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Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued

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avatar Half Dome Hikers Rescued
December 31, 2016 02:43PM
Yosemite, CA — A trek to Half Dome on a closed trail led to a helicopter rescue at Yosemite National Park on Wednesday.

http://www.mymotherlode.com/news/local/279571/hikers-rescued-at-yosemite.html
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 01, 2017 09:11PM
Lucky soul. Ok, which one of us on here is the culprit? smiling smiley
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 02, 2017 09:07AM
Send them the bill.
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 02, 2017 10:28PM
That's my sentiment too. Do you know if in actuality people who are rescued are charged for the S&R services?
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 03, 2017 09:10AM
Quote
Not quite The Geezer, but getting there
That's my sentiment too. Do you know if in actuality people who are rescued are charged for the S&R services?

No federal agencies charges for SAR. A handful of states (I believe 7 currently) have laws that allow recovery of SAR costs, but they vary greatly in scope. A few county run SAR programs also have passed laws allowing them to charge. These are mostly in Utah (Moab area) and are a response to the dramatic increase in rescues resulting from the recent exponential growth in visitation - which ironically is due to the state of Utah's very successful tourism advertising campaign of recent years. The situation in and arund Zion and Arches, in particular, has reached critical mass in terms of over use.

In general, charging for SAR is a bad idea. Almost every study done (in the US and in Europe) has found that if you charge for SAR and that practice is known, it leads to more deaths, more difficult rescues and greater costs. Why? Because if people know they will be charged, the either do not call SAR at all (thus the increase in deaths) or wait until the situation is truly dire (more difficult and costly rescues). It is also theorized that charging for SAR may dissuade people from actually going outside, but I am not aware of any studies that directly address this.

Some states, such as Colorado and Utah, are now offering SAR insurance programs. Such insurance is also available through private organizations such American Alpine Club.
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 04, 2017 12:23PM
@LVRAY I thought I remembered "somebody" (some publication, I believe from NPS but I could be wrong) making a lot of noise about "be sure to not exceed your limits when hiking the Grand Canyon. Bring plenty of water. Helicopter rescues are expensive...".

This was from before the NPS installed drinking fountains along the Kaibob Trail...

From here: http://kaibab.org/kaibab.org/gcps/gcps4_12.htm

Quote

"In 1997 the National Park Service spent 3.4 million dollars on Search and Rescue," Ken said. "Today people may have to pay the helicopter and ambulance charges for their rescue."

Of course, Kaibob.org may not be a definitive source on the matter (but they claim to be quoting an NPS ranger). I thought then that this might be just scare tactics ("It will cost you a lot, so don't get into this situation...). You raise some good points about the potential for unintended consequences (death, more difficult rescues) and it seems that just the threat of having to pay - true or not - would be the worst possible strategy. Taxpayers are still not reimbursed (although there may be fewer calls) and people die.
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 04, 2017 10:19PM
Quote
ags
@LVRAY I thought I remembered "somebody" (some publication, I believe from NPS but I could be wrong) making a lot of noise about "be sure to not exceed your limits when hiking the Grand Canyon. Bring plenty of water. Helicopter rescues are expensive...".

This was from before the NPS installed drinking fountains along the Kaibob Trail...

From here: http://kaibab.org/kaibab.org/gcps/gcps4_12.htm

Quote

"In 1997 the National Park Service spent 3.4 million dollars on Search and Rescue," Ken said. "Today people may have to pay the helicopter and ambulance charges for their rescue."

Of course, Kaibob.org may not be a definitive source on the matter (but they claim to be quoting an NPS ranger). I thought then that this might be just scare tactics ("It will cost you a lot, so don't get into this situation...). You raise some good points about the potential for unintended consequences (death, more difficult rescues) and it seems that just the threat of having to pay - true or not - would be the worst possible strategy. Taxpayers are still not reimbursed (although there may be fewer calls) and people die.

I suspect this is the Park Service, or at least the person being interviewed, making noise, as you suggest. I have been unable to find any official documentation or laws as to whether the Park Service (or BLM or FS) actually has the legal authority to charge for rescues or whether they simply do not as a matter of policy. Either way, I am not aware of any valid source that documents an incident where a Federal agency actually charged for SAR. There are certainly cases where people that required rescue were fined for not having a permit or violating some other regulation.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 02, 2017 12:50PM
Where exactly did this happen?
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 02, 2017 04:53PM
If you read the story, they climbed the subdome, then one of them tried to climb the cables up to the top of Half Dome...



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 04, 2017 10:30AM
Off the topic of "idiot or not" - I'm wondering about the trail closure (closures in general - and enforceability of the closures). I thought at one time that I had read official commentary that seemed contradictory, but then I had decided might not be after further consideration.

