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Re: Half Dome Hike Safety

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avatar Half Dome Hike Safety
September 03, 2008 08:17AM
avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 03, 2008 08:46AM
Probably the hardest thing the reporter who wrote that has gone through is running out of white-out. I imagine interviews were done by the sign that says "Half Dome 8.2"

I like this: "The ultimate payoff is at the top of Half Dome, where you tower over the valley on one side and have awe-inspiring views of Tuolumne Meadows on the other."

I've been up there twice and don't remember an awe-inspiring view of Tuolumne Meadows.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 03, 2008 09:26AM
Vince wrote:

> I've been up there twice and don't remember an awe-inspiring
> view of Tuolumne Meadows.

I've been up there three times and every time there were mountains blocking my view of Tuolumne Meadows. winking smiley

avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 03, 2008 08:47AM
Silly indeed...
"awe-inspiring views of Tuolumne Meadows"
Um, I don't think so...

Two weekends ago the wife and I were on Mt. Watkins. Spent the
whole weekend there. Never saw anyone except when looking over
at the dome. I counted over 100 people on the cables at one point
on Saturday afternoon...

Perhaps this sort of "instilled fear" is an attempt to get the crowds down?

Only 9 deaths since '71? Darwin must be asleep.
Wonder how many vehicle deaths there have been in that timeframe?
Probably pretty scary number.

(I know we kinda had this discussion before... but what else am I going to do at work?)

smiling smiley
avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 03, 2008 09:29AM
Maybe the reporter should be given a few hints? After all he did publish his email address:

jdamschroder@uniondemocrat.com

avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 03, 2008 10:37AM
He probably thinks Tuolumne Meadows is the grassy area in Yosemite Valley! Should we really burst his bubble?

Jim

Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 03, 2008 10:42AM
I'm that reporter. A) You can't actually see the meadow but you can see what I consider to be the peaks of Tuolumne Meadows. I apologize for this. Sometimes in my job, like this article, I had to write this piece in about 45 minutes and didn't consider that the meadow is blocked.

And yes, I've climbed and hiked all over the world. I've done Half Dome a dozen times in my life. I've also climbed Snakes Dike, a route up the southwest face of Half Dome. I recently got back from 5-days on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and even that trail can't rival the congestion on Half Dome.

The situation on Half Dome is ridiculous ... 8-year-old boys being forced up by their dads, people with flip flops on, five-minute traffic jams on the steepest part of the cables ... as a journalist, it is at least worth a look at. These people aren't prepared for the hike, and the cables have gotten ridiculously busy.

It seems that if someone is forced to get a wilderness permit and is explained the details are preventing bear encounters, it's fair that those headed up Half Dome should have to listen to two-minutes of lecture about the hike's potential dangers, supplies needed and the correct foot wear.

I'm sorry, but the situation on the cables on Sunday seemed like a foregone tragedy.

I'm sorry that some of you found it ridiculous. I tried to write a fair article that chronicled the reason the hike is so amazing but also point out what has not been said enough: the situation is getting a little sketchy.



Post Edited (09-03-08 18:19)
avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 03, 2008 11:38AM
jdamscroder,

Sorry to pick on you; just could not resist regarding Tuolumne Meadows. When looking north the meadow is behind the sharp points of Cathedral and Echo peaks and a couple thousand feet lower in elevation.

As for the weekend crowds on Half Dome it appears this is a prime example of our parks being loved to death. I agree there are just too many people up there at one time, some of whom have no idea what they are attempting or how to prepare for it.

Jim

avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 03, 2008 11:42AM
Ways to avoid crowds have been posted here and elsewhere many times. It's been beat to, well, death...

You would have been better off with a timely article shortly after the fatalities in 2007.

The current article would have been better written as though the fatalities occurred over a year ago, which they did, and look closer at what the NPS has done, if anything, or what it may be planning to do to relieve the pressure on the cables. I think the general consensus among the people here is that the status quo is best since hardly anyone has died on the cables since 1919, and simple tricks like arrive early or late (I prefer late) alleviate much grief on that short 400 feet.

I prefer late because part of my former life as a sports writer still exists...I get to talk to everyone coming down the trail while I'm on my way up!

