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Re: Fatality on the Cables

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avatar Fatality on the Cables
June 17, 2007 08:46PM
Not verified, and if it's true it would be the first fatality on the Cables I've ever heard of...this person who posted on http://www.whitneyportalstore.com was there, here is her report:

I have been searching the internet and watching the news, and I can't understand why I have found no news reports of this incident. Right now, if I hadn't actually seen it, I don't know if I'd believe it happened.

Last Saturday, June 16, 2007, I was in the process of climbing Half Dome, along with several hundred other people, when we witnessed a man slide from the top of the cables down the left side. My party's vantage point was at the very beginning of the cables. He tried to stop on a small ledge on the way, but flipped when he hit it. Then he was completely out of control, flying through the air. Some people started running towards the edge of the saddle, but he was out of sight before they got there and I don't think they could have gotten anywhere close enough to him to help anyway. Someone in the group climbed down the side and found him on a ledge below the saddle between Half Dome and Quarter Dome.

There were a couple of people in the crowd with medical experience who climbed down and tried to help him. They reported that he had broken both legs but had a pulse and was breathing. It wasn't long before they asked if anyone had a CPR mask. In the meanwhile, the Rangers were radioed and hikers were asked to clear Quarter Dome for a helicopter. Unfortunately, the injured man died before help could possibly have arrived.

My party decided to head down, as there was nothing we could really do to help except get out of the way. Many other people were of the same mind, and there was something of a quiet exodus; but there were actually people still hiking up that intended to do the climb, despite the tragedy. On our way out we saw several helicopter landings on Quarter Dome and met a Ranger taking names, etc. of people who were there...and Rangers at Happy Isles taking written statements.

Obviously there are going to be accidents, but I always assumed that statistically they were so unlikely that I would never actually witness one. I have climbed various Fourteeners, as well as Half Dome 8 times. I certainly never thought of Half Dome as particularly risky, despite the cables. But I must say I have never seen it so crowded and, in my opinion, it was too crowded to be safe. My husband and I wouldn't even have started up except that we were accompanied by two friends that had never done it and would have been very disappointed if we abandoned them.

I can't get the images out of my mind.




_________________________

Judith

avatar Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 18, 2007 09:53AM
Here is the Associated Press story:

Hiker falls to his death at Yosemite's Half Dome
The Associated Press
Article Launched: 06/18/2007 09:13:18 AM PDT


YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif.—A hiker fell to his death while trekking up Half Dome.
Hirofumi Nohara, 37, of Japan slipped and fell while ascending the 4,800-foot granite peak in Yosemite National Park on Saturday afternoon, authorities said. He was pronounced dead at the scene, said park ranger Adrienne Freeman.

Nohara, who was in the U.S. on a work visa, was making the climb with four friends.

Members of a Granite Bay church who were hiking in the area saw Nohara lose his footing about three-quarters of the way up the steep slope, and watched in horror as his leg caught on a pole supporting metal cables running up the rock formation, church officials said.

"It spun him around outside the safety cables and he tumbled down the mountainside," said Bayside Church communications director Kerry Shearer.

Nohara did not appear to be doing anything unsafe, according to the initial investigation by the National Park Service.

About 10 to 12 people die in Yosemite each year, but very few fatalities are on Half Dome, Freeman said.
Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 18, 2007 10:53AM
A good reason to try to make this into an overnight backpack. That way you can climb up & down the cables when it's not crowded and use both sets of cables to help you. I know that's not possible for everyone, though.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/2carolyn/414979838/in/set-72157594577780871/

It's sad to hear of so many accidents and fatalities of people on vacation. It should be a happy time. Be very careful everyone!



Post Edited (06-18-07 13:01)
avatar Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 18, 2007 11:31AM
Well - some of the reports stated that this guy didn't do anything reckless per se. However - it was noted that he was carrying a "large backpack", which might have been a mistake. If it was heavy enough, it could have been a factor in his loss of balance. I thought a lot of people leave heavy backpacks at the start of the cables and pick them up when they return, for obvious reasons.