I believe that the NPS can close an area to protect wildlife - for instance, when eagles/peregrines are nesting/fledging. To me that seems aligned with the overall purpose and mandate of the NPS to preserve natural and wild places, the environment, flora and fauna, minimizing human impact...

I also think (thought) that the NPS can close an area for "safety reasons". However, unless it is to protect environment/flora/fauna, can they really declare an area off-limits (and enforce it - by citations, fines, removal, etc) for safety? I had explained this to myself as a "self-reliance" type of system. Ultimately, any outdoor adventure has some risk. Walking (on a durable surface) at the edge of a sheer drop-off is dangerous. Crossing a deep, cold, fast-flowing stream (especially above a fall) is dangerous. The NPS can warn, discourage, add signage regarding this, but not proscribe it (is that correct?). The NPS is not expected to assess the risk and determine the appropriateness for each individual (as mentioned above, preparedness, knowledge, experience, judgement etc all contribute to make the same activity an acceptable risk for one person and not for another).

Each time I've spoken with a ranger, it seems to me (might be my perception, but I don't think it's terribly skewed in this instance) that s/he never says "Yes - do that" - or "No! don't do that". It's more like "there is risk in that activity and I wouldn't advise it" or "you will have to decide that for yourself". I once asked about free-climbing to the summit of Cathedral Peak (years ago). I hadn't done much research (and thought it was just a natural continuation of the relatively easy walk up the lower slope). I was advised that "it's a granite block about 20' tall. John Muir climbed it without ropes. He was an amazing person; I wouldn't do that myself". I remember that well (the height of the block may be wrong). I wasn't told "Don't to that, you obviously unprepared and inexperienced noob!".

Let me close by noting that this is simply something that intrigues me. It seems like a very fine line for the NPS to walk - safety vs self-reliance and adventure. I am not intending to break the law, deface the park, leave a footprint, etc.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 04, 2017 10:54AM
I read the article... and it starts off with "trail closed" ...
Maybe they went up The Mist Trail and passed thru the trail closed gates.
But that is more or less irrelevant due to there being a winter route to LYV.
Beyond there there are no "trail closed" signs. Only Cables down signs.
So the article itself is a bit (or a lot) misleading imo...
The Half Dome trail is not closed. It's never closed.
They take the STANCHIONS down. This is done because if they didn't then
avalanches would do that for them every year... and they would have to
bring new ones in.

Anyway. Ill advised... perhaps. Idiot? I dunno...

Have a nice day



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 04, 2017 02:21PM
Depends on the park, at least in some ways. In Death Valley, we have been told many times that we were on our own, and that we could explore anywhere we wanted....but not to expect rescue of any kind. Makes sense in that huge park. But then they have also closed areas because of safety concerns (flash flooding, etc.) and sensitive areas (both wildlife and archeological.)

The NPS must be at least cognizant of the legal precedents in this country that hold management responsible if conditions change and previously safe areas become less safe: eroding cliffs, forest fires, etc. Once they know that conditions have changed to make it more dangerous, they can "close" an area. They close Tioga Road every year to overnight parking. They close the Mist Trail because of ice. And they closed the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne one year because of a fire.

Where does snow on Half Dome come into that equation? The Mist Trail gets closed when it is icy, and offers the potential for a fatal fall. But if you avoid the Mist Trail, and still hike up to the subdome...seems to me that you are on your own at that point. But then the NPS gets called to rescue you.



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 04, 2017 10:10PM
Quote
ags
However, unless it is to protect environment/flora/fauna, can they really declare an area off-limits (and enforce it - by citations, fines, removal, etc) for safety?

I think the answer to that is yes. Many parks close areas for a variety of reasons. For example, Zion NP requires canyoneering permits for many of its canyons. If they deem one unsafe for a particular reason, they "close" the canyon by not issuing any more permits. If you are caught without a permit, you are fined. Similarly, they "close" the Narrows (stop issuing permits - day use and otherwise) any time the flow rate excees a certain threshold. This also effectively closes all canyons that end in the narrows. The Forest Service does the same (e.g., the current closure of Big Falls Canyon in CA which was closed due a dramatic increase in the #of rescues). In some parks, certain areas have essentially been closed permanently (or at least indefinitely).

But if a permit is not required to be in the area, I too have wondered if you would actually be fined if caught in a "closed" area, particularly if that area is in a wilderness area. I suspect the answer is yes.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/04/2017 10:11PM by LVRAY.
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 05, 2017 09:07AM
For that matter, Yosemite requires a permit to camp overnight in the wilderness....as we all know so well.!



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 05, 2017 11:04AM
Superintendent can close trails for various reason for safety...

Wapama has been closed this year...



Along with Chilnualna Lakes ... in order to finish Trail Quest we had to
wait until late in the year to finish this section...





There are regulations pointed to on the pix... $5000 fine possible.

Anyway, .... The people rescued DID NOT NECESSARILY go into a CLOSED AREA.