Oh, BTW that excuse about having 45 minutes to write the article? You weren't covering a high school football game on Friday night deadline...sorry, this former reporter doesn't buy that excuse.

I'm glad you've hiked so many interesting places, I await your Mount Whitney piece.
Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 03, 2008 12:29PM
You know that's fine ... yes, I did have 45 minutes to write it. They wanted the piece the next day. This is how it works here -- I've also been a sports reporter, and, unfortunately, it was like a Friday night football game.

In all honesty, I've probably gotten 50 e-mails complimenting the article. I think it was a little rushed, and not my best, but I haven't seen a better article published about the hike. I've also hiked Whitney by the way. Your sarcasm seems to be your better side.

Yes, it would have been more timely if I wrote it directly after the deaths last year ... but sometimes things aren't perfect. I appreciate the comments and agree with many of them. I also think it's always easier to insult from the cheap seats.

I do enjoy this blog though. It's 100 times more informative than any of the Yosemite Web sites.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 03, 2008 01:51PM
jdamschroder wrote:

> You know that's fine ... yes, I did have 45 minutes to write
> it. They wanted the piece the next day. This is how it works
> here -- I've also been a sports reporter, and, unfortunately,
> it was like a Friday night football game.
>
> In all honesty, I've probably gotten 50 e-mails complimenting
> the article. I think it was a little rushed, and not my best,
> but I haven't seen a better article published about the hike.
> I've also hiked Whitney by the way. Your sarcasm seems to be
> your better side.

Every year around late Spring or early Summer there are assorted news articles. Some were actually very good, but I'll leave it up to others to decide about which is best. The best reading I've had on Half Dome came from personal websites and message boards such as this one.

> Yes, it would have been more timely if I wrote it directly
> after the deaths last year ... but sometimes things aren't
> perfect. I appreciate the comments and agree with many of them.
> I also think it's always easier to insult from the cheap seats.

Tom Stienstra of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote about it last year. There were numerous stories.

> I do enjoy this blog though. It's 100 times more informative
> than any of the Yosemite Web sites.

Blog? This is a message board. Free and open for anyone and everyone. With the results to show for it.

avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 03, 2008 11:48AM
Sorry, but the article read like you had 45 minutes to write it...
I was gonna guess an intern wrote it...
Maybe you just want to say you can see Tenaya Canyon...

A 2 minute lecture is not going to stop anyone going up Half Dome.
Just as a huge number of people that get wilderness permits just
plain do as they wish no matter what the ranger says...
(and "forced" to get a wilderness permit... problems w/the system??)

One of the person you mentioned died when the cables weren't up.
And that person knew better by all accounts.

Anyway, we aren't really trying to give you tooooo much grief.
I don't think anyone would disagree that the number on the cables
is ridiculous and that too many people just don't realize what they
are getting into. I've taken a buddy up to it and he said no way
on the first dome... I knew better than to push him into going further...
I'm sure peer pressure is exerted on others in the same situation
with different and perhaps catastrophic results...

Someday in the not too distant future I wouldn't doubt they have a
quota system much like they do now up Mt. Whitney from the Portal...

Ok, I guess the dog is getting beaten...

(btw.. Vince, I'm starting to warm to your humor)



Post Edited (09-03-08 18:48)



Everything I know I learned from Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 03, 2008 01:19PM
Welcome to the club smiling smiley

Now do better.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 04, 2008 12:22AM
For 45 minutes it's OK, but the bit about Tuolumne Meadows takes away your credibility - it no doubt is why it was assumed that you had never been to the top.

I do agree that people planning on climbing HD ought to have to listen to tips on hiking it safely. Some people just don't seem to know what they are embarking on...I've seen the same thing in the Grand Canyon.



