Skip to comments.Man falls to his death off Yosemite's Half Dome
Posted on 08/24/2011 6:46:24 AM PDT by socal_parrot
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Yosemite National Park officials are trying to determine why a man fell to his death while climbing Half Dome Monday evening.
Park officials tell Action News, search and rescue crews recovered the body of an unidentified man Tuesday morning at the base of the popular dome.
(Excerpt) Read more at abclocal.go.com ...
I believe this is the 3rd Half Dome death this year. This is the first year they are controlling everyday access to the cables on Half Dome, requiring a permit. I think this shows limiting the amount of hikers to make it safer hasn’t worked and the only people benefiting from that program are the folks scalping the permits.
I’ve never understood this type of thrill-seeker personality. To each his own, but to me it’s such an artificial way to get a thrill. Same as skydiving. Like I said, to each his own, but I prefer the thrill of activities that also have a substantive, productive purpose. I look at unnecessary risk as a jinx.
Time to close Yosemite. Aside from the fiscal savings of staff, maintenance and recovery efforts, if it saves just ONE life......
Officials suspect that a mysterious force causing acceleration of 32 feet per second, per second which has been known to affect climbers on the rock face, may have been the cause.
There is nothing artificial about it it is all too real
Spock: I have been monitoring your progress.
Kirk: I'm flattered. Twelve hundred points of interest in Yosemite and you picked me.
“Yosemite National Park officials are trying to determine why a man fell to his death while climbing Half Dome Monday evening.”
I have 2 friends from high school who climbed the FACE of Half Dome back in the 1950s. It took 2 days, as I remember, and they slept in rope slings on the face of the dome over night. They are both still alive today.
Once you start rolling, there's no stopping.
Prayers for the hiker and his family.
It just seems like creating danger to get a thrill. Real danger is a rush. Manufactured danger seems a little weird to me, but some people live for it. If they have kids, it’s pretty selfish. Necessary risk is one thing. Thrill-seeking is asking for trouble.
While gravity was involved, I suspect weakness accompanied by fear precipitated a release. Once the ability to control gravity was lost, descent was inevitable
At one point in my misspent youth, my job required jumping out of planes and helicopters, technical climbing, repelling of all sorts of things, playing with explosives and dangerous animals (like other paratroopers...)
I was not thrill seeking. It was my job.
(Well, ok, the bunji jumping off bridges was thrill seeking.)
More info here...
I’ve pondered getting our Scout troop to make the attempt. I’ve seen pics of other Scouts making the ascent with harnesses on. Seems like that’s the only way I’d attempt it.
“I prefer the thrill of activities that also have a substantive, productive purpose.”
I’m not sure where you draw the boundaries. Most recreational activities—hiking in the Swiss Alps, water skiing, climbing, skydiving—don’t have a “substantive, productive purpose.” People do these things because they are enjoyable; but each poses at least some degree of risk to the individual. Some people are willing to take more risks than others.
I went tandem sky-diving with an instructor who’d done over 7,000 previous jumps. It was quite a thrill, but in the context of his experience, I didn’t view it as particularly risky. That said, neither would I defend it as having a “productive” purpose. The purpose was to have fun, and I don’t regard that as an illegitimate reason to undertake an activity.
Well that sudden removal of 32 feet/second/second at the bottom is the real culpret! :-)
Pesky impulse responces!
I can help out here.
In a word: GRAVITY!
Everyday you get into the shower or drive could be your last.
Obey gravity....it’s the law.
Vision quests and all. There is a spiritual component to it.
Or, you could be on your computer in VA and get whacked by an earthquake.
In the end life is a game everyone eventually loses.
On the other hand: "I intend to live forever. So far, so good..." ---Stephen Wright
[trying to determine why a man fell to his death ]
I’m thinking gravity might of had something to do with it. And trying to defy it.
Climbing Half Dome is going where many people have gone before. And yes, life has risk. I just think it helps to have a reason. And yes, part of what we do with life is seek enjoyment. I understand that and I partake. In the end, as you say, it’s a question of where to draw the line.
I’ve done it twice without a harness. While the visual of a 3,000 foot drop is a bit daunting, I felt fairly safe. I saw several kids doing it wit their parents, most with harnesses. As long as the rock is dry, you stay between the cables and don’t screw around, I think the risk is minimal.
Most of the deaths in Yosemite this year were due to people taking stupid chances, wading near the top of a waterfall, climbing in the rain, etc.
Got my doubts there. From Wikipedia:
The first attempt to climb it was made in 1954 by Dick Long, Jim Wilson, and George Mandatory. However, they only managed to climb 175 feet before retreating.
A more serious attempt to find passage up this cliff was made in 1955 by Jerry Gallwas, Don Wilson, Royal Robbins and Warren Harding. After climbing a mere 500 feet over five days, this party, too, retreated.
Gallwas and Robbins, armed with new chrome-molybdenum pitons made by Gallwas, recruited Mike Sherrick and set off on June 24, 1957, determined this time to finish the route. Over a period of five days, they encountered repeated obstacles and, using ingenuity and tenacity, they surmounted all these difficulties.
Five days after they had left the ground, they stood at the summit. Warren Harding had hiked up the backside of Half Dome via the hikers' trail for the occasion. He had been planning, along with Mark Powell and Bill "Dolt" Feuerer, to give the route another attempt, but had been beaten to it by the successful team. Nevertheless, Harding offered the triumphant team a warm congratulations.
While searching around the interwebz on this topic, I came across an article/blog about a guy who got tired of waiting for the human traffic jam to clear so he could descend.
He went outside the cables. An hour or so later, a man fell to his death. Didn’t give details about the circumstances, but I suspect that he either went outside the cables or lost his grip while jockeying for position.
I’m not afraid per se, just doing my risk assessment.
Thanks for the insight, it’s always good to get first hand experiences/knowledge.
The feds need to do more than that. They should blast it with explosives and remove the whole mountain.
I don’t think so because I clearly remember the front page picture in the Fresno Bee. It cause quite a stir in our household, to be sure. I don’t know any of the people listed in your records. The climb could have been as late as the early 60s, but our friend was a fighter pilot in the AF, stationed in Germany, by then. He later served in VN and Thailand.
"Early '60s" I would buy, as "the bolt trail" was well established by then. Harding especially was famous for all the drilling he did. I promise you: It wasn't just anybody who was allowed to make those first few ascents. The Park Service has little interest in making rescues in a location like that.
Kirk was climbing El Capitan...
Did you notice the folks OUTSIDE of the cables?
THAT is ridiculous as well.
I understand your scepticism, although todays modern, lightweight, and high-tech equipment makes the ascent a little bit more accessible to the well-equipped climber.
Notable speed climbs have been acocmplished by climbing teams well within 3 hours and solo climbs of the west face have been accomplsihed in under 4 hours.
so there’s a half dome someplace other than Minneapolis?
A nice view from the cables...
I don’t know, sounds like a pretty safe trip this year. Just don’t trip getting out of the car at Tuolumne Meadows.
Cool pic, yours from your ascents?
That would make sense. You’re not expecting such and being surprised by somebody could cause big problems.
Well now, the 0bama adminsitration is just going to have to get busy and ban it.
Which has nothing whatever to do with the climbing situation in the 1950a, which is what the post was about. I'm well aware of the major improvements in both art and technology since then.
Yeah, I know, but I figured it was close enough...