despite regs, people still die on Half Dome

When the new permit system (400/day) went in, we hoped that some of the least capable, least prepared “tourists” would be dissuaded from tackling the cables.

But it’s been a bad year at Yosemite:

20 people have died on Half Dome over the decades, nearly all with rain as a factor, officials say. One of the two to perish this year was a Bay Area woman who slipped in a July storm and fell 800 feet. (A total of 13 died in park mishaps this year, the most in decades — including three swept over a raging waterfall on the trail to Half Dome.) …

Surprisingly, helicopter rescues are still free at that Park. But they don’t fly in bad weather — exactly the bad weather that traps people at the top.

Here’s an update on SFgate – Half Dome survivors wish they had taken heed

Note: You can try for a walk-up permit at 7 am the day before you want to climb.

related – Take a Long Hike – Before You Hike, Leave Critical Information

8 Replies to “despite regs, people still die on Half Dome”

  1. Just back from Yosemite and the level of stupidity seemed about average. Although we hiked up and around Vernal and Nevada Falls we passed on the Half Dome. Too touristy for our taste but definitely a formidable landmark. We did take a run up Lembert Dome above Dog Lake. Nice views and a lot less people. The texture of the granite dome provides excellent ‘stick’ with appropriate footwear but I would not be on those slopes in wet or inclement weather. Common sense must prevail. Unsure? Err on the side of caution – always. There are sad stories from Yosemite. We witnessed many acts that made us wince.

  2. that is truly sad. People are always lured to the challenge and they always think they are invincible. Or worse, the “that won’t happen to me” attitude. Always have to be careful.

    I am from Canada and do a lot of hiking up in Canada’s north. Bears are prevalent. I never cut corners ensuring my safety in the event that I come across one.

    My first time on this site, btw. Great articles. I will be a frequent visitor.

  3. In my somewhat less-than-humble-opinion, not only is it impossible to regulate stupidity, it is counterproductive. The safest situations are when the participants are keenly aware that if they make a mistake they will die a horrible death. If the Park Service or anyone else tries watching out for them, the likelihood of a mishap actually increases, not decreases. Charles Darwin wrote the best book on safety ever.

    I once held the record on Half Dome: 2:46, Trailhead-top-Trailhead. One of the most fun runs I ever did.

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