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Re: Hiker Ledged-Out Overnight on Basket Dome

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avatar Hiker Ledged-Out Overnight on Basket Dome
July 03, 2015 01:12AM
From Yosemite Search and Rescue (YOSAR):
Hiker Ledged-Out Overnight on Basket Dome
July 02, 2015

On Monday, June 29, a 27-year-old male got himself into quite a cliff-hanger, literally. In Yosemite Search and Rescue (YOSAR) language, we simply call this becoming "ledged-out." While this might seem unrealistic on a simple hike, it is a very real possibility at Yosemite National Park and this spring and summer has already proven how easy it is to become ledged-out on our steep granite cliffs.

From the beginning: A hiker embarks up the Yosemite Falls trail on an apparently routine hike. He does not have a detailed plan but intends to work his way above the Valley toward North Dome and eventually return to the Valley floor by way of the Snow Creek trail.

So far so good, until our hiker runs out of water and thirst sets in around the Basket Dome area. From the trail, he sees the Merced River coursing through the Valley below. Lack of water, thirst, high temperatures, and a view of the cool water below induces a revised plan: abandon the established trail and begin a descent straight to the Valley. The descent, though not technical at first, is often difficult, enough so that it is necessary to slide in places (a big clue that reversing course is becoming impossible).

An on-going error during the descent is neglecting to ever look back to see where he is coming from when returning to the trail might still be an option. Eventually, the hiker arrives at a cliff that is not possible to descend. Lateral movement to his right and left are not negotiable and the route he just invented is so steep that going back up is impossible.

In short, our hiker is now alone, thirsty, without water, and hopelessly ledged-out with nightfall approaching.

Eventually, other visitors hear cries for help; at 7:30 that night, Yosemite Emergency Communications Center receives a 911 call and dispatches a YOSAR technical team. Due to terrain difficulty, YOSAR is not able to reach the hiker until the following day. YOSAR successfully completed a high-angle rescue later on Tuesday afternoon.


Lessons Learned

First: have a solid plan and stick with it. An essential part of route planning involves assessing water and nutrition requirements for the distance and possible conditions on your planned route. This leads to the second lesson learned, which is to carry more than enough water to complete your hike. Finally—and this theme recurs again and again with Yosemite SARs: stay on the established trail. Although continuing with the original route without water risked further dehydration, water would have been reached sooner than awaiting rescuers the next day and perhaps our hiker would have encountered a kind person on the trail willing to spare a little water.

Once our hiker realized his predicament, he remained in place and awaited rescue. While this solution may seem obvious, there have been other desperate ledged-out hikers in this park who suffered fatal falls by trying to force an impossible solution.

In short, make a plan, prepare for proper completion of your plan, stick with your plan, and stay on the trail.



http://www.nps.gov/yose/blogs/Hiker-Ledged-Out-Overnight-on-Basket-Dome.htm



avatar Re: Hiker Ledged-Out Overnight on Basket Dome
July 03, 2015 11:00AM
I'm guessing that this happened in the the gully just to the west of Basket Dome? I can't find that place written up in any of wherever's off-topic hikes, which to my mind is proof enough of it not being passable via scramble. Lucky fella.
Re: Hiker Ledged-Out Overnight on Basket Dome
July 06, 2015 07:59PM
I think the pink bird tried to descend the gully that's to the northeast of Basket and gave up--after losing a camera. I believe the gully to the west of Basket is above the top of the "North Dome Gully" route--but per wherever it doesn't seem like you can get to that route from higher up easily, nor would it be easy to descend that route w/o prior experience.
avatar Re: Hiker Ledged-Out Overnight on Basket Dome
July 06, 2015 08:12PM
From the pix he is stuck far west of Basket Dome...

I've gone down the gully NE of Basket Dome twice... once losing spare camera...
once not finding spare camera...
The first time ... tried going up gully... but proved that even chick-on's can't fly
thru Manz..



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Hiker Ledged-Out Overnight on Basket Dome
July 23, 2015 09:41PM
Quote
basilbop
I think the pink bird tried to descend the gully that's to the northeast of Basket and gave up--after losing a camera. I believe the gully to the west of Basket is above the top of the "North Dome Gully" route--but per wherever it doesn't seem like you can get to that route from higher up easily, nor would it be easy to descend that route w/o prior experience.

Sorry, I was out of the country when this thread ran, and I missed it.

Thanks for the citation. Some weeks after the cited trip, my buddy became dissatisfied with our not having gotten up the passage between North Dome and Basket Dome. He came back and did it in the downhill direction. His conclusion was, "Never again as a hike". It combines very steep brush with very steep slick rock that is coated with loose dirt. He carried some climbing rope for this solo descent to our previous route, and he used it several times. He then descended the North Dome Gully to the valley floor.

My buddy is a rock climber. He did the classic route up Cathedral Peak last week. He is not bothered much by exposure. If he says that this is a completely worthless hiking route, believe him. However, he also says that with a climbing partner, it might be easy to miss the grunge by staying on the flank of North Dome and treat it as a rock climb. He thinks that it might possibly be a very easy rock climb. Or not.

The picture attached to the article suggests that this was the place. Maybe it's a stock photo. I don't see how you could be attracted to go down to Tenaya Creek from there. Based on the words only, I would have placed him at one of Chick-on's descent routes on the other side of Basket Dome. Those look more possible from above, but require a traverse hard left through steep brush, or you will get ledged-out....

Maybe someone who knows the SAR people could get a better location. In any case, to head down that way without doing a previous reconnaissance is crazy.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/24/2015 02:39PM by wherever.
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