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Three Visitors Swept Over Vernal Fall in Yosemite National Park

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avatar 3 People die
July 20, 2011 08:07AM
really really sad to see that 3 people fell to their deaths on Vernal Falls....

i have to say, every time i've been there, i have always seen someone do something sooooooo risky, that it scares me to death. i've seen people jump over the barrier (at the top of the falls) trying to be cool and show off (stupid stupid stupid !!!!!!!).

on the news, a young boy (i'm guessing about 12 yrs old) witnessed the whole thing... he saw them go over the falls.... poor kid, probably going to have some nightmares over that one.
Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 08:21AM
Yikes! People are crazy...I have a great respect for those falls and the Mist Trail. The MT scares the crap out of me.
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 08:54AM
A very sad situation indeed. I too have seen dangerous situations on every visit to this spot. My heart goes out to their families and to all those traumatized by having to witness the event!

Sometimes all the signs and railings in the world are not enough!
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 09:54AM
Quote
Jayabrams
Sometimes all the signs and railings in the world are not enough!

If Yosemite officials are interested in saving a few extra lives each summer, they might want to consider assigning one or two law enforcement rangers to be stationed in the area around the Emerald Pool and the brink of Vernal Falls ready to cite anyone who tries to do foolish things that could ultimately lead to their deaths, instead of having them stationed along the Yosemite roads with radar guns ready to cite speeders.

While speeding in the park is dangerous, and the LE rangers should still work to cite these speeders, in terms of saving actual lives, I think having one or two LE rangers stationed at these death zone hot spots during the peak visitation of Vernal Falls (mid-morning to late afternoon during the spring and summer months) could probably save the lives of several park visitors each year, and send the message to would be idiots that dangerous behavior in and around the Mist Trail won't be tolerated.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/20/2011 12:42PM by plawrence.
Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 11:18AM
Pay rangers to station in the hot spots during peak times to warn people how stupid and dangerous things are?
How about we not do that. How about we just let the less intelligent remove themselves from the gene pool. Let nature run its course. Natural selection at work?
Why don't we just assign one ranger to each park visitor?
These 3 people (3 people according to the MSNBC article) were just 3 young people out to enjoy the park, and guess what-- they did something incredibly stupid. They paid for it. They deserved it. That is simple fact.

You want to avoid the lesson-teaching ability of their foolishness to be looked over, or to be disregarded--- by responding by assigning more rangers, or posting more warning signs, guardrails etc? I don't think such measures are warranted.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/20/2011 11:30AM by herosemblem.
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 11:36AM
Quote
herosemblem
Pay rangers to station in the hot spots during peak times to warn people how stupid and dangerous things are?
How about we not do that. How about we just let the less intelligent remove themselves from the gene pool. Let nature run its course. Natural selection at work?
Why don't we just assign one ranger to each park visitor?

That view is consistent with 19th century occupational and environmental injury prevention. Many "unsolvable" problems that were due to "stupid and dangerous" human behaviors have existed, been studied, and reasonably effective solutions found. Life jackets, safety glass, seat belts, airbags, bear canisters, helmets, swimming lessons, roadside reflectors, paint on roadways, guard rails, baby crib design, etc.. It is recently fashionable to argue that "freedom" means the right to get killed or injured through ignorance or under conditions that could be modified by minimal education, structural changes or social investments. Personally, I do not subscribe to that "hopeless/helpless" view that public health problems cannot be ameliorated or solved often with remarkably inexpensive interventions.
Re: 3 People die
July 25, 2011 08:09PM
Quote
plawrence
Quote
Jayabrams
Sometimes all the signs and railings in the world are not enough!

If Yosemite officials are interested in saving a few extra lives each summer, they might want to consider assigning one or two law enforcement rangers to be stationed in the area around the Emerald Pool and the brink of Vernal Falls ready to cite anyone who tries to do foolish things that could ultimately lead to their deaths, instead of having them stationed along the Yosemite roads with radar guns ready to cite speeders.

.

I was up top Vernal/Nevada falls the day after the three fatalities; the park had an SAR guy up there, not to mention a surprising number of rangers positioned at various locations along [both] routes; I think it was a temporary situation.
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 09:07AM
I think I've felt safer on the cables than I have at the edge of Emerald Pool during high flow. I've seen the book "Death in Yosemite" referred to a few times, I'm thinking the percentage of preventable deaths listed in the book has to be in the 90s, maybe high 90s. What's bad about yesterday's deaths is it appears two people died trying to help the first, another thing that was pointed out in that book.
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 09:16AM
"Death in Yosemite" is a good read.
Should be required reading for Yosemite visitors/enthusiasts.
It makes it very clear that you need to stay out of the water, especially in that area, which is a hot zone for deaths.
Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 11:59AM
I watched a video clip a while ago from a couple of witnesses to this incident. I think it was the other way around, where the father and mother went over the rail and when they slipped another family member tried to help them. Regardless, it was a foolish move and now there are family and friends grieving.
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 21, 2011 06:02PM
Yeah, I was there in Yosemite. (Fortunately, not at the top of Vernal Falls) It was not two trying to save one, tho some are now spinning it that way to be more positive about it. The two were out there in the water posing for a picture when one slipped and the other tried to help, and they both went in. So, yes, while the 2nd was trying to help, the 2nd was already out in the water where they shouldn't have been, so it wasn't really very heroic at that point. They were both out in the water where they had waded out to a rock for a picture. The 3rd did enter the water to try and help and slipped.

Nevertheless, very sad. sad smiley I know the spot very well, as an annual visitor to that very spot and to Yosemite many times a year. People are so foolish. Interesting to see the different accounts and read posters posting false info and then reactions based on the false info.

