Tragedy at Yosemite National Park

June 14th, 2009 - 9:06 pm ICT by GD  

According to Yosemite National Park officials, an unfortunate accident involving a male hiker took place on Saturday afternoon. This visitor to the national park died after falling while climbing the Half Dome, the famous granite rock–face in the park.

The man fell to his death at 3:40 p.m. on Saturday, Park Ranger Scott Gediman says, and that the initial official investigation revealed that he had used the cable handrails installed to help hikers up and down the iconic site for the seventeen mile trip, nearly five thousand feet high. Gediman says that the climbing conditions on Half Dome’s granite face was not good that day. The trail was wet and slippery because of rain and hail. “Right now the weather is cold and cloudy, hail has been reported on Half Dome today and the granite gets very slippery,” he said.

Almost thirty other Half Dome climbers had to be brought down by an escort of rangers for safety reasons later that evening. The officials did not find out immediately if the man was in a group or alone.

The news of the installation of the handrails is greeted with enthusiasm among the hiking community, because of the spectacular panorama of the Vernal and Nevada falls. But once in a while a tragedy like this will cast a pall over a what would otherwise have been a mentally and spiritually fulfilling experience. The death on Saturday was witnessed by many visitors who would no doubt go home emotionally scarred. Japanese hiker Hirofumi Nohara, who slipped off the cables on June 16, 2007 was the last person to die at Half Dome.

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