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 22, 2017 08:26PM
Quote
ags
...
Each time I've spoken with a ranger, it seems to me (might be my perception, but I don't think it's terribly skewed in this instance) that s/he never says "Yes - do that" - or "No! don't do that". It's more like "there is risk in that activity and I wouldn't advise it" or "you will have to decide that for yourself". I once asked about free-climbing to the summit of Cathedral Peak (years ago). I hadn't done much research (and thought it was just a natural continuation of the relatively easy walk up the lower slope). I was advised that "it's a granite block about 20' tall. John Muir climbed it without ropes. He was an amazing person; I wouldn't do that myself". I remember that well (the height of the block may be wrong). I wasn't told "Don't to that, you obviously unprepared and inexperienced noob!".
...

It occurred to me that if rangers got into the business of telling some park visitors, "Don't do that" while others were simply warned "It's risky," someone from the "it's risky" group who tried it anyway and got into distress could blame NPS for not having correctly figured out that they belonged in the "Don't do it" group.

Also, someone from the "Don't do it!" group could figure that the rangers weren't actually going to follow them around and keep an eye on them -- so why should they care what the rangers said?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/22/2017 08:27PM by gophersnake.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 23, 2017 08:46AM
You're assuming they'd listen the the rangers. I have a hard time convincing them to stay away from deer, or not parking in the middle of the road, or both.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/23/2017 08:47AM by Dave.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 02, 2017 07:08PM
and did that without bringing any snow/ice gear and went past "area closed" signs!
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 03, 2017 10:58AM
I'm assuming the cables have been removed for the winter. Would this person have been trying to use the cleats and poles attached to the granite? Or are those removed too?
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 03, 2017 11:09AM
Quote
Dave
I'm assuming the cables have been removed for the winter. Would this person have been trying to use the cleats and poles attached to the granite? Or are those removed too?

Cables are never removed...however, they were replaced last decade or so. Now, they just disengage all the poles and wood slats...stack them at the bottom near the glove pile area. The cables then just lay down against the granite. Thus the cables, while slippery, can be done anytime.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 03, 2017 11:35AM
Here is a shot from last winter...telephoto taken from LYV of some guy trying to do then what the subject guy just got rescued for. You gotta wonder....

avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 03, 2017 02:34PM
Probably an awesome view, but is it worth your life?

Ah, that explains why they say the cables are "down." That should be a clue to not try to go up.
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 03, 2017 06:18PM
We were there and saw the helicopter and was wondering what was going on. There are a lot of idiots out there.
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 03, 2017 07:31PM
Quote
parklover
. There are a lot of idiots out there.
Respectfully disagree. In Yosemite when someone free climbs the nose route of El Cap or ice climbs the Yosemite Falls ice dome...or dons a flying squirrel suit and bombs off Taft...or slack lines Lost Arrow...or hang glides off Glacier...all part of our local culture - lauded, televised, admired. But if you're competent, know what you are doing, and try the winter cables...you are an.idiot?
They may be certifiably crazy but they're not idiots.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 03, 2017 08:40PM
There are competent and not. . .
There are NPS approved and not. . .
There are those that understand the risks and not. . .
There are legal and not. . .
There are lucky and not. . .
There are idiots, and not. . .

There is nothing that says any of the above have to overlap, and in many cases they don't!

There is a wide range of skills and a wide range of opinions out there
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 05, 2017 06:07PM
Quote
markskor
Quote
parklover
. There are a lot of idiots out there.
Respectfully disagree. In Yosemite when someone free climbs the nose route of El Cap or ice climbs the Yosemite Falls ice dome...or dons a flying squirrel suit and bombs off Taft...or slack lines Lost Arrow...or hang glides off Glacier...all part of our local culture - lauded, televised, admired. But if you're competent, know what you are doing, and try the winter cables...you are an.idiot?
They may be certifiably crazy but they're not idiots.
They went without snow or ice gear - hence this is why I called them idiots. If they were competent, knew what they were doing and came prepared for the conditions, they might be called crazy but not idiots.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/05/2017 06:08PM by parklover.
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 06, 2017 12:00AM
Quote
parklover
Quote
markskor
Quote
parklover
. There are a lot of idiots out there.
Respectfully disagree. In Yosemite when someone free climbs the nose route of El Cap or ice climbs the Yosemite Falls ice dome...or dons a flying squirrel suit and bombs off Taft...or slack lines Lost Arrow...or hang glides off Glacier...all part of our local culture - lauded, televised, admired. But if you're competent, know what you are doing, and try the winter cables...you are an.idiot?
They may be certifiably crazy but they're not idiots.
They went without snow or ice gear - hence this is why I called them idiots. If they were competent, knew what they were doing and came prepared for the conditions, they might be called crazy but not idiots.