There have been Mist Trail deaths on my last three visits to Yosemite and not all are even reported in the news articles I am reading, which is also a little interesting, like the lady who died last May and wasn't found until July and I see no mention of that anywhere.

Wish people would be more careful.
Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 09:29AM
Death in Yosemite is a great read and after reading it, news like these 3 don't surprise me. And you have to know that you can't save someone once they've gone to close too far into the river near the falls. It's a shame. The rule of thumb that I always learned was that if a river is moving faster than you can walk next to it, then it is too fast to be swimming in.
Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 09:30AM
Quote
forrestranger
on the news, a young boy (i'm guessing about 12 yrs old) witnessed the whole thing... he saw them go over the falls.... poor kid, probably going to have some nightmares over that one.
I think I might have seen the same interview as you. Video here: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/43815801/ns/us_news-life/
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 10:14AM
Quote
bbb
Quote
forrestranger
on the news, a young boy (i'm guessing about 12 yrs old) witnessed the whole thing... he saw them go over the falls.... poor kid, probably going to have some nightmares over that one.

I think I might have seen the same interview as you. Video here: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/43815801/ns/us_news-life/

The Today Show (or MSNBC) ought to fix the headline of their web article. The three did NOT go over Yosemite Falls, they went over Vernal Falls.
Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 09:50AM
Thank you for posting the link to the Today show segment. That poor little boy... my God. I can't imagine witnessing something so harrowing and not being able to do anything to prevent it or rescue them.

I'm saddened and shocked that hikers wouldn't have known better than to avoid the falls or to get anywhere near them, even in low water conditions. Such a tragedy could have been avoided by a more judicious "stay the heck away from there" attitude.

I'm actually surprised that there haven't been more deaths on the Mist Trail steps in themselves, especially when they're crowded. The worst section are the really high steps (some about 25 inches high), towards the top. I've been there several times over Labor Day weekend, returning from a JMT hike and you have tourists coming up in droves, kids pushing, people acting insane. I'm amazed there aren't more people falling from the steps and breaking a leg, at the very least.
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 09:55AM
Quote
Ulysses61

I'm actually surprised that there haven't been more deaths on the Mist Trail steps in themselves, especially when they're crowded. The worst section are the really high steps (some about 25 inches high), towards the top. I've been there several times over Labor Day weekend, returning from a JMT hike and you have tourists coming up in droves, kids pushing, people acting insane. I'm amazed there aren't more people falling from the steps and breaking a leg, at the very least.

I've had the same thoughts too in regards to the Mist Trail.
Re: 3 People die
July 23, 2011 07:59PM
Quote
plawrence
Quote
Ulysses61

I'm actually surprised that there haven't been more deaths on the Mist Trail steps in themselves, especially when they're crowded. The worst section are the really high steps (some about 25 inches high), towards the top. I've been there several times over Labor Day weekend, returning from a JMT hike and you have tourists coming up in droves, kids pushing, people acting insane. I'm amazed there aren't more people falling from the steps and breaking a leg, at the very least.

I've had the same thoughts too in regards to the Mist Trail.


I never take the mist trail, bad knees.
Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 12:12PM
My worst experience was when I was leaving the top and going down the steps along the cliff where the railing is. There was a group of kids, I'm guessing between ten and fifteen years of age, that felt it was necessary to race each other down those steps. I was holding on to the railing and when I got hit from behind, found myself very grateful that it was there.

The other frightening experience was when I was on the granite slab up near Emerald Pool. The stone was so slick that I slipped and almost fell. I wasn't near the water, but I could have very easily ended up with a broken arm if I hadn't regained my balance.
Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 12:19PM
I've seen a lot of comments about how they should put up a fence and signs warning of the danger. I found this video that was shot last month. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the railing and the danger sign still appear to be there. My favorites parts are 1:10 to 1:50, and 2:20 to 2:55...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQpHGO9CQf0



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/20/2011 12:33PM by SierraGold.
Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 09:55AM
We make a huge deal out of deaths on Half Dome - granted 20+ is too many - but there have been more than 60 total, most on the trail up to Half Dome. Which is in part the Mist Trail. Mostly falling into the water.

The lack of hiking experience, the lack of awareness of the risks they are taking, plus the steep, slippery granite steps = tragedy.

Really sad hearing how many have died this year on that section of trail.
Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 12:33PM
And, speaking of Half Dome... I wonder how many deals this guy made with God before he was rescued?

http://www.hikehalfdome.com/images/fall_best.JPG
Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 11:44AM
just put an electrical fence

treat the idiots like dogs and zap them
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 12:39PM
Quote
sactown23
just put an electrical fence

treat the idiots like dogs and zap them

Make them all wear shock collars?
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 06:10PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
sactown23
just put an electrical fence

treat the idiots like dogs and zap them

Make them all wear shock collars?


Lots of potential here.
Re: 3 People die
July 23, 2011 08:00PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
sactown23
just put an electrical fence

treat the idiots like dogs and zap them

Make them all wear shock collars?


Hand them out at the park entrances.
Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 12:55PM
Even worse than the Mist Trail is the shoulder section about one mile past the Mist Trail. This is the granite section which leads up the restrooms and then Little Yosemite Valley.