I haven't done Half Dome, although I was planning on it this week. I have done Angels Landing at Zion, which is not recommended for anyone with a serious fear of heights. It involves scrambling up sandstone and a few places where heavy link chains (grip is excellent BTW) are placed in exposed areas. I didn't find it all that intimidating, although I've heard that quite a few people decide it's not worth it when they get up close and personal with the rock. They had a fatality last year.

I thought the cables at Half Dome were stranded steel. Was there ever any thought to maybe using chain links instead?

Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 18, 2007 11:38AM
It seems like chain links would have even more opportunities for fingers and other things to get caught.
avatar Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 18, 2007 12:41PM
letterknit wrote:

> It seems like chain links would have even more opportunities
> for fingers and other things to get caught.

I didn't have any problems. The spaces between the links were tight enough that I didn't get my fingers caught. The one problem was that each section tended to sway (a lot) when someone was holding on. However - I understand there have been six fatalities there since last July, including one this month.

Here's a picture of one of the exposed areas.



Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 19, 2007 03:25PM
letterknit wrote:

> It seems like chain links would have even more opportunities
> for fingers and other things to get caught.

Yes, ouch! I definitely agree, chains would be a nightmare. VPW, I've been up Angel's landing, a beautiful climb, but nothing like Half Dome. While it might give you an idea if heights bother you, it's much shorter, less strenuous, and the chained area is nothing like HD's cables.

When coming down, leather gloves slide nicely and controllably down the cables; chain links would make this a bumpy miserable descent. The cables being much steeper than the chains on Angel's Landing make it a whole different situation.

There were apparently two other fatalities last year at Half Dome, but they were while the cables were down and the rock was wet, so while it's sad that it happened, they made their choices.

The hike is getting very popular, and people need to realize that this is not Disneyland and they are NOT "protected" in situations like the Half Dome hike to the top. Falling is a possibility. They need to make themselves safe, if they elect to do it, by making wise choices. While it hasn't happened that I know of, there's also the chance that if you are careless and slip and fall, you'll cause someone else to fall on your way down, so there's a responsibility to others when you go up, to do it safely.

And please, anyone who is afraid of heights, don't start up the cables and freeze. The view from Quarter Dome, and the hike there is fantastic. Stop there, relax, enjoy it, and head back, but don't try to go up the cables on a crowded day if you're not sure you can handle it. If you're afraid to look down, that's a good indication that you probably don't belong up there.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 19, 2007 03:47PM
> When coming down, leather gloves slide nicely and controllably down the
> cables; chain links would make this a bumpy miserable descent.

I just use one cable and lean backwards while coming down. Hand over hand works very well in that configuration.

avatar Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 18, 2007 11:51AM
I happened to be at Sentinel Beach letting my two little girls cool off when I saw the chopper heading towards HD. Sad to hear it was a fatality.

A somber reminder to all that despite it's inherent beauty, Yosemite can be a dangerous and unforgiving environment, often times not giving one a second chance.
avatar Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 18, 2007 05:25PM
i climbed it many years ago... i had no idea what i was getting into at the time, i too went with a church group... when i got there, i was shocked at how steep it was... had i not had friends encouraging me to climb it, i doubt i would have on my own.

i saw people "running" up and DOWN on the outside of the railings! i was thinking at how stupid they were putting their lives at risk like that.

i go to Yosemite often, and each time i go hiking, i always seem to see someone doing something stupid trying to show off to their friends.

i'm not saying this guy did anything stupid at all, but i too wonder if his backpack played a role in him becoming off balance possibly and falling uncontrollably? i would have never have had a backpack of any sort on my back when i did it. .... people need to find out ahead of time just how dangerous the Half Dome climb is! it is very very dangerous, i'm personally surprised the park allows it.
avatar Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 18, 2007 10:26PM
Quote

i climbed it many years ago... i had no idea what i was getting into at the time

When I was leading backpacking groups I onlly had one person that refused to go up the cables.

Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 18, 2007 06:47PM
When you climb the Half Dome cables, you will be very glad they are taut steel cables and not swingy chains. People would be losing their balance left and right if there were swingy chains.