John Muir nearly killed himself crawling out to a ledge so he could get a view from the top of Yosemite Falls. Are you just as callous towards him? While I, by no means, endorse the rescued hiker's actions, I think we can all relate to his impulse. Who among us has not taken a risk, has not taken that extra step, has not dangled ourselves over a precarious ledge or risked getting lost, all because we were so thoroughly seduced by the beauty and magic of Yosemite? You're looking at the situation from a practical standpoint, but there is nothing practical about what Yosemite can stir inside someone. And if you have yet to feel that, then that is unfortunate.

in the face of Yosemite scenery cautious remonstrance is vain; under its spell one’s body seems to go where it likes with a will over which we seem to have scarce any control
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 06, 2017 07:38AM
^ I disagree. Inspired irresponsibility is still irresponsible.
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 06, 2017 08:53AM
Quote
JRinGeorgia
^ I disagree. Inspired irresponsibility is still irresponsible.
Sort of agree - Walking up to/trying the cables in winter is a grand adventure - legal, and many times having been written about....been there.
However, not knowing enough as when to turn around when (even though skilled), they arrived at a situation they were obviously unprepared for... idiotic and a possible Darwin Award candidate.
You have to know your limitations..
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 06, 2017 09:28AM
Our favorite Birds have been on the HD cables during the "offseason." Of course, they are exceptional. Not sure if they've done it in snowy/icy conditions. Not everything is black and white. But things can go south, for anyone. All you can do is make the best judgment as possible. I tend to be more on the conservative side.
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 06, 2017 01:22PM
Quote

Our favorite Birds have been on the HD cables during the "offseason."

Yes, but... 1) There was no ice on the cable route, and 2) we used Prussics connected to our climbing harnesses to "tie" into the cables. (We each had two Prussics and one was always tied into a cable.) Our "cables down" ascent was probably safer than the typical "cables up" trip.



Be safe!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/06/2017 01:23PM by basilbop.
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 06, 2017 01:45PM
I've wondered about this. If it were possible to just pick up a cable (like a rope) one could use it hand-over-hand to just walk up. That would be about as safe as going up normally. But those cables are thick, and I bet they are heavy - really heavy, perhaps too heavy to barely budge off the granite. Did you even try to pick them up? I presume they just lie on the granite, with the stanchions slid down to the base of the cables (but not removed completely, right?) So you end up having to crawl up alongside them, moving your self-arrest gear? I can't think of any other way to go up on two feet (upright). I imagine just clipping a 'biner on and sliding it along the cable on the granite while you walk up would only prevent your lifeless body from falling off the dome after bouncing down to the bottom if you slipped. Would minimize the SAR team's effort though.

Seems like it would be a lot of fun (going up off-season, not bouncing to your death) with the added benefit of no permitting issues to deal with.
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 06, 2017 02:07PM
People have done what you described. Some might have even done it in risky conditions and gotten away with it. A few individuals haven't, unfortunately.

This is one of my favorite "sped-up GIF" images, courtesy of The Pink One.

Coming Down

Watching it, it gives a perception that the individuals are just speeding down. But they probably used all of the precautionary safety measures.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/06/2017 02:11PM by Ohnivy-Drak.
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 06, 2017 03:04PM
The stanchions are piled up far away from the cables, so the cables do lay flat against the rock. The cables are heavy, which is a pro (they push you against the rock--more friction) and a con (they are heavy to hold). The worst part is that the cables have a lot of splices and wires holding them in place, so you have to re-attach the gear every 20-30 steps. The idea with the Prussics is that they tighten when weighted, so it's possible to "hang" on one safely while attaching the second one above the next splice or wire that interrupts the cable. The frequent spices/wires would probably make a simple biner or via ferrata setup somewhat safer, but it was nice to be able to rest safely anywhere along the cable without the need for a firm grip on the cable.
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 13, 2017 09:15AM
I've been "on the cables" (when up on the stanchions) and observed some people using harnesses and 'biners to clip onto the cables - sometimes even two sets, one always clipped on even when passing the stanchions or other obstacles to moving the 'biner along the cable. I've also witnessed someone that clearly should not have been attempting the climb, and for no reason other than extreme fear ended up falling (bouncing) down the granite - luckily caught on the way down.

Hoping to avoid a debate about the "right" method, I'll simply say that each time (so far) I have walked up the cables without attaching myself to them. I have walked on the outside of the cables when there was a (human) blockage impeding passage between them. I recognize there is some level of risk in any of these actions, and I assess this risk and choose for myself (including potential risk to others) and accept the consequences.

My question - really targeting those that have personally experienced it - is how would you compare the relative risk of picking up the cables (when the stanchions are down) and ascending them (hand-over-hand) without being tied in, similar to walking up the cables when they are "up", with walking up the cables when on the stanchions (without attachment)?