I refuse to do that section anymore coming downhill and opt for the JMT instead. You have tons of non-hikers on that section, loitering, yelling, not understanding how to yield to uphill hikers, and generally behaving in a manner inconsistent with "hiker etiquette." I've seen teenage boys push their companions as a joke, and one false move there going downhill can be your last. I really wish The Yosemite Fund would work on this granite step section, because it's dangerous when many people congregate there and the footing is almost treacherous in spots. Going up is no problem, but going down.. sheesh!
Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 01:08PM
this seems appropriate

There are no new accidents, only new victims.
avatar Three Visitors Swept Over Vernal Fall in Yosemite National Park
July 20, 2011 01:40PM
Three Visitors Swept Over Vernal Fall in Yosemite National Park
Date: July 20, 2011

Group of Family and Friends on Day Trip to Yosemite

Three visitors are presumed dead after plunging over Vernal Fall in Yosemite National Park yesterday afternoon at approximately 1:30 p.m. Hormiz David, 22 year old male, of Modesto, CA, Ninos Yacoub, 27 year old male, of Turlock, CA, and Ramina Badal, 21 year old female, of Modesto, CA, came to the park for a day trip with a group of family and friends.

The group was witnessed entering the water above Vernal Fall, approximately 25 feet from the precipice. Witnesses reported to park officials that several people urged the group member to step back from the river, since it was flowing swiftly and extremely cold. The area is signed as a dangerous area, and the group had crossed a metal guardrail placed there to keep visitors away from the dangerous fast moving water.

The park is still seeing the effects of a huge winter snowpack and a cool spring and summer. The Merced River, which feeds the 317 foot Vernal Fall, is still running at spring conditions with significant water levels resulting in a swift, dangerous current. The hike up the Mist Trail to Vernal Fall is one of the most popular hikes in the park, with upwards of 1,500 people per day ascending the trail to the top of Vernal Fall.

Visitors are urged to exercise extreme caution around all water in Yosemite National Park. Park rivers and streams have been running at higher than normal levels for this time of year, and will remain high for several weeks.

There have been six water related deaths in Yosemite National Park this year, including this incident. Two hikers drowned in the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir on June 29, 2011, and a hiker slipped and fell into the Merced River on the Mist Trail on May 13, 2011.

The Mist Trail had been closed since the incident to facilitate Search and Rescue Operations. The trail has now reopened. Yosemite National Park Rangers will continue search efforts throughout the day. These efforts consist primarily of combing each side of the Merced River looking for the victims.

Over the years, there have been several cases of visitors going over Vernal Fall, as well as other waterfalls, such as Upper Yosemite Fall.
Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 04:08PM
My son likes to try and run ahead of me, going down the Mist Trail (he was about 12 or 13 back then). I screamed at him...the thng was dry ( sand over granite is slick) and it still scares the crap out of me. One false move and it's over...kids (young boys) think they're invincible. He's 16 now, and I have been telling him about all the deaths (in Yosemite this year), to try to make him aware for a September trip. I take that hike very seriously.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/20/2011 04:14PM by Red Lipstick.
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 04:21PM
Quote
Red Lipstick
My son likes to try and run ahead of me, going down the Mist Trail (he was about 12 or 13 back then). I screamed at him...the thng was dry ( sand over granite is slick) and it still scares the crap out of me. One false move and it's over...kids (young boys) think they're invincible. He's 16 now, and I have been telling him about all the deaths (in Yosemite this year), to try to make him aware for a September trip. I take that hike very seriously.

Some years ago friends of mine witnessed an event in Yellowstone one winter that involved an excited boy who ran ahead of his parents to the edge of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone near Artist's Point, slipped on the ice at the edge and fell to his death.
Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 04:12PM
I read that the couple was urging their kids to come join them for a picture when they slipped. Glad it happened before the kids got there.
Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 06:46PM
Quote
Witnesses reported to park officials that several people urged the group member to step back from the river, since it was flowing swiftly and extremely cold. The area is signed as a dangerous area, and the group had crossed a metal guardrail placed there to keep visitors away from the dangerous fast moving water.

Well, sadly, that says it all. I'm sorry for the tragedy, but this could have been prevented. And their kids were witnessing it? Geez.
Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 06:49PM
I was on the mist trail yesterday morning enroute to HDome. At the top of Vernal, I can attest signs are all there, and clearly visible. The water coming down the apron was just screaming fast. As I walked by that area, my thought was "only an idiot would step foot into that...". If you climb past a warning sign that CLEARLY shows the icon of people falling over the edge, then you've voluntarily classified yourself as an idiot. I feel bad for the people that died. I feel bad for the families. If feel far worse for the people that had to witness the horror of someone going over the edge.

As a note; they weren't the only people to die in the park yesterday. Apparently a group of 7 young kids that had been out on a weeklong backpacking trip were all piled in a van driving home along Tioga Pass road when the driver fell asleep at the wheel. The van went off the road and was 'completely destroyed' according to a park worker I spoke with this morning. A 16 year old passenger died in the accident. This to me was far sadder than the 3 waterfall deaths, in that these were not idiots, rather just young kids who were probably just exhausted and wanted to get home. My old bosses were killed in an accident that was fueled by the same desire, pushing too hard to get somewhere (home) rather than slowing down and waiting one extra nite before traveling.



Gary Crabbe
Enlightened Images

"Nearness to Nature keeps the Spirit sensitive to impressions not commonly felt, and in touch with unseen powers." - Oyihesa; Santee Dakota indian, from his book, Soul of the Indian (1911)
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 09:35PM
My prayers go out to the family. The 3 hikers were from the local Assyrian-American community. My cousin was doing some research on the Assyrian community to twitter something and we found something really interesting.

But it is really sad for the families and the small Assyrian community.
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 10:01PM
The victims were part of a church group that went up to Yosemite for the day.