Post Edited (06-18-07 23:00)
Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 19, 2007 02:28AM
I have hiked to the top of Half Dome 11 times over the years. I enjoy it more each time, although it is hard work. I don't think it's particularly dangerous IF you stay inside the cables. I, too, have seen many people go down very fast on the outside of the cables and I always thought if they lost their grip for even a second, they would be in trouble. I saw one guy go out about 20 feet horizontally about half way up the cables to retrieve some kid's hat. No way! I'd just buy the kid a new hat. But the guy didn't seemed bothered by it, so I guess it just depends on your skill level.

There are times when it is so crowded on the cables that you don't have the advantage of holding on to both the left and right cables at the same time and that's not much fun.

What can be spooky the first time it happens to you is when one of the steel posts lifts out of the granite and throws you off balance. But I think most that do lift out of the granite are near the bottom.

I always hate to hear someone dying in Yosemite in an accident like this.





Bill
avatar Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 19, 2007 12:42PM
Hiker Dies on Half Dome in Yosemite National Park
Date: June 18, 2007

Hirofumi Nohara, 37, slipped and fell while ascending the Half Dome cables on June 16, 2007 at around 2:30 pm. Nohara, a Japanese citizen in the United States on a work visa, was hiking with four friends when the fall occurred. Nohara fell approximately 300 feet from the left side of the cables, and was pronounced dead at the scene. An investigation into the cause of the slip and subsequent fall is underway.

The Half Dome hike is a round-trip hike of 17 miles and considered extremely strenuous. Hikers gain 4,800 feet of elevation along the hike that passes such highlights as Vernal Fall, Nevada Fall, and Half Dome itself. A series of metal cables are placed along the steep shoulder of the dome to assist hikers to the summit. Visitors are advised to take appropriate precautions when attempting a hike of this length and difficulty, and to be prepared for changing weather and trail conditions.

For more information about hiking safety, please refer to Yosemite's website at http://www.nps.gov/yose.

Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 20, 2007 09:15AM
I was at the top of Nevada Falls Saturday when we heard the search and rescue helicopter fly over. We knew something horrible must've happened, but didn't hear anything more of it until I was at the airport and picked up a San Francisco Newspaper yesterday. Here's the article from the paper:


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/06/19/BAGHNQHLEV1.DTL&hw=half+dome&sn=001&sc=1000
Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 20, 2007 10:42AM
Thanks for sharing the newspaper article. I think one thing I picked up from the article was that he was "laughing and having a wonderful time." Since I wasn't there, I'm not trying to pass judgement at all. However, one suggestion I have is although you should be having a good time on the climb to half dome, I think you need to be vigilant and very careful at all times. I just thought I would put that out there as advice to people thinking about taking the trek.

Maybe we should start a new thread on suggestions (if any) about making the trek safer. That article above seemed to say the park wanted feedback from people.
Ok I'll start a new thread.
avatar Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 20, 2007 09:46PM
The photo above doesn't look like Half Dome, or Yosemite for that matter. Wrong color granite too.

I've climbed Half Dome two times. It was crowded both times. Gloves are pretty important, mostly on the way down. I can totally see how this could happen. All it would take is for someone to get light headed, which happens to sea level people at high altitude. It's a terrible thing to happen. It will continue to happen though. It's not as save of a climb as people think or expect. Many people you see on the cables are not fit for it. There was a panic attack with one lady when we were coming down the second trip. She clung on and wouldn't let go. We were stuck on the cables for at least an extra half hour. We eventually passed her, while her friends tried to console her. What to do? Don't really know what ever happened to her. Probably happens every day.