Post Edited (09-04-08 07:26)
avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 04, 2008 02:30AM
I can't believe so much discussion is going into this. The article was fine. Everyone has his or her own views of things. The comment about view of T Meadows, I assume, was intended to suggest Yosemite’s high country. If you want to pick at something, that’s a good target. Big deal. Otherwise, the article was good. What I came away hearing was that cables can be too crowded. That happens to be a fact and a point well made. They should require permits, or have limits, as the route can’t handle these kinds of crowds without increasing the risk factor. The jerks who pass on the outside should get exported off the mountain in cuffs. They put themselves and everyone else at risk. I've been to the top two times. It's a difficult hike, but not extremely hard. The hard part comes in when people are forced to hang on vertical cables on the steepest and slipperiest part for up to a half hour waiting for other people ahead of them, many of whom are incredibly unfit and beyond their capabilities. It's ridiculous that some people are up there with flip flops and that they weren’t aware that they will probably want to bring gloves. People are often very stupid. The article makes that point. I liked it.



Post Edited (09-04-08 09:33)



mark2
avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 04, 2008 02:48AM
I thought some of the comments were a little harsh until the author said "I haven't seen a better article published about the hike."

Fine? Yes. But ranking with the best written about HD?

avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 04, 2008 03:16AM
This isn't that much discussion.

This is:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?f=1&i=2327&t=2327

Read the SF Chron Article and then the one eeek said was silly.

Enough said



Post Edited (09-04-08 10:20)



Everything I know I learned from Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 04, 2008 03:40AM
A few days ago, Cash Cab had 4 NYC women in the cab, and they took the video bonus question ($1800 or lose it all) and it was a photo of Half Dome, with mention of Ansel Adams and Yosemite, and "Name that landmark". Not one of the 4 had even a guess.

For them, and probably lots of similar folks, the article was fine; for most of us in this forum, we already know more than could have been covered in that size article anyway. Had it been in 'Backpackers" magazine, they'd have gotten some flak, but things have to be 'dumbed down' for the general public.

To me, I do get a bit annoyed at people that get part way up and start panicking; while I feel sorry for them, it really congests the line, and they shouldn't have even gone up unless they had assessed the situation and decided they could do it OK. Sometimes I guess it's peer pressure, or (the worst) families forcing their kids up, but if they ever decide they need to do something, I hope they simply figure out a way to weed out those, which would help significantly.

I'm not sure if I'm a fool or not, regarding how many talk about going "outside" the cables, but I've done it several times, it doesn't bother me, and I'm not a big risk-taker. You get snagged behind someone really slow (I'm pretty slow going up myself), or a big group that decided to all start at once, and it's a quick and effective remedy, and you still of course keep hands on the cable. I never really thought of it as being that risky.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 04, 2008 12:08PM
Sierrafan wrote:

>regarding how many talk about going "outside" the cables, but I've done it >several times, it doesn't bother me

Me too. I feel that it is safer for me (not stuck on the cables) and for others (relieving some of the congestion). I'm not a big risk-taker either.

The last time I hiked to HD I chose not to go on the cables at all because of the congestion.

Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 05, 2008 06:28PM
OH GREAT! Now everytime I read a newspaper article I am going to wonder if it was another "I only had 45 minutes" job! No wonder the Fourth Estate ranks right up there with lawyers and politicians.

We all make mistakes, but when the writer stated he viewed Tuolumne Meadows from Half Dome, that automatically disqualifies the article from being in the top 5, OR TOP 500, of articles written about Half Dome. Fact-checking is (or should be) an integral part of any published article.

I've been on the cables about 10 or 11 times. I'm not sure what the author meant by "the situation was a foregone tragedy." What was the tragedy? From May to October thousands of people go up the cables without injury, let alone death. I'd say it's more difficult to do than dangerous to do.

If I remember correctly, at least 2 of the deaths last year were in what I would call "off-season" in that the cables were not threaded through the stanchions. Rather they were lying on the side of Half Dome as the stanchions are removed in the winter. Had those two people been on Half Dome in the May to October traditional season, I doubt they would have fallen to their death. And I think one of the deaths was determined to be a suicide. So all in all, I don't think the Half Dome cables are any more dangerous than crossing an intersection in Manhattan.

If you want some good articles on Half Dome, there are many already on the Internet. Here is one I like:

http://www.yosemitehikes.com/yosemite-valley/half-dome/half-dome.htm

It is truly informative about the entire Half Dome hike experience.

If a writer only has 45 minutes to write a GOOD article....well, that sounds kinda silly to me.