Here's a story from the local Modesto Bee newspaper that fills in a bit more about who they were:

Modesto Bee: Families of Vernal Fall victims grief-stricken, hold out hope
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 21, 2011 12:15AM
And here's the link of the San Francisco Chronicle's article about the tragedy with a more detailed description about what happened from an eyewitness:

S.F. Chronicle: Yosemite -- 3 presumed dead, swept over Vernal Fall
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 11:15PM
The young woman slipped and fell in first, the two men fell in trying to save her. They were all urged to move away from the water. At least that is what I heard in a news story. But who knows whats right, other than what the outcome is. Bottom line, don't "F" with the falls. Or ledges, edges...etc. It's hard to explain to youths, and I can only thank that I made it though the multiple stupid things I did as a kid and young man. Now with two kids of my own, I fear their youthfull stupidity. You can only do your best in teaching them the dangers of such things, and hope for the best as well....and a little luck always helps!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/20/2011 11:16PM by ab2ski.
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 11:35PM
I think most of us have seen Vernal, maybe even recently with the very high water. Here is a video someone shot just a few weeks ago. A good look and reminder of how crazy this is.

http://youtu.be/fQpHGO9CQf0
Re: 3 People die
July 21, 2011 05:32AM
That's the same link I posted farther up in this thread. Awesome video, huh? How anyone would dare to get near that water is beyond me.
Re: 3 People die
July 20, 2011 11:56PM
What a needless tragedy. I feel so bad for their friends, family and also the people who witnessed it.
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 21, 2011 09:28AM
one of the victims (the woman) is from my little ol' town (Manteca).. here below is what my local paper said today.


According to the Associated Press story, the horrifying incident happened when a man and a woman crossed a metal barricade above the 317-foot Vernal Fall and made their way over slick granite to a rock in the middle of the swift Merced River.

As the horrified people watched, Ramina slipped and one of the men reached for her. As he did so, he also fell in. Another man in the group of about 10 people then tried to help but he, too, fell into the water. The horrified onlookers could only watch helplessly as the rushing water swept all three students over the edge of the waterfall.


not to sound insensitive, but what in the world were they thinking???!!!! that they were the exception to the rule that you can jump over the barrier and take risks like that??!! for a photo???!!!

get this.... years ago, i saw a man go over the barrier, and grabbed the lowest bar, and tangled over the falls area thinking he was cool. what a total idiot!!!! i was the one who first saw him, and so i softly (so i wouldn't scare him and he drop to his death!!) asked him to please come back up, when he did and was ok, i read him the riot act!!!!



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/21/2011 09:31AM by forrestranger.
Re: 3 People die
July 21, 2011 10:05AM
Did anyone listen to the spokesperson for the families from the Modesto Bee article. She felt betrayed and it is unfair and bringing an attorney etc. because there wasn't more of a rescue effort. What she needed to be saying was thanking everyone for their efforts and sorry about the idiotic actions of her family members that lead to this.
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 21, 2011 10:46AM
Yeah, I saw that on the Modesto Bee's video clip. Honestly, there's not much to search for if by miracles they had survived the tumble since to do so, they would had to be above the waterline next to the rocks or the river shore. I'm sure Yosemite SAR crews would have spotted them if that was the case. Don't know what else the Park Service could do? Unfortunately, in similar situations the bodies have not shown up until weeks later after the water level has subsided. Very sad for the relative and friends of the victims, but there's not much else that can be done right now.

Maybe the family is wondering why the Park Service didn't search longer as they did for the still missing Southern California man who disappeared near the top of Upper Yosemite Fall.
Re: 3 People die
July 21, 2011 12:02PM
Quote
plawrence
Yeah, I saw that on the Modesto Bee's video clip. Honestly, there's not much to search for if by miracles they had survived the tumble since to do so, they would had to be above the waterline next to the rocks or the river shore. I'm sure Yosemite SAR crews would have spotted them if that was the case. Don't know what else the Park Service could do? Unfortunately, in similar situations the bodies have not shown up until weeks later after the water level has subsided. Very sad for the relative and friends of the victims, but there's not much else that can be done right now.

Maybe the family is wondering why the Park Service didn't search longer as they did for the still missing Southern California man who disappeared near the top of Upper Yosemite Fall.

Exactly, the only possible (although impossible) way they could have survived for any length of time was somehow getting thrown up on a rock and they would have been spotted by people from above. Anyone in the water even partially would have been dead from hypothermia by the time a rescue team was assembled, driven to the hike in point, hiking up the trail and then setting up a rescue operation to get down to the base of the falls.
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 21, 2011 11:13AM
Regrettably it was never a rescue, but rather a recovery.

With incidents like this it is the norm for remains to not be immediately recovered.
They're often either not found for some time, or are at an inaccessible location that requires they wait till the water flow decreases.
Remember the SAR team is risking their life's while they're doing this.
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 22, 2011 11:51PM
A lady slipped and went into the water on the Mist Trail last May (2010) while I was on the Mist Trail just several hundred feet behind her (I do not believe she went over the fall, just into the river) We heard the story passed down the trail and thought it was a bad joke, until we saw the Rangers looking in the water.

Her body was not found until July 2010.
Re: 3 People die
July 21, 2011 12:06PM
She's not going to get very far with the lawsuit. Has there ever been a successful ride over Vernal Falls?
Re: 3 People die
July 21, 2011 12:48PM
Quote
telfair ave
Did anyone listen to the spokesperson for the families from the Modesto Bee article. She felt betrayed and it is unfair and bringing an attorney etc. because there wasn't more of a rescue effort.

If this is true, then I will drop all sympathy for their loss.
Re: 3 People die
July 21, 2011 02:38PM
I feel very sorry for them. They did something stupid and it cost them their lives.
Re: 3 People die
July 21, 2011 05:32PM
Quote
telfair ave
Did anyone listen to the spokesperson for the families from the Modesto Bee article. She felt betrayed and it is unfair and bringing an attorney etc. because there wasn't more of a rescue effort. What she needed to be saying was thanking everyone for their efforts and sorry about the idiotic actions of her family members that lead to this.