mark2
Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 20, 2007 10:07PM
My husband and I were at the top of the cables and descending when we heard people screaming that someone had fallen. We could not see because of the angle but it was terrifying. A young 14 year old who was coming up the cables was crying and i stabilized myself to give him a hug and some reassurance. His uncle who was coming up next was vomiting at what he had just seen. I was very scared that i would never make it down alive. (our two boys 14 and 11 had climbed it an hour prior with family) I had no idea it was this dangerous when started out on the hike that day.
I will never hike half dome again due to the fact that it is extremely dangerous. There are probably some avid hikers out there that would disagree with me and say it is not a climb but only a hike. They are fooling themselves and playing the death game. I had never hiked before when we made this trip to half dome. We had been told it was strenuous but I never would have believed it . I climbed in a pair of keds with sun screen, and at least a camel bak. I am glad I can say that I conquered it, but I will NEVER hike it ever again. My husband feels the same way. I know that this is nature and that the cables are simple as to not disrupt the rock any more than needed, but for the national parks service to say that they have signs up and do not need to do anything further for safety is to say that people should not wear a safety barrier on a roller coaster that goes upside down.
Shame on them for not making this hike safer,and some man has to die!!!
Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 21, 2007 10:53AM
I don't want to call anyone out here, but anyone who wears Keds to go on a hike for a 17 mile roundtrip is ill-prepared. I have spent the night up there 2 times, and been up there twice on day hikes. I have seen it uncrowded in early summer, and very crowded as this past weekend. I have always brought hiking boots, food and water(with extras for the unprepared people). Being up there is truly an exhilarating experience, physically demanding, and fun.
Just standing on the valley floor and looking up at Half Dome, one should know that getting up there is not easy. One should not have to be told that there is a possibility of danger. You must be, at minimum, in decent physical shape and have the proper supplies.
Unfortunately, I can just see the politically correct people having this experience altered in some way to prevent the rest of us enjoying ourselves.

That is the end of my rant.
Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 21, 2007 08:13AM
sachrn,
Thank you for your comments and perspective. I am an avid hiker, but I've wondered what the non-hikers who climb Half Dome think of the whole thing. I've wondered if people got enough information before they attempted the hike. I wonder how many people turn back before they get to the top and I wonder how many people push on to the top even if, in reality, they shouldn't. Mark2's comments above attest that some people do that and regret it.
Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 21, 2007 07:06PM
letterknit,
As I have stated before, I did the hike in Keds to half dome because I was not educated on the "full picture" of half dome before I started that day. I did learn enough from our group though to know to purchase a camel bak, in the yosemite store before leaving up the hill. I really think that if people were educated on the intensity and danger of the hike before they started, 1/2 of us "inexperienced hikers" would never even attempt the hike. I know I would never have, and I have never let my 11 and 14 year old boys hike half dome either, knowing the danger up there. Do I regret climbing half-dome, ----No , Did I enjoy it?----No, Would I ever do it again?--- No. But I would say before I ever do anything this intense again, I will be educated as much as I can. I think 1/2 the people going up that hill would feel the same way as I do. And avid hikers who are experienced, need to give us poor people who had no clue what we were getting ourselves into, a break.
(i'm not referring to you but others on this chat line, who refer to people that climb it that are unprepared due to lack of education as possibly ignorant.

Thanks for your concern for us uneducated hikers, and now I'll get off my soapbox, and put on my other hat which happens to be a nurses cap, i might not be an experienced hiker but i was the one up on the hill that day consoling crying 14 year olds, and their vomiting uncles who had just witnessed the fall. Maybe I should just stay at work, doing what i do best giving hugs and healing people....



Post Edited (06-21-07 21:20)
Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 21, 2007 08:19AM
At the risk of feeling like a gawker, here are someone's pictures of the incident:

http://www.bayareadragon.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?t=12553
avatar Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 21, 2007 12:10PM
I agree with your views here, Snorkus, having been up only two times, as compared to someone on this list who has been up (8!!) eight times! Wow. It's all about what kind of shape you're in. I saw someone run all the way to the saddle and back, which by the way is what Galen Rowell was known for. Plus, I do recall the first trip when not that many were on the cables. I thought it was a little crowded, that is until the second time when it was unbelievable.

I would be in favor of permits to climb it, being that there seems to be some coloration between crowds and accidents. Like wilderness permits, it could be managed in some way. I agree with the person that recommended a camp in Little Yosemite Valley, so as to get to the cables earlier than the other crowds. That has always made a lot of sense.