Bill
avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 05, 2008 10:48PM
and the view of TM isn't the only thing he got wrong. He states that there have been 9 deaths off HD since 1971; while the article in the SF Chronicle linked to by Gary (bill-e-g) says that there have been 9 FALLS, but 3 fatal. Pretty significant detail to get wrong.

Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 06, 2008 03:38AM
It's a shame that journalism has sunk to a level where it is more important to quickly churn out product than it is to do a good job.

On one hand, I recognize that this is due to pressure on the part of the news organizations upon their employees, but the writers themselves are, in part, responsible because they are complicit in the demise of thier own industry due to not standing up and refusing to write superficial or innacurate articles in the name of factory journalism.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 06, 2008 04:33AM
Well, Mix, having worked at a very small newspaper myself for a while (24,000 circulation) I can say I never was told to come up with a story similar to the above mentioned and please have it done tomorrow. If I had been asked to do so I would have said please give me a week.

But we're talking the Union-Democrat, not a household name, in fact probably not even in many households physically, either. Can't speak for how things work there, but I would not accuse that paper of factory journalism. It just happens to come up on personalized edition of Google News. (Which, did you know, this was just on Google News for Yosemite this morning, there's a massive fire going on? Oh yeah, dated July)

My biggest problem with journalism today is attention span. Give me the five-minute version of these 60 pages in newsprint. Newspapers can't and won't ever compete with internet or TV, and they have been slow to adapt. In this age where readers can respond instantly and not shuffled to the round file in a letter to the editor, a writer should be more prepared for criticism, or better yet, avoid it with a quality article (see my pointers above) and make an attempt to appear unbiased (not an idea I am in favor of).

I noticed the writer of the "silly" article did throw a zinger back at me, and so what. Cya next time. For me that means Yosemite next Feb. or so. I have better things to do till then. Like consider my vote for next President.
Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 06, 2008 04:44AM
It should go without saying that not every paper is pushing out sloppy factory journalism, and those that do are not equal in the level of their offenses, but I'll say it anyway.

But would you agree that in the big picture, the overall trend is toward sloppy, superficial reporting and unsubstantiated "facts" moreso than it leans toward producing high-quality, well-referenced material?

I have the opposite problem with the attention span issue. Most stories are compressed pieces relying on short, out-of-context sound bytes, and true in-depth reporting is becomming less common.

Sometimes it seems like more time is spent coming up with trite puns in a failed attempt to appear clever than is spent working on the quality of the pieces.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 06, 2008 05:46AM
The article refers to "a string of deaths last year". How many deaths is needed to make a string?

Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 06, 2008 07:13AM
>How many deaths is needed to make a string?

That would depend on the manner in which you braid the bodies together.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 06, 2008 07:19AM
Mixolydian wrote:

> That would depend on the manner in which you braid the bodies
> together.

I resisted bringing that up. But seriously, how many people died on Half Dome last year. All I could find was one guy that fell on the cables and another that was heading to Half Dome and died from a heart attack.

Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 06, 2008 08:00AM
I thought there were 3 deaths from falling off the dome in 2007, 2 of them being before the cables were up, and then that guy who fell off the cables while taking a picture, and that before 2007, it had been many years since anyone died form faling off. I'm not sure about en route deaths.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 06, 2008 09:09AM
Upon reading the article, I just assumed that the newspaper was a subsidiary of Fox News.
Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 06, 2008 04:58PM
szalkowski wrote:

> Upon reading the article, I just assumed that the newspaper was
> a subsidiary of Fox News.

Well, let's not single out just one of the networks. If you think MSNBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, or CBS (let alone PBS) is any better, you are severely mistaken. Everyone of them has MAJOR biases. It just depends upon your point of view. Ask Hillary if she thinks she got fair treatment from MSNBC (the "I-got-a-tingle-down-my-leg-for-Obama" network). They love Obama and they don't even care who knows it.

If it is true that MSNBC gave press credentials to Code Pink members to break into McCain's speech, then journalism has truly lost its way. The Code Pink members said they were able to break into the acceptance speech because of the IDs given to them by one of the networks. If you had to bet, it would be MSNBC.