About 99.99999999% of the swiftwater efforts are recovery. She doesn't have a hope in Hades of winning. Water usually wins. Those poor folks were dead within minutes, probably sitting at the bottom of one of the crevasses behind the falls, or in the rocks at the bottom of the pool.
avatar Reminds me of another waterfall
July 21, 2011 01:22PM
There's Horsetail Falls in Desolation Wilderness near Lake Tahoe. It's a long 1400 ft cascade that's visible from US-50. The way up doesn't have a trail - it's all just climbing over the granite and making sure you're not too close to the water. No rails, few signs, and you're on your own. We stayed away from the edge, but every once in a while a fatality is reported. Fatalities are mentioned by a few signs at the trailhead, but the entirety of the waterfall is pretty much unmarked by signs. It's purely off trail travel to get close to the waterfall, and we saw backpackers scrambling down to get back to the trailhead.

Here's a report on someone reaching the lake that feeds this waterfall, complete with a photos of a couple right at the precipice and another person along the edge of the cascade. Seems a little bit wet, and luckily nobody fell in.

http://eatchiclifestyle.com/2010/08/27/lake-tahoe-day-2/
Re: Reminds me of another waterfall
July 21, 2011 02:34PM
It's perfectly safe if you do it without a backpack and uh, stay out of the water. I did it one spring during a dry year.
Re: 3 People die
July 21, 2011 04:19PM
INteresting and slightly off subject (and not really the point), but the media keeps stating the falls at 317 feet, while my J.P. Schaffer hikes book states 320. I only bring this up, because I happened to come across it, while refreshing myslef with my book. Any which way you look at it, scarey. More and more keeps comming out about the events leading up to the tragedy.
Nevada is stated being 594 on Wiki(no, I don't believe everything on Wiki). ONe of the scariest-looking, from my experience (via Panorama trail) is Illiouette Falls, stated (J.P. schaffer) 370 feet.
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 21, 2011 04:41PM
Quote
Red Lipstick
the media keeps stating the falls at 317 feet

That's what NPS used in their press release.
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 21, 2011 06:15PM
317' vs. 320'? Quibbling about 3' of a 300'+ fall?

The difference of three feet could easily be accounted for in how and where the length of the fall is measured. Neither the brink of this wide fall nor its base is perfectly level. Depending where someone measures the length or at what time of year in regards to the water flow, I could easily understand a discrepancy of only three feet.
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 21, 2011 06:30PM
Quote
plawrence
317' vs. 320'? Quibbling about 3' of a 300'+ fall?

Not I.
Re: 3 People die
July 21, 2011 06:56PM
SEriously, I stated I was just curious...Soap box much?????????????? Bowing to his greatness
Re: 3 People die
July 21, 2011 07:21PM
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She felt betrayed and it is unfair and bringing an attorney etc. because there wasn't more of a rescue effort

This truly makes me sick. These people were horrifically stupid and died because of their own stupidity. You assume a natural risk whenever you're in Yosemite, whether you're in a car or not. These Search and Rescue people risk their lives for others every day and they are going to SUE?? Not to mention that these three people could have diverted attention away from legitimate people needing help. What if some hiker at the same moment felt and gashed they head open on the JMT? Or someone else fell on the Four Mile Trail, breaking a leg in multiple places? Those people would have denied emergency assistance because all the Search and Rescue efforts were concentrated on three people who were doing something they have no business doing.

This reminds of the Japanese tourists that died in a similar place in Yosemite 20 years ago; they were profiled in Death in Yosemite. They also disobeyed warning signs, got into the water and were killed by the current. They sued and the park had to pay them an undisclosed sum.
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 21, 2011 07:48PM
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Ulysses61
They also disobeyed warning signs, got into the water and were killed by the current. They sued and the park had to pay them an undisclosed sum.

That last sentence doesn't make sense to me. If they _had_ to pay then the sum would have been disclosed because judgements are public, no? And if this was a settlement, which isn't public, then they didn't really have to settle, that was a choice, wasn't it?
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 21, 2011 08:00PM
Again, I am going to voice my objection to public derogatory comments about accident victims or their families. These statements are mean-spirited and serve no purpose. They are rapidly indexed and easily retrieved by search engines and serve only to embarrass or add to survivor anguish, as Bee has mentioned.

If you stop and think about the situation, there are many times when "experts" attempt accomplishments that turn out poorly. For example, last winter an expert climber on Mt. St Helena was killed when a cornice collapsed. Recently there was a free climb of Half Dome face, was that foolhardy?
Is it really any better somehow for an expert to attempt a dangerous action or suffer an accident or death? We rarely see criticism when "experts" push the envelope.

These visitors made a series of decisions and took a series of actions, some heroic even it seems, that did not turn out well. They are no different from "experts" who place themselves in dangerous situations to their peril. We should be having a discussion about improving safety, education, or systemic solutions, not making moral judgments or sanctimonious pronouncements based on preliminary information about specific victims or their families. The decisions the victims made cannot be undone.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
Re: 3 People die
July 21, 2011 08:39PM
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Frank Furter
Again, I am going to voice my objection to public derogatory comments about accident victims or their families. <snip> We should be having a discussion about improving safety, education, or systemic solutions, not making moral judgments or sanctimonious pronouncements based on preliminary information about specific victims or their families. The decisions the victims made cannot be undone.

