December 13, 2017

Yosemite Hikers Go Over Vernal Falls

“Three hikers are missing in Yosemite National Park, after they reportedly fell over a guardrail at Vernal Falls. The hikers, thought to be a woman and two men, are believed to have gone over Vernal Falls on Tuesday afternoon.

After receiving multiple calls from visitors reporting the accident, officials at Yosemite dispatched thirty rescue workers to search the area. A half-mile area of the Mist Trail, which leads to the waterfall, has been closed while they conduct the search.

Witnesses reported seeing a man and woman climb over the guardrail to get a better view of the waterfall, even encouraging their children to climb over too. The parents started to slip before the children made it over the rail, and a male who tried to save the parents also fell over the edge of the 320 foot waterfall.

After the hikers fell, a witness described seeing a man and woman holding onto a rock or island in the water. Another witness said that the third hiker was floating in the water nearby. They were then swept over the waterfall.

Unfortunately, this has happened before. In the past ten years, ten people have died in and around Vernal Falls, which is 1.5 miles from the Happy Isle Nature Centre in Yosemite Valley.

There are warnings posted in several languages telling people of the dangers of going beyond the guardrail.

The hike to Vernal Falls is three miles with a 1000 foot rise in elevation. It is aptly called Mist Trail, due to the fact the hikers are often sprayed with mist from the waterfall as they climb to the top. The hike can take anywhere from two to five hours. It is one of the most popular hikes at Yosemite National Park. At the top of the Falls there is a pool called Emerald Pool, with a 20 degree slope of rock with a small waterfall that flows into the pond, called the Silver Apron. Swimming in the pool is against Park regulations, due to strong undercurrents which are not visible from the surface