by wandering_bob on 06/03/2013 12:07:34 MDT.

Mike Stromsoe
(phstudio) - F

Locale: So. Cal.
Nevada falls video on 06/03/2013 13:35:32 MDT Print View

Here is a well shot video of the Nevada Falls for those who haven't been there:

It was shot in June of 2011, the year of the the insane snowpack. I was there in early August of that year and I don't remember a flow like this. You can see in the video the probable location where the young man entered the river. Even with the insane flow, the pool looks relatively calm.

Tipi Walter
(TipiWalter) - F
Falling on 06/04/2013 21:20:24 MDT Print View

I strongly assume there's a direct correlation between ease of road access and falling deaths, whether in Yosemite or elsewhere. Solution? Close the roads.

Edited by TipiWalter on 06/04/2013 22:00:32 MDT.