One of the things that began to bother me - one of the first things - when I joined SAR was reading comments on online newspaper articles obviously made by people who are ignorant of the reality of things. Sometimes ignorance of hiking, or backpacking, or climbing. Like a comment made by someone about the woman who died climbing the Obelisk last year - about how dumb it was that she didn't bother to take a tent. The commenter, of course, had no idea that the lady's tent was right where she left it at base camp, a few miles from the vertical face she intended to climb, as climbers do, because of course, one does not take a tent climbing and expect to put it to any use. And the tent would have done nothing to mitigate the injuries she sustained while climbing, which led to her demise.

Also there are many comments on various other articles about lost people implying that they are stupid, crazy, etc which are completely unwarranted - survival psychology pretty much debunks that only dumb people get lost, get hurt, etc. In reality people of all kinds, experienced, novice, whatever, have difficulty out there and it has nothing to do with their intelligence. They are in an environment foreign to them, to have fun and explore the wilderness. That they are not preparing to do this by learning what the risks are and how to reduce risk says nothing about their intelligence. Just their ignorance - they did not know what they did not know. Just that they were there to have fun.

In this case, it's more people who did not expect to die on a trail that thousands of people hike every year. I'm sure they weren't aware of how many people have gone over those falls. They probably had no experience with Big Water whatsoever. Blaming them for their ignorance seems callous. They were as naive as their family members who clearly have no clue that trying to go in after the three would have needlessly killed more people.
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 21, 2011 09:59PM
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AlmostThere
In this case, it's more people who did not expect to die on a trail that thousands of people hike every year. I'm sure they weren't aware of how many people have gone over those falls. They probably had no experience with Big Water whatsoever. Blaming them for their ignorance seems callous. They were as naive as their family members who clearly have no clue that trying to go in after the three would have needlessly killed more people.

I don't think it's hard to understand that slipping and falling could lead to going over the waterfall. A few hundred feet down into the rocks isn't that hard to understand.

Call me a coward, but I wouldn't have thought of going over that railing at any age or with any experience or inexperience. Now as a kid I used to do stupid things, like climb onto the roof of our house. Even at an older age I took a risky exposed route trying to get back to my car after I got lost. But going knee deep into a raging river with a 200+ ft waterfall 25 ft away would never occurred to me to be a thing to do. I did "hike" through the Virgin River Narrows at Zion NP, but I figured the worst thing that could happen to me would be falling down and getting back up. Unless maybe a freak flash flood hit.
Re: 3 People die
July 22, 2011 08:00PM
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y_p_w
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AlmostThere
In this case, it's more people who did not expect to die on a trail that thousands of people hike every year. I'm sure they weren't aware of how many people have gone over those falls. They probably had no experience with Big Water whatsoever. Blaming them for their ignorance seems callous. They were as naive as their family members who clearly have no clue that trying to go in after the three would have needlessly killed more people.

I don't think it's hard to understand that slipping and falling could lead to going over the waterfall. A few hundred feet down into the rocks isn't that hard to understand.

Call me a coward, but I wouldn't have thought of going over that railing at any age or with any experience or inexperience. Now as a kid I used to do stupid things, like climb onto the roof of our house. Even at an older age I took a risky exposed route trying to get back to my car after I got lost. But going knee deep into a raging river with a 200+ ft waterfall 25 ft away would never occurred to me to be a thing to do. I did "hike" through the Virgin River Narrows at Zion NP, but I figured the worst thing that could happen to me would be falling down and getting back up. Unless maybe a freak flash flood hit.

I'm not recommending that someone do this, but comparatively speaking - if you must go in, at least give yourself a chance. Tie one end of a rope around your waist, and the other end around a tree. It doesn't mean your foot can't get stuck between some rocks, perhaps causing you to drown, or that you can't die of hypothermia, but at least you won't go over the fall.

Good part is if someone sees you attempting this, s/he can stop/prevent you. If a ranger sees this, s/he will justifiably hit you with a fine. Or should. Really no excuse for ignoring the warning signs.
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 22, 2011 08:38PM
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Ohnivy-Drak
I'm not recommending that someone do this, but comparatively speaking - if you must go in, at least give yourself a chance. Tie one end of a rope around your waist, and the other end around a tree. It doesn't mean your foot can't get stuck between some rocks, perhaps causing you to drown....

I'd absolutely recommend NOT doing this. It has led to many documented deaths by drowning.

Here is some recommended reading:

http://www.mountain-survival.net/chp9.html

See here:

(1) The individual may attach the belay rope to his seat harness or a swami belt with a carabiner. He should NEVER tie directly into the rope when being belayed for a stream crossing. If the swimmer should be swept away and become tangled, he must be able to release himself quickly from the rope and swim to shore as best he can. The individual may also choose to tie a fixed loop into the end of the belay rope and hang on to it, where he can immediately release it in an emergency.

Edit: Moreover, this is used only in the context of establishing the far anchor of a rope bridge or handline, to belay the strongest member of the team who first must cross the stream. This technique is not recommended for individual crossings.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/22/2011 08:43PM by QITNL.
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 21, 2011 11:21PM
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AlmostThere
They are in an environment foreign to them, to have fun and explore the wilderness. That they are not preparing to do this by learning what the risks are and how to reduce risk says nothing about their intelligence. Just their ignorance - they did not know what they did not know. Just that they were there to have fun.

Which is why the Park Service went to the expense and trouble to put up a guard rail at that location and warning signs explaining clearly (in multiple languages) the danger of going into the water at that location. A guard rail and signs that mar the natural beauty of the location, by the way.

But the Park Service did so recognizing the simple fact that many people would otherwise be ignorant about the inherent dangers of that location. The victims clearly saw the guard rail and chose to go around it. Who knows if they took the time to read the warning signs though (even though the warning signs are very hard to miss).