I'm not here to defend any network, let alone Fox. But szalkowski needs to go find his seeing-eye dog and cane if the thinks ANY of the networks are truly objective. It's all entertainment these days and Edward R. Murrows no longer exist...even though Olbermann thinks he is the reincartion of both Murrow and Cronkite. Sorry, I just hope we don't have any children on this fine forum who think that only Fox News is "unfair and unbalanced." They ALL are. Unlike szalkowski, I'm not naive enough to think that only FOX has political leanings. I wish they would all just report the news and let the public decide.





Bill
avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 06, 2008 08:01PM
Mixolydian wrote:

> I thought there were 3 deaths from falling off the dome in
> 2007, 2 of them being before the cables were up,

Deaths from before the cables were up hardly qualify for what the article was talking about.

avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 06, 2008 08:57AM
Maybe we should tell the guy to write an article about the state of
the Campgrounds in the Valley... then maybe he would get 51 emails.

I was very tempted to have the wife write to him:

"Thank you for the very informative, well written article on Half Dome.
I could not agree more, I cried like a baby as I inched my way up
the cables while watching my husband go outside the safety of
them and scoot around people to the top.
I told him it was dangerous and everyone else that would listen but,
alas, 2 weeks ago at Mt. Watkins I noticed the Park Service has
continued to put anyone that dares to in a death grip.
Please continue your crusade to keeps us safe. Obviously we are
not smart enough."

On a more serious note. The Death in Yosemite 3 most deadly are:
- El Cap
- Merced River
- Ledge Trail

It would be actually quite interesting to find out how many people
actually fell off the cables when they were up. (i.e. if you jump off
HD or get hit by Lightning up there you don't get counted, and if
the stanchions aren't up too bad on you too).

Anyway, I'll check it out from my weekend "cheap seat".
Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 06, 2008 01:07PM
bill-e-g wrote:
> It would be actually quite interesting to find out how many
> people
> actually fell off the cables when they were up. (i.e. if you
> jump off
> HD or get hit by Lightning up there you don't get counted, and
> if
> the stanchions aren't up too bad on you too).

I could be wrong, but I thought that last year's fall from the cables by a (Japanese?) tourist was the first death from falling at the cables (the two previous ones were with cables down, so don't count). I don't think it's likely someone would fall and survive, so that's not a bad safety record.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 06, 2008 02:49PM
Mixo is a piss ant, pay no mention
Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 07, 2008 02:32AM
>Mixo is a piss ant, pay no mention

Thanks Vince. I appreciate the kindness. I guess I must have offended you by disagreeing or something. But is it necessary or appropriate to make it personal? This is normally a rather polite forum where people don't get personal, so your comments are surprising.

>Deaths from before the cables were up hardly qualify
>for what the article was talking about.

Fair enough. In any case, the half dome deaths are minimal, which is pretty amazing given the crowds and the nature of the cable climb.

Has there been talk of adding another set of cables? I think it would make things a lot easier to deal with if one set was for going up and one was for going down. I wonder if there's enough room to safely add another set.
Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 07, 2008 05:08AM
Mixolydian wrote:
> Has there been talk of adding another set of cables? I think
> it would make things a lot easier to deal with if one set was
> for going up and one was for going down. I wonder if there's
> enough room to safely add another set.

On the other hand, maybe the single set of often-crowded cables serves as a regulating device. For those who really want to go up Half Dome, it's still very feasible, you just can't leave in the summer after a nice Ahwahnee breakfast and expect to walk right up. For those willing to get up very early, or to adjust their visit so they'll have a less-crowded time, the cables are at least tolerable (though getting back down at 2PM could be a little frustrating).

A new set of cables might encourage more people to head up that aren't ready, for the 17-mile hike or for the height issue that bothers a lot of people...would it make things worse?

It also slows traffic down...to where impatient ones may not bother going up because of the slowpokes. Which is probably good. Unless accidents start happening, maybe it's best to leave things alone.

Of course, you can also figure there are already three lanes...one inside, two outside "passing lanes"...8^)





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 07, 2008 05:45AM
More cables? Come one; come all. Bring all your neighbors. Make sure it's a weekend w/ threatening weather. Get started at 10AM. Beat your brains out on a liesurely 16-mile RT stroll up a 4,436' traffic jam. Wear flip-flops. Please--no food or water. Manic depressives--cut your trip miles in half! Optional items: Umbrellas and lightening arresters. Whoopee!