Both times after having finished it, I had pretty much convinced myself that this was going to be THE last time. But, I've heard that our brains can not remember pain, which must account for why I would like to get in shape for another assent one day in my current old age. I'd bring along my new hiking sticks on this trip, I can tell you that. And, I would't go with young people who would make me feel so old next time. Lol.

It took all the years of my life to finally get up the gumption to do it by the time I turned fifty, and then again at 53. And, that's after a full lifetime of thinking about it, having worked in the park in my youth three times, and camped and stayed there many dozens of times my whole life.

It's a tough hike. But, isn't that the attraction?

I can only imagine however the impact of watching a fatality, and then dealing with all the discussions up and down the cables of the horrid event that day. Must have been very unnerving - and so sad for those who knew the guy.

The hike/climb took everything out of me, I can tell you that. I could have done it jogging thirty years ago. But, age kicks in and times change. I was also VERY impressed however that there were people quite a bit older than me, up on the top.





mark2
Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 21, 2007 01:58PM
Three people die in the history of Half Dome and now they want to make it more safe. I'd rather see resources used in ways that help things that are actually problems. Three deaths over the course of history is insignificant and not worth anyone's time and money.

I realize that it's the American way to get all worked up over statistically insignifficant issues (like having a financially/politically disasterous war on terror when the average yearly death toll from terrorism WORLDWIDE is less than 600...more people die from complications caused by caffeine), but maybe it's time we stopped the knee-jerk reactionary nonsense and started using our brains. We don't have to freak out and lose our minds everytime something bad happens.

We don't need new signs. We don't need new rules. Three people died, and two of them were because they were stupid people. So we have one legitimate accidental death on Half Dome...ever. I don't see how anyone thinks they can improve on that safety record.
Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 21, 2007 06:25PM
O.k only three people have died on half-dome, and you say two were stupid, but if it was your family member, you would be rallying for every safety measure there was available to ensure the same fate did not befall anyone else. So are you saying because someone was not using their brains that they deserve to die ???? I don't think so. On the cables that day I saw people of all ages, 5-82 ?, and I don't think half of them had any clue what this hike entailed, I can tell you that, Yes I was in Keds because I was not prepared for the hike and that is why I will never hike it again. I can tell you though that the "so-called experienced hikers" that had proper hiking boots and gear were also the not to smart people who were climbing the cables on the outside because they did not have the patience to wait in the line of the
"inexperienced hikers" who did what they were supposed to and stayed in between the cables, such as the poor unfortunate man that died. Sounds like we all need a little extra education on hiking you think?



Post Edited (06-21-07 21:14)
avatar Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 21, 2007 03:54PM
You make good points. Accidents happen. I do wonder why it's so popular with climbing Half Dome seemingly on the rise in recent years, all while park visitation as a whole has dropped a little.





mark2
Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 21, 2007 08:18PM
>So are you saying because someone was not using their
>brains that they deserve to die ????

It's not so much that I think they deserve to die as it is a common consequence of making poor choices in situations that are obviously dangerous...like deciding to climb half dome when it is wet and the cables are down. My point, however, was more that it is not feasible to create enough safeguards to keep people who do stupid things from hurting themselves. You can bubble wrap the entire world and people will still find ways to hurt themselves.

My point is also that there are a lot of things and places in the world that are much more dangerous than Half Dome, and it would make more sense to use resources on the historically more dangerous things. You see, every activity in which humans engage has some sort of history of people getting hurt and dying. Most of those people had grieving families. Why not deal with the things that leave behind a lot of grieving families before dealing with those things that leave behind only a few?

>And avid hikers who are experienced, need to give us poor people
>who had no clue what we were getting ourselves into, a break.

I disagree strongly. All of the information anyone needs about Half Dome, or hiking in general, is easily obtainable for little or no money. All it takes is a little bit of initiative and the education will be had. If this was some obscure topic on which there was not easily obtained information, then I'd be more inclined to say we should give the uneducated a break. But if people are uneducated because they simply didn't put forth the effort to take advantage of the massive amount of information available to them...well, I don't think a break is in order.