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AlmostThere
In this case, it's more people who did not expect to die on a trail that thousands of people hike every year. I'm sure they weren't aware of how many people have gone over those falls. They probably had no experience with Big Water whatsoever. Blaming them for their ignorance seems callous. They were as naive as their family members who clearly have no clue that trying to go in after the three would have needlessly killed more people.

I don't think anyone is blaming them for their ignorance. It's more that people are upset about the victims' arrogance. That it appears that the victims didn't think the warnings about the danger of going into the water applied to them. It's hard to plead ignorance when the danger is amply signed at that location.
Re: 3 People die
July 22, 2011 09:28AM
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AlmostThere
Blaming them for their ignorance seems callous.

I don't think it's about blaming them for their ignorance of something like the power of fast moving water. Underestimating that ranks as one of the things that can claim even experienced hikers.

Rather, I think the real blame is about the blatant disregard for the multiple safety warnings from signs and visitors alike in such close proximity to an obvious threat.

Submitted IMHO.



Gary Crabbe
Enlightened Images

"Nearness to Nature keeps the Spirit sensitive to impressions not commonly felt, and in touch with unseen powers." - Oyihesa; Santee Dakota indian, from his book, Soul of the Indian (1911)
Re: 3 People die
July 22, 2011 06:57PM
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enlightphoto
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AlmostThere
Blaming them for their ignorance seems callous.

I don't think it's about blaming them for their ignorance of something like the power of fast moving water. Underestimating that ranks as one of the things that can claim even experienced hikers.

Rather, I think the real blame is about the blatant disregard for the multiple safety warnings from signs and visitors alike in such close proximity to an obvious threat.

Submitted IMHO.


A blatant disregard of safety warnings from signs should be followed by a blatant fine of $5000. Lets see how fast they jump the rail then.
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 22, 2011 09:19PM
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ezlivin
A blatant disregard of safety warnings from signs should be followed by a blatant fine of $5000. Lets see how fast they jump the rail then.
Like most people that do such things; it won't slow them down a bit. They believe they won't get caught. You can't fine stupidity.
Re: 3 People die
July 23, 2011 07:57PM
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Dave
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ezlivin
A blatant disregard of safety warnings from signs should be followed by a blatant fine of $5000. Lets see how fast they jump the rail then.
Like most people that do such things; it won't slow them down a bit. They believe they won't get caught. You can't fine stupidity.


You don't see many people leaving their food out of the bear boxes these days, stupid or not. Why is that? I don't think it's because people have a terrible concern about bears and their weight problems. I think they are more concerned about their bank accounts. The rangers enforce the bear rule in the valley like sharks to blood. They could do the same thing at the falls but have uniformed volunteers instead of rangers. They would only need to do this during high water months. Would not cost a dime of the tax payers money. It's so simple it makes me sick!
Re: 3 People die
July 24, 2011 09:44PM
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enlightphoto


Rather, I think the real blame is about the blatant disregard for the multiple safety warnings from signs and visitors alike in such close proximity to an obvious threat.

Submitted IMHO.

Like all those people who drive 10-30 mph over the speed limit on a routine basis? Hmmm....

It's only blatant disregard when someone dies in spectacular fashion, I guess. The dude who fell asleep at the wheel killed a teenager. Don't see an entire thread yelling about it. Sounds pretty blatant to me even tho it's just another car crash and not a waterfall of doom.
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 24, 2011 10:40PM
That's a sad story. I had heard mention of it but had yet to learn the details.

There's an unfortunately long list of climbers who have been killed up in auto accidents. When I head up to the mountains, I tell my mom (and remind myself) that the drive is the most dangerous part of the journey. I tell her she also needs to be careful and I hope all her drives go safely.
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 25, 2011 12:12AM
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QITNL
That's a sad story. I had heard mention of it but had yet to learn the details.

Unfortunately, it's not as sad and tragic as what happened to this Bay Area family while on a camping vacation in Canada:

Bay Area family killed during vacation to Canadian Rockies
Re: 3 People die
July 21, 2011 11:08PM
I've made no posts on this thread till now. It is true that often after such accidents, some are likely to web post rather terse emotional condemnations of the decisions of victims. Typical mean statement is "Darwinian natural selection of the species eliminating the unintelligent..." I think your statement needs to be focused more narrowly towards that type of tweeting post and not possibly deny that intelligent discussion including criticism of those involved can also be posted. One can argue that a whole range of human stupidness from slightly suspect decisions to utterly ridiculous are possible and that stupidness comes in let's say different flavors. To criticize behaviors of stupidness at least in a logical ways is a valid task that can serve a purpose. And such of course is often done in the court of law.

As an example, lets say we are at a blackjack table and the dealer shows a face card for 10 while you have a king and a six for 16. Well to the person totally ignorant of the strategy and logic of the game, they may decide to get hit simply at a whim with little reason to or to not. Such an action is more ignorant than stupid just as you've noted. On the other hand a knowledgeable player that is not counting cards might decide to be hit for no logical reason except because they just saw the person next to them get a 5. Though it is unlikely they might draw another 5 or less, some people might tend to act so even though if later one explained the mathematical illogic to them and they understood it. And they might admit it was stupid but for some maybe emotional reason they chose to fly against logic.

If an ordinary person attempts to climb something dangerous well above their skill, understands such and then a tragedy results, one might describe given circumstance as stupid their decision. For instance a youth that regularly does dangerous stunts in front of friends when they egg him on. Coming to mind is the juvenile that recently jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge (and lived) after being taunted to do so by classmates on dares. Stupid? of course.