Couldn't resist.

Jim

avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 07, 2008 09:28AM
Moo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mgv-SeXO7Q

I did not choose the URL, sorry. But I *almost* went to Yosemite instead of North San Juan.

And back here in time for lunch smiling smiley
avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 07, 2008 10:03AM
And something to scare the cows on Half Dome:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKkaYIfdLPQ

Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 07, 2008 02:39PM
From 1971 through August 2007, there have been nine fatal falls from the cables, three in 2007[7]. On June 16, 2007, Hirofumi Nohara, a native of Japan working in Sunnyvale, California, slipped and plunged 300 feet (91 m) to his death.[7][9].

I cross checked this with a San Jose Mercury story and a book about Half Dome.
Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 07, 2008 03:52PM
I've been scouring the Internet and found many different stats about death on Half Dome.

I agree with what some say ... but generalizing it as a "new problem" or comparing a small daily newspaper to Fox News is gibberish.

I'm a 25-year-old journalist trying to get better at what I do daily ... the pressure of deadlines in a declining newspaper biz, where far fewer reporters are trying to fill a newspaper is a problem.

Almost every newspaper is making cuts. I wrote 13 stories last week -- this is just reality.

I'm good at what I do for how long I've been doing it ... I agree I was being defensive when I said that the story was the best I've seen. I don't compare to Peter Fimrite ... but I can almost assure you that someone working on the Chronicle and a young journalist on a small-county daily do not have the same amount of time to write stories.

Mistakes happen everyday. Once again, it's easy to bash from the cheap seats. I do the best I can while working 60-hour weeks making around $20,000 a year. There seems to be a lot of anger going on this "message board" not blog. I'm sorry if my mistakes caused this. I will learn from them and do better.

I'm going to stop defending myself because it's not professional. I shouldn't be writing on this message board.

I think everyone needs a hug.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 07, 2008 04:37PM
jdamschroder wrote:

> I'm good at what I do for how long I've been doing it ... I
> agree I was being defensive when I said that the story was the
> best I've seen. I don't compare to Peter Fimrite ... but I can
> almost assure you that someone working on the Chronicle and a
> young journalist on a small-county daily do not have the same
> amount of time to write stories.

When you wrote that down, you don't really think any of us who have read dozens of newpaper columns and articles on Half Dome wouldn't respond? We realize compiling numbers of deaths is a difficult and lengthy task, and I didn't see anyone calling you out for that. However - we can point out really good articles on Half Dome, including the following by the SF Chronicle's former outdoors writer Paul McHugh.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/a/2004/09/23/SPGDG8TIDJ1.DTL

The idea of building a new set of cables isn't going to fly.

Quote

"It's an amazing adventure, but one people shouldn't underestimate," [Yosemite wilderness manager Ranger Laurel] Boyers said. "The cable climb is unique, but a daunting opportunity. That sort of facility could never be installed in a park wilderness now."

> I think everyone needs a hug.

Nobody here needs a hug. We go at each other all the time and realize that it's not personal. That's the nature of message boards.

You should do a little reading of newspaper columnists with their own actual blogs with reader comments sections afterwards. The columnists rarely respond directly, as it invites numerous inquiries when people find out who's reading it. I've seen the occasional defense of one's writing, and it got ugly quickly.

avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 08, 2008 12:16AM
9 deaths in 36 years.

If cables were only up for 3 months:
Very light estimate = 90*50*36 = 162,000 people
And that is VERY LOW estimate.

Probably half a million people have been up there since '71.
Now make your own conclusions...
One point I was trying to make was that the media instills fear
into people the way they report things. "someone died on XYZ"
so XYZ is obviously dangerous...

And.... here's my "cheap seat":


And, no, that is not Tuolumne Meadows in the background.
(taken from Mt. Watkins)
Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 08, 2008 07:47AM
That's a nice angle view of Half Dome...shows the route taken by many dropped water bottles 8^).