I'm not saying it's cool to be rude to inexperienced hikers or to be condescending toward them. I'm up for sharing knowledge and helping people get prepared. But they have to take the initiative. There's nothing wrong with lacking knowledge. There is a lot wrong with choosing to remain uneducated when participating in dangerous activities.
Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 21, 2007 08:35PM
We went to Yosemite as part of a family trip, I had only been there as a child and I don't even remember half-dome, it's only when we arrived did it become a topic of interest to hike it. If I would have known I was going to hike it before, I would have definetely educated myself, but I guess that's why i hiked it in Keds, because I didn't know,and everyone was so excited to do it, even my 61 year old father in law went and he is very out of shape. (and he even made it) I do agree on the education portion of it, and think it is very very dangerous what we did, but there still needs to be some better safety measures implemented at the cable site, even though i don't know what.
avatar Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 21, 2007 10:26PM
I think that only two people have died in the last few months and one guy got hung up at the saddle and was rescued. The woman that fell to her death went up when the cables were down and the conditions were icy. That was an invitation to fall on her part. Don't go up when the cables are down and don't go up when the granite is icy. Anybody giving the dangers a thought would not have attempted the climb as she did. Rules, advice, education, etc. would not have deterred her.

The guy that slid to the saddle and was rescued after he got hung up by his pants started up the cables on wet granite. It was drizzling that day. Other hikers opted not to go up up the cables due to the wet conditions. This guy ignored the danger but got a second chance.

The poor guy that fell last weekend seemed to have done everything right but perhaps wasn't concentrating on the climb as much as he should have as he approached the top. He may have missed a hand-hold or missed a foothold but whatever it was it was something that no amount of education or warning could have prevented. I think he was just so excited about being near the top that he quit focusing on the cables.

Of all the popular destinations in the park it seems that going up the cables at Half Dome is the most dangerous yet it has the best safety record. Thousands and thousands if not millions of people have made the trip and the fatalities due to what could be called accidents are very few indeed. (This doesn't count medical issues) Compare the safety record of Half Dome with the record of the Merced River with all it's waterfalls and fast water. I say leave everything as it is with perhaps adding a caution about the danger of loosing concentration while on the cables. Personally I think the trip over the hump to the saddle at the base of the cables is a lot more dangerous and scary than the cables.

On my trips along the Little Yosemite Valley trail I've seen lots of people in Keds, sandals, flip-flops, street shoes, and boots. It seems to me that footware is not a factor in falling off Half Dome. If it were there would be hundreds of deaths by now.



Post Edited (06-22-07 19:56)



Old Dude
Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 22, 2007 01:30AM
#1. There is SO much information (and actual true-life experiences) about the Half Dome hike that you could spend a whole month reading it all. So anyone that doesn't know what they are getting into just didn't take the time to read and prepare.

Before I die I want to hike the John Muir Trail from Yosemite to Mount Whitney. Again, there are tons of stories detailing that 210 miles. I could never say I didn't know what I was getting into if I ever do the entire JMT. The same for anyone doing Half Dome.

#2. Put an escalator and a personal chaperone on the backside of Half Dome to make it 100% safe for everyone....then count me out. The allure of a semi-fit-on-the-wrong-side-of-50-man is the test of Half Dome. Can I still do it after my first time 16 years ago? Will one day the fear of height overcome me? Or will my lungs and/or knees tell me it is time to hang up the hiking boots? Surely and sadly, that day will come. But let me have this small test in my life while my legs and lungs want to do it.

I'll never be young enough, strong enough, or brave enough to climb the face of Half Dome or El Capitan that people do climb every year. But please leave me a little test and thrill in my life. Leave Half Dome the way it is. It certainly has an element of danger. Our lives are so plastic that we don't have many natural thrills left. Without the danger, the wildness and the ability to test yourself against Nature, we might as well go to Disneyland.

On my 3rd trip to the top in 1994 I met a 75-year old couple from Japan who were sitting on the top eating fruit and looking like they had hardly worked up a sweat. On that day I said that was one of my goals...make it to 75 and sit on top of Half Dome.

I feel badly for the 37 year old man who fell on Saturday. That is tragic for sure. But it would be even more tragic to turn Yosemite and other wild places into a theme park. I hope the NPS leaves Half Dome alone. No changes are needed.