Per details thus far presented in the current tragedy, it has been related on one site that initialy one man holding a young girl that was part of their church group was over the railing posing for a mug shot against the raging dangerous icon and that others in the crowd told them to return to the safe side of the railing which after a time they did. One might speculate some in the crowd did so aggressively and maybe in emotionally possibly mean ways. Then per details, immediately the victim and girlfriend crossed the railing and waded out to the rock island in order to take more mug shots. One might speculate that the victim possibly did not like the emotional tone of some of those talking so to their friend and that provoked him who might have been expecting to be the next person in their group to be photographed to do something spitefall way in their face. And as is often the case in spite, he chose something that would go against the target of spite which in this case was the crowd. And would do so by even being more dangerous. That he was apparently ignorant of the level of danger he chose is obvious as any person that values their life is not going to gamble so unless they have strong expectations the result to be successful. But such would be quite stupid for an experienced mountain person to do so as any mountain savvy person could explain. What was undeniably modestly stupid on the victim's part was to ignore the national park's signage and warnings. Even if an ignorant naive person doesn't understand the why of such warnings, it can be described as stupid to ignore such for trivial or emotional reasoning.



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 07/21/2011 11:27PM by DavidSenesac.
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 22, 2011 08:32AM
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DavidSenesac
As an example, lets say we are at a blackjack table and the dealer shows a face card for 10 while you have a king and a six for 16. Well to the person totally ignorant of the strategy and logic of the game, they may decide to get hit simply at a whim with little reason to or to not. Such an action is more ignorant than stupid just as you've noted. On the other hand a knowledgeable player that is not counting cards might decide to be hit for no logical reason except because they just saw the person next to them get a 5. Though it is unlikely they might draw another 5 or less, some people might tend to act so even though if later one explained the mathematical illogic to them and they understood it. And they might admit it was stupid but for some maybe emotional reason they chose to fly against logic.

Poor example. Hitting on a 16 against a dealer showing 10 is the correct thing to do. Also - most card counting isn't about whether or not to hit/stay/double, but rather to increase the bet when the deck is in the player's favor.

http://www.blackjack.org/strategy/
http://www.winneronline.com/articles/november2003/hitting-on-16-really.htm

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In the senario where the player STANDS on 16 when the dealer shows a 10, the player will win 21.2% of the time. If the player was to HIT on 16 in this senario, the player will win 20.6% of the time and will tie 6.6% of the time.

It appears that the player will win 0.8% more hands of he STANDs, however, we need to keep in mind that the player who HITs will tie 6.6% of the hands.

Now this is puely about odds. The consequences aren't the same as risking one's life.
Re: 3 People die
July 22, 2011 08:48AM
You are quite correct thankyou ypw. I indeed had that logic backwards. Guess that shows its been many years since I've done any casino gambling haha. At one time as a twentysomething read the famous first card counting book "Beat The Dealer" and had basic strategy memorized. One stands without being hit if the dealer shows 6 or less in order to let the house break as they will be foreced to take a card. Unless they draw an ace, they will be forced to draw at least two cards with the odds that will break them more than if a person draws to a 16.

David
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 22, 2011 09:17AM
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DavidSenesac
You are quite correct thankyou ypw. I indeed had that logic backwards. Guess that shows its been many years since I've done any casino gambling haha. At one time as a twentysomething read the famous first card counting book "Beat The Dealer" and had basic strategy memorized. One stands without being hit if the dealer shows 6 or less in order to let the house break as they will be foreced to take a card. Unless they draw an ace, they will be forced to draw at least two cards with the odds that will break them more than if a person draws to a 16.

David

Exactly. I would correct my previous statement. Most card counting schemes look for the deck to be stacked with "high cards". This increases the odds of the dealer busting and the chances of the player getting blackjacks (with a 3:2 payout). The player bets more, but apparently some schemes tweak the basic strategy, like staying on 16 against a 7.

However, gambling a few bucks is very different than gambling with one's life/safety,
Re: 3 People die
July 22, 2011 05:12AM
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Frank Furter
Again, I am going to voice my objection to public derogatory comments about accident victims or their families. These statements are mean-spirited and serve no purpose. They are rapidly indexed and easily retrieved by search engines and serve only to embarrass or add to survivor anguish, as Bee has mentioned.

Exactly. The people who get satisfaction/attention from insults and references to "Darwin awards" in the aftermath of a tragedy are beyond creepy in my opinion. That's a big downside to internet anonymity. On the other hand, I've always appreciated it when survivors and observers of SAR situations have found threads like these and left comments about what happened.
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 22, 2011 11:36PM
I just posted a picture of the sign at the top of Vernal Falls via Twitter: http://twitpic.com/5udwnm

As well as a blog post about Yosemite Safe Despite Tragic Deaths because I lead trips to Yosemite and kinda had to deal with the "Is Yosemite safe" question that Im getting, or "Why do you take people there if people die?"
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 25, 2011 07:11PM
Not that I really care about what folks have to say about this stuff, but today Phil Bronstein, the former editor of the SF Chronicle, weighed in on some of their nasty anon feedback:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/07/25/EDVU1KDSBE.DTL
avatar Re: 3 People die
July 25, 2011 07:35PM
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QITNL
Not that I really care about what folks have to say about this stuff, but today Phil Bronstein, the former editor of the SF Chronicle, weighed in on some of their nasty anon feedback:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/07/25/EDVU1KDSBE.DTL

He weighed in it seems only because he was a personal acquaintance of the Hawaiian blowhole victim and his longtime girlfriend. If he didn't have personal knowledge of the couple, would he had written this piece?

Also, I find it highly ironic that the newspaper that he was a the longtime editor is a key enabler of this anonymous nasty commentary about the accidental death victims. If they really cared, they could easily prohibit anonymous comments on their news articles, especially those that deal with personal tragedies. But they don't, because these comment sections generate massive page views.
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