I think that estimate is more than just VERY low. I read some time ago of the numbers that went up annually, and I think it's in the hundreds of thousands, but again I'd have to check. Mid-May through September and part of October would be about 140-150 days per year, and fifty a day is probably good until 11AM on a really slow day 8^).

But I still dispute the nine deaths attributed to being on the cables. Two of last year's three were with the cables down; they're put down for several reasons, one of them being so people won't use them. If I tell you not to shave in the bathtub with your electric razor, and you do, no one can blame the razor...so I don't think that counting deaths when the cables aren't up is valid.

That leaves one death last year, and it's the first I've heard about that I recall. How many of the other 6 were with cables up? And how many of those (if there were any) were due to heart attack or other physical problems unrelated to the safety of the setup? I'm not so sure those should be counted either, when assessing the safety of the current cable system.

I had taken a quick look through my Death in Yosemite book hoping to find any info about Half Dome deaths, but I couldn't find anything quickly, except of course the Darwin-principled lightning deaths of a few years back, which of course have nothing to do with cables.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 08, 2008 09:33AM
Really like that photo. People look like ants marching to the top, and you can see them all lined up on the edge looking over. A high resolution image of this scene, of which you probably have, must really bring them up close and personal.

To the author of that article, I am guessing that if you were to look at everything you ever write in the future over and over, you would always find things to refine. And perhaps one day after you were fired from your current position because you weren't productive enough, you could say you finally had a finished product you liked.

But, not everyone will be happy with it. You could refine your article every day for a year and you could still find someone that would want to have a debate over some small item otherwise lost in the cannon of text. Lol. Or, in the case of a message board like this, you will find someone who will will rip you a new ____, as the saying goes.

Such is life, right?

By the way, are you at the same pay grade as Tom Steinstra(sp?) of the SF Chronicle?

Oh, I thought not. So, knowing that, as far as I'm concerned, you're forgiven.



Post Edited (09-08-08 16:41)



mark2
Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 10, 2008 05:35AM
....As long as we're on the subject "Half Dome Hike Safety"....Safety being the word,...the cables are there for a reason. So we and a million other people (not all on the same day I hope) can get up there in a safe manner. If they werent there, can you imagine how many would try (after seeing someone else do it--it's the lemming thing ya know) and skip like a flat rock on water down to the bushes below? And yes I know, Ive been there a few times (B.G......."before gloves"winking smiley it's steep in some spots,..and part of the way it seems like the cables are not needed. still they are there for a purpose. What drives the individual to go outside the safety of the cables, is the same thing that drives people to tailgate, pass on the shoulder, and constantly change lanes....impatience. Talk about writing the article in two hours,....you'd think some "need to get there and back" in two hours. If youre that short on time,...dont go. But before I get too far "out there",..heres a little something that hits right on the subject matter. I noticed an add on page 14, in the Aug. 2008 National Geographic Adventure mag. (this month) Redwood Wines has their "California Trailblazer" (some guy named Dan) in the add, standing just "outside" the cables. Most people wouldnt even notice this, but many who enjoy the outdoors, and adventure mags like this one would. The picture next to that one, is Dan pouring a big glass of wine. Nice example of safety Dan. Maybe Dan and his "Adventure Photographer" had too much Pinot in the tent the night before, and couldnt figure out which side of the cables he should be on! Maybe he saw the much wished for "second set of cables"! I dont know, it just seems a little odd to me to have that in an add. It would be different if the cables werent there at all,...dont ya think?
Russ
Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 11, 2008 05:11AM
Hey bill-e-g:

Thanks for the shot from Mt. Watkins. I hadn't seen that one before. I've taken a lot of pictures from the saddle, but they fail to show the degree of incline like your picture does.

This forum continues to provide some of the best Yosemite information on the web! Thanks again!

Bill





Bill
avatar Re: Half Dome Hike Safety
September 11, 2008 03:01PM
In 2000 at Glacier Point me and my brother looked at Half Dome and said "no way" to each other at the same time.

Five years later we were standing on top of Half Dome. And lived to tell about it.

Great shot from Mt. Watkins! Maybe someday for me... Right now...Mt St Helens rim shot. Cya Monday
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