Bill
Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 23, 2007 01:23PM
wbmyosemite wrote:

> #2. Put an escalator and a personal chaperone on the backside
> of Half Dome to make it 100% safe for everyone....then count me
> out. The allure of a semi-fit-on-the-wrong-side-of-50-man is
> the test of Half Dome. Can I still do it after my first time
> 16 years ago? Will one day the fear of height overcome me? Or
> will my lungs and/or knees tell me it is time to hang up the
> hiking boots? Surely and sadly, that day will come. But let
> me have this small test in my life while my legs and lungs want
> to do it.

Put the escalator there and someone will fall off the top. Then THAT will be too dangerous.

People are used to having everything done for them, and the first thing they think of when something bad happens is to find someone to blame. This hiker obviously did something outside of what was safe, and unfortunately didn't get away with it on this occasion. Those are the chances you take by doing things.

You could put people in Batman-ride-style cages and whiz them up to the top, and someone would probably eventually get hurt, and then they'd say that THAT was unsafe...then what do you do? (however it would be very safe for me, because I wouldn't be there).

When we went up HD in late May, people were going up the cables at 1PM with thunderheads and audible thunder in the distance, despite the signs and verbal warnings. They made their choice, and survived (this time). Going up the cables is obviously unsafe if you're not careful; you can tell that by looking at them. You make a choice when you go up, and if something happens, it's no one else's fault or responsibility to make it "safe" for you.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 22, 2007 01:41AM
I imagine myself on the cables every day now that this has happened. Could any of you critique this web page (it's just one page, not a complete site), this is the view of me my brother took after he shook off a near heart attack going up and over 1/4 dome, traffic missing. That's me on the 2nd or 3rd 2x4 in the tan garb. My bro took a half hr getting the courage just to stand at the base of the cables with no one on them to take this photo before I showed him the way up.

I just want to put the tragedy in perspective. I haven't been up the cables since June 2005.


http://www.hikeofyourlife.com/DeathontheCablesmyAngle.html

Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 22, 2007 08:59AM
Sachrn wrote:
"I really think that if people were educated on the intensity and danger of the hike before they started, 1/2 of us "inexperienced hikers" would never even attempt the hike."

Just standing in the Valley, and looking up at how enormous Half Dome is, and then seeing the sign that tells you 16miles roundtrip. It is hard for me to comprehend, that even the most inexperianced hiker could stare at what they are about to hike and think to themselves, hmm this hike will be a like a stroll through the park.

It's sad and unfortunate about the death Saturday. I hate to think any positive came from this, but if any, it will open the eyes to many, and realize this is nature, and not an amusement park, and preperation is needed.

avatar Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 22, 2007 05:14PM
Climbing half dome is safe as it is. I have a fear of heights, yet climbing the cables does little more than make my heart beat a little faster. How can I say it is safe, in view of the recent fatality? If you exercise common sense and pay due attention to the climb, you will be OK. When I climb Half Dome, I ALWAYS have a firm grip on the cable with at least one hand, conscious of the possibility that my feet could slip. Usually, both hands are firmly on the cable. Even if my feet did slip, I would be OK (though a little shaken).

I feel absolutely terrible for the poor man that died, as well as for his friends...and all those that witnessed the tragedy. He did not "deserve to die" because he was laughing and joking on the way up; nor because he reportedly had a heavy backpack. But he should have been paying full attention to the climb. Anyone can readily see that if you fall while climbing the cables you probably die, and it should be approached with respect. Approach it with that respect, and it is safe.

When you're driving down the road and a semi is coming at you, what would happen if you were to veer to the left and hit him head-on? You would die. So should we ban driving, or should we drive with common sense?
avatar Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 23, 2007 03:51PM
It's easy to overreact after an accident. Oh, there should be a law against <insert reactionary idea here>

It was an accident and that's the end of that.