Clearly the Prusik method reduces risk greatly - and it seems to me that it could still be used when picking up the cable and walking upright. Fatigue can increase risk, and being able to rest safely is a benefit.

One final question: I was at REI and decided to look for "Prusiks". It seems to me that a Prusik describes the knot, and technique of using it. I didn't see anything labeled as a "Prusik". Is the appropriate item any cord of the correct construction (e.g. does not have low melting temperature, is not easily abraded, adequate load carrying capacity) and length? I am presuming that a loop, about 2-4' in circumference, would be optimal, but webbing, and potentially even a length (non-loop) of cord could also be used by creating a loop using a proper knot on the "tail" of the Prusik knot/hitch. Is this incorrect? (I suppose another way of asking this is: is there a specific item marketed as a "Prusik", and does it offer any superior benefits to the generic items I've described?)
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 14, 2017 04:23PM
Quote
ags
Is this incorrect? (I suppose another way of asking this is: is there a specific item marketed as a "Prusik", and does it offer any superior benefits to the generic items I've described?)

You might want to check for Via Ferrata set to use it along with a harness.

Prusik is just a knot and using webbing etc.is mainly an improvisation. it works mainly based on friction differential (or whatever the exact term is). For e.g. on 10mm or 11mm ropes, the prusik loop is usually a 5mm. these numbers can vary slightly and the key concept is the differential. Sometimes one can compensate for it by adding additional loops ( more than standard 3 loops). Same goes if one is using webbing.

I have walked outside the cables when it's busy and with cables down, I prefer to use at least one, if not two personal anchors with biners. YMMV
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 19, 2017 07:53PM
Quote
ags
I've wondered about this. If it were possible to just pick up a cable (like a rope) one could use it hand-over-hand to just walk up. That would be about as safe as going up normally. But those cables are thick, and I bet they are heavy - really heavy, perhaps too heavy to barely budge off the granite. Did you even try to pick them up? I presume they just lie on the granite, ...

Seems like it would be a lot of fun (going up off-season, not bouncing to your death) with the added benefit of no permitting issues to deal with.
On the last day of the previous era (Half Dome permits were introduced starting the next day) I went up this route with "cables down". I was just holding cables as you described. It was easy to lift the cables.
According to my estimates about 50 people went up there on that day using the same technique.
It's reasonably safe in case of a dry granit. It's trickier if snow is present.
I assume that the same approach still can be used this year.

Analysis of GPS data led me to believe that in case of good approach shoes with sticky rubber you even do not need to hold cables to safely hike up there.
It's about 30 degrees slope with a few steps about a foot high.

P.S. I still do not understand exact location and direction of his slide "He started to slide and got himself into a situation where he could not self-rescue".
Did he slide South or North?



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 01/19/2017 08:24PM by Yury.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 19, 2017 08:36PM
Quote
Yury
. . . snip . . .
Analysis of GPS data led me to believe that in case of good approach shoes with sticky rubber you even do not need to hold cables to safely hike up there.
It's about 30 degrees slope with a few steps about a foot high.
. . . snip

There's a short stretch where I'm pretty sure its more than 30, quite a bit more?

I don't doubt that you could get up there with just a pair of sticky shoes, but you're not going to do it at the cables. The granite around the cables is pretty well polished from decades of people going up and down. You'd have to go to one side or the other so you're on a virgin surface.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 20, 2017 06:00AM
Quote
qumqats
There's a short stretch where I'm pretty sure its more than 30, quite a bit more?
I have no recollection of a steeper part.
The last straw that convinced me to go up with cables down was a story told by my friend how a group of teens without any climbing background went up this way.

Quote
qumqats
I don't doubt that you could get up there with just a pair of sticky shoes, but you're not going to do it at the cables. The granite around the cables is pretty well polished from decades of people going up and down. You'd have to go to one side or the other so you're on a virgin surface.
I agree, that one or two meters right or left traction is a little bit better.
However I would not call it "polished". It's just contaminated with dirt and smeared with rubber.
It still has a reasonable traction.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 01/20/2017 06:04AM by Yury.
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 20, 2017 08:23AM
I took this photo at what I thought was the steepest portion using a bubble level on the camera.






Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 01/20/2017 10:53AM by troutwild.
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 06, 2017 05:17PM
Prussics...exactly. When I saw this story I was explaining it to my wife, and then had to explain Jumars to her. That's definitely the way to go.



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/06/2017 05:17PM by balzaccom.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 07, 2017 12:43AM
Quote
markskor
. . .
You have to know your limitations..

Yes . . . but how do you learn what your limits are unless you push up to them?
And if you push too hard you risk being one of the idiots. sad smiley

Which doesn't excuse the REAL idiots who bypass the limit thing by being completely incompetent!
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 06, 2017 02:40PM
Quote
JRinGeorgia
^ I disagree. Inspired irresponsibility is still irresponsible.

Does that include climbers?
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 06, 2017 03:32PM
I know a few climbers and none of them are idiots or irresponsible. Sure like any sport, there are some that are but most don't have a death wish and are prepared for what they are going to do.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 06, 2017 04:04PM
Quote
parklover
I know a few climbers and none of them are idiots or irresponsible.

I consider the ones that climb without any protection to be Darwin candidates.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 06, 2017 08:37PM
Not categorically, no. Doing something with inherent risk is not the same as irresponsible. Skilled and prepared climbers using the right equipment who don't cross their limits are not being irresponsible IMO.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 07, 2017 01:11AM
Quote
JRinGeorgia
Skilled and prepared climbers using the right equipment who don't cross their limits are not being irresponsible IMO.

Tell that to the people the risk their own lives to recover the bodies. It happens way too often.
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 06, 2017 03:28PM
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bruck
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parklover
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markskor
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parklover
. There are a lot of idiots out there.
Respectfully disagree. In Yosemite when someone free climbs the nose route of El Cap or ice climbs the Yosemite Falls ice dome...or dons a flying squirrel suit and bombs off Taft...or slack lines Lost Arrow...or hang glides off Glacier...all part of our local culture - lauded, televised, admired. But if you're competent, know what you are doing, and try the winter cables...you are an.idiot?
They may be certifiably crazy but they're not idiots.
They went without snow or ice gear - hence this is why I called them idiots. If they were competent, knew what they were doing and came prepared for the conditions, they might be called crazy but not idiots.


John Muir nearly killed himself crawling out to a ledge so he could get a view from the top of Yosemite Falls. Are you just as callous towards him? While I, by no means, endorse the rescued hiker's actions, I think we can all relate to his impulse. Who among us has not taken a risk, has not taken that extra step, has not dangled ourselves over a precarious ledge or risked getting lost, all because we were so thoroughly seduced by the beauty and magic of Yosemite? You're looking at the situation from a practical standpoint, but there is nothing practical about what Yosemite can stir inside someone. And if you have yet to feel that, then that is unfortunate.

in the face of Yosemite scenery cautious remonstrance is vain; under its spell one’s body seems to go where it likes with a will over which we seem to have scarce any control
I said that two people were idiots to do something that they were not prepared for and ended up having to be rescued that could have put others in danger and suddenly, I am accused of calling everyone idiots or being callous John Muir was who he was and he did not expect anyone to come and rescue him if he got into trouble. And yes we all do things on impulse or without enough forethought that in retrospect was not a good idea. I am also have been guilty of doing that but yet never put myself or others in danger.

However, I take umbrage at being taken to task for calling two unprepared people idiots, it is my personal opinion which I should be allowed to express. You don't know anything about me and have no idea how Yosemite and other parks stir me. Since you don't know my real name you have no idea what I wrote for Find My Park and most likely have not read what I have posted here about my love of parks and evidently don't understand the meaning behind my name here - parklover. If you did, you would have never made that last comment about me. Yosemite is my heart, Yellowstone is my soul and Rocky Mountain sets my spirit free so yes, I do understand how Yosemite can stir ones hearts strings. Yosemite stirs me so much that after being there over 100 times, I still cry when I leave.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/06/2017 03:36PM by parklover.
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 13, 2017 12:05AM
Quote
parklover
Quote
bruck
Quote
parklover
Quote
markskor
Quote
parklover
. There are a lot of idiots out there.
Respectfully disagree. In Yosemite when someone free climbs the nose route of El Cap or ice climbs the Yosemite Falls ice dome...or dons a flying squirrel suit and bombs off Taft...or slack lines Lost Arrow...or hang glides off Glacier...all part of our local culture - lauded, televised, admired. But if you're competent, know what you are doing, and try the winter cables...you are an.idiot?
They may be certifiably crazy but they're not idiots.
They went without snow or ice gear - hence this is why I called them idiots. If they were competent, knew what they were doing and came prepared for the conditions, they might be called crazy but not idiots.


John Muir nearly killed himself crawling out to a ledge so he could get a view from the top of Yosemite Falls. Are you just as callous towards him? While I, by no means, endorse the rescued hiker's actions, I think we can all relate to his impulse. Who among us has not taken a risk, has not taken that extra step, has not dangled ourselves over a precarious ledge or risked getting lost, all because we were so thoroughly seduced by the beauty and magic of Yosemite? You're looking at the situation from a practical standpoint, but there is nothing practical about what Yosemite can stir inside someone. And if you have yet to feel that, then that is unfortunate.

in the face of Yosemite scenery cautious remonstrance is vain; under its spell one’s body seems to go where it likes with a will over which we seem to have scarce any control
I said that two people were idiots to do something that they were not prepared for and ended up having to be rescued that could have put others in danger and suddenly, I am accused of calling everyone idiots or being callous John Muir was who he was and he did not expect anyone to come and rescue him if he got into trouble. And yes we all do things on impulse or without enough forethought that in retrospect was not a good idea. I am also have been guilty of doing that but yet never put myself or others in danger.