Are changes necessary? The only one I'd buy into is a quota system to limit hikers on the 2.5-mile Half Dome trail, maybe...maybe not. Definitely more discussion is needed, mainly by cooler heads after a cooling-off period (there is a reason you can't be admitted to the baseball hall of fame within 5 years of your retirement). Quotas on trails exist everywhere in the Sierra, why not Half Dome. Other ideas, upon further thought since last weekend, nah.

Today, anyway.
avatar Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 23, 2007 04:10PM
Vince wrote:

> Are changes necessary? The only one I'd buy into is a quota
> system to limit hikers on the 2.5-mile Half Dome trail,
> maybe...maybe not.

Are they still doing horse trips up there? Got passed by a group on horses once and none of them were really up to the cable climb. Made for quite a crowd too.

avatar Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 24, 2007 04:53AM
>Vince wrote:

>Definitely more discussion is needed, mainly by cooler heads

? I thought this thread was "cool headed". Just an expressing of viewpoints and reasoning for one's viewpoint.
avatar Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 24, 2007 10:26AM
This thread, actually the entire forum, is cool-headed.

OK, the right-winger that I am...let's just leave stuff the way it is. Now I feel better.

Except for O'Shaugnessy. That's gotta go.
Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 24, 2007 11:10AM
This is indeed a remarkably cool-headed forum. Maybe it's because spending so much time in a beautiful place like Yosemite quells anger and frustration so that we don't need to take things out on one another.
avatar Re: Fatality on the Cables
June 30, 2007 12:29PM
Re: Fatality on the Cables
July 19, 2007 12:59PM
I see this made Fox News. www.foxnews.com, there is a link called "Yosemite's Fatal Attraction" under the Fox News Videos section.
avatar Re: Fatality on the Cables
July 20, 2007 11:22AM
Do you have a direct link to the video story? Nothing comes up when searching "Yosemite's fatal attraction."
avatar Re: Fatality on the Cables
July 20, 2007 03:49PM
my wife was telling me that a co-worker of hers (her husband) had a heart attack on Half Dome last wednesday (7/11/07?) and died. he was with his son (who is in his early 20's).. she wasn't sure exactly where it happened, either during the climb or on top.

has anyone seen any reports of this? he was 53 yrs old, in good shape etc, so it was a real shock.



Post Edited (07-20-07 17:51)



Like I always say, "if you can't laugh at yourself, let me do it".

My Yosemite Blog: http://yosemiteforrest.blogspot.com/
avatar Re: Fatality on the Cables
July 20, 2007 03:59PM
Found this:

Valley rangers received a report of an unconscious and unresponsive man on the Half Dome trail about a half mile up from the Sunrise trail intersection early on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 11th. Off-duty park safety officer Roger Farmer soon arrived on scene and reported that CPR was in progress. Helicopter 551 was immediately requested and flew to the area. Ranger/paramedic Keith Lober and ranger Jason Gayeski-Peters heli-rappelled to the man’s location. The victim. Jose Vasquez, 53, of Lodi, California, was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was short-hauled from the area. The cause of death has not yet been determined.

Re: Fatality on the Cables
July 24, 2007 11:23PM
That was my husband. He was alone, not with our son. Apparent heart attack is all we know so far. He was in good shape. He ran 3 miles a day, sometimes twice a day, even in the heat. He refereed soccer games, sometimes 4 or more games in a one-day tournament. Quite a shock when he never came home, to say the least.
Thanks for your respect at this difficult time.

avatar Re: Fatality on the Cables
July 21, 2007 12:23PM
thank you eeek;

yep, that was him... i just asked my wife if that was his name and she said yes.



Post Edited (07-21-07 14:24)



Like I always say, "if you can't laugh at yourself, let me do it".

My Yosemite Blog: http://yosemiteforrest.blogspot.com/
Re: Fatality on the Cables
July 21, 2007 05:40PM
avatar Re: Fatality on the Cables
July 21, 2007 09:18PM
i just learned that this same man who died in Yosemite, was also rescued recently (within the last couple of years i believe) on Mt. Hood in Oregon during the winter (in the snow).
Re: Fatality on the Cables
July 26, 2007 10:10AM
I'm sorry for your loss CaliforniaMama.

It just goes to show all of us that even if we get a lot of exercise, we are not invincible.
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