However, I take umbrage at being taken to task for calling two unprepared people idiots, it is my personal opinion which I should be allowed to express. You don't know anything about me and have no idea how Yosemite and other parks stir me. Since you don't know my real name you have no idea what I wrote for Find My Park and most likely have not read what I have posted here about my love of parks and evidently don't understand the meaning behind my name here - parklover. If you did, you would have never made that last comment about me. Yosemite is my heart, Yellowstone is my soul and Rocky Mountain sets my spirit free so yes, I do understand how Yosemite can stir ones hearts strings. Yosemite stirs me so much that after being there over 100 times, I still cry when I leave.

Listen, I'm not going to get into an argument with you over this. Life is too short and you've gotten far to worked up already. I sincerely apologize for bringing you to such a severe state of agitation. Hopefully you have calmed down enough to see that I never went after you or what stirs within you. I simply stated that if you haven't felt the compulsion that overtook this man, then that would be unfortunate. I never said that you hadn't felt it. So, you see, you were at least in error there. As far as calling people idiots, fine, be my guest. It apparently makes you feel better. But just as I don't know a think about you (nor is it at the top of my list to change that), so, too, do you lack any information on the hiker you have treated with such ugly condescension. What we can draw from the article was that the gentleman was at least capable of hiking eight miles. We don't know for sure what signs he came across. We don't even know if he could read them (Yosemite, after all, attracts people from all over the world). What we do know is someone in good enough health to hike eight miles and ascend 4,000+ feet got to the cables and thought they could help him go higher.

It is easy to agree that, given his lack of preparation, the hiker's endeavor was certainly foolish. But to sit at your keyboard and proclaim to the world that he is an outright idiot, I mean, that's just a very harsh and nasty thing to do. Sure, that is your cherished right to do so, just as it was mine to try and help bridge the gap between your point of view and that of the hiker's. I wish you hadn't been so closed off to that.

Again, please, I come in peace. I'm not trying to persuade you or insult you or win some sort of pointless internet battle. I am merely explaining to you where I was coming from. Have a wonderful day.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 13, 2017 09:19AM
Feeling a "compulsion" is not an excuse for idiotic actions that involves endangering the lives of others. I have felt that "compulsion" many times, but my intelligence overrode the emotional desires. This guy was obviously unprepared and way above his skill level for the climb he attempted. In that attempt he put several others in harms way and cost us tax payers tens of thousands of dollars. He was an idiot.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 06, 2017 09:22AM
Quote
parklover
They went without snow or ice gear - hence this is why I called them idiots. If they were competent, knew what they were doing and came prepared for the conditions, they might be called crazy but not idiots.
I agree... sort of. Not much difference between an idiot and someone that's crazy. They were certainly fools to attempt that climb without the proper equipment.
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 06, 2017 03:41PM
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Dave
Quote
parklover
They went without snow or ice gear - hence this is why I called them idiots. If they were competent, knew what they were doing and came prepared for the conditions, they might be called crazy but not idiots.
I agree... sort of. Not much difference between an idiot and someone that's crazy. They were certainly fools to attempt that climb without the proper equipment.
I guess we could call them crazy idiots? LOL In 20 years they are going to think back on it and wonder what ever possessed them to do that. Age tends to make one more aware of your own mortality.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 10, 2017 09:49PM
On the topic of cost to the people rescued: We attended a SAR seminar 2 years ago in Yosemite and I clearly remember the moderator stating that if SAR performs a rescue, there is no charge, but if medical treatment is required, then the patient is billed the cost of the rescue.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 20, 2017 09:49AM
troutwild, your photo may be misleading because it partially captures a South slope of Half Dome.

The trail follows the East ridge and is not that steep:




Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/20/2017 09:57AM by Yury.
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 20, 2017 10:59AM
I didn't mean to hijack the discussion, but still would like to say thanks for the somewhat off-topic content about safety and equipment when going up HD with cables down. I hadn't ever heard about Prusiks or via ferrata and the new knowledge is appreciated.

If I were to attempt a go up HD with the cables down, I'd probably bring two Prusiks and a via ferrata set. If the granite were dry and clean, I would consider the simple "pick up the cable and go up hand-over-hand" method. If traction was less certain, I'd not rely simply on strength to self-arrest, but employ the Prusik or via ferrata technique. Even if not starting the ascent with them, I'd bring them along as backup if conditions (or comfort level) changed on the way.

I just did a quick search and this stuff isn't too expensive, like here: https://www.trekkinn.com/outdoor-mountain/petzl-scorpio-vertigo/448976/p
I've never heard of this place; I'm concerned that it may be a bad idea to buy critical safety equipment like this online from an unknown (to me) vendor. REI has similar items (online only).

I'm even thinking that a Prusik could be used on the third (short) leg, to allow a hands-free rest if needed. Any suggestions about sewn vs. hand-tied Prusik loops?
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 20, 2017 03:59PM
Let's start a new thread.

But..

I've gone up with cables down a few times.
With and without a prusik.

If you enjoy life. Then use a prusik.
You can make one for a few dollars.
Heck, I made a harness out of rope when I lent out my harness.

(i.e. I wouldn't go up without some sort or protection. why?
prusik is simple... and safe... )



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 20, 2017 06:31PM
I personally do not think the via Ferrata setup is appropriate for use on the cables, especially when others are using the cables. If you slip and fall, you have the biners on the cable, so sure you won't fall off the mountain, but you will slide down. And think of all the hands and people you could take out until you hit a stanchion! (Assumes people between stanchions, which is what I experienced before the lottery system-don't know how spaced out people are nowadays!)

At least with a properly rigged Prusik setup, if you slip, it tightens and you don't slide down much... saving you some thwacking against rock, and others their fingers and, possibly, their lives.
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 20, 2017 08:54PM
@JKW I agree. Similar to precautions and awareness of others and surroundings making it important to not send rocks towards others, much of what I was considering was only applicable if there weren't others around. I presumed that when the cables are down, there would not be the normal crowd during the peak (permit0 season. If that's not the case, then I'd have to apply different strategies in consideration of the safety of others.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 21, 2017 07:02AM
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 21, 2017 04:09PM
Thanks for those. I want to say thanks to basilbop for the TR but don't know if he'd more likely see it here or there...

So where did you get your Prusik loops? I researched and found sewn-and-knotted loops that many reported to be very impractical in use. I've also done some research and the "big deal" (TM) seems to be the ratio of Prusik loop to main rope (for grip). It looks like you are using webbing, not rope. I understand (have concluded) that "Prusik" is really the knot/technique, not the rope/loop/webbing. Also, from reading-not-doing, it seems like Prusiks may not be as effective on a (thick, wire) cable as on a rope. Part of the bite comes from the width of the Prusik knot, which twists the rope, and the angle adds to the friction/stiction of the Prusik. I guess it still works well enough though (and no less than a via ferrata set, which stops only when you hit a splice/knot/clamp anyway). You can't fall "off" the dome - or far from the cables - in any case.

Good on you for making hay when the winter was... not. After reading these TRs I don't think I want to go back up HD again when the cables are up? (Were they down when you went... :-)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/21/2017 04:12PM by ags.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 21, 2017 05:06PM
Reply on the TR. This thread has all kinds of stuff in it. And a few not niceities...

Why kinda said maybe we start new thread?

But, alas... ya.. prusik... you can make your own out of a piece or cordage...

i.e.:


two biners... one this way.. one that.. connected to sling connected to your harness...
make a few... in case you drop one ...

or use two slings... they will bite enough to stop you... JKW, blop and I all tried
and it works great.. can relax anywhere pretty much...

when you go around this stuff... best to have two ... therefore you are always
attached to cable...


there's places to rest too...


(blop and JKW are below)



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 22, 2017 02:19PM
Quote
ags
So where did you get your Prusik loops?
Get 6 mm rope e.g. http://www.sterlingrope.com/c/climbing_accessory-prusik-cord_6mm-accessory-cord
Get a carabiner with a screw gate
Get a harness or learn how to improvise one with webbing e.g. http://www.sterlingrope.com/c/climbing_webbing-and-slings
Tie a loop with e.g. grapevine knot
Learn how to tie different "prussik" knots with this loop
Test that your "prussik" knot is holding OK on Half Dome cables

You may also buy a nice book on knots

THE MOST IMPORTANT:
Ask your climbing or mountaineering friend to check your knots, how you tie them and how you move along the cables



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 01/22/2017 03:42PM by Yury.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 20, 2017 11:04AM
ags, please pay attention to a risk of a weather change when you are on the top.

In this case easy hike on a dry granite to the top may be followed by a more dangerous hike down on a wet trail.
Re: Half Dome Hikers Rescued
January 20, 2017 01:02PM
@Yury I fully agree, you are absolutely correct.
Quote

Even if not starting the ascent with them, I'd bring them along as backup if conditions (or comfort level) changed on the way.
On my first attempt of the cables (during month of September I believe - it was cold but the cables were still up) I witnessed a father that had taken his young (~8 yr old) son up the cables, and gotten stuck on a sheet of ice. I don't know if it was dry when they started out, or they went up ice anyway. Poor kid was terrified, we had to form a human chain to get him down (it was near the bottom of the cables, there was very little discussion after their "rescue" so I was never able to fill in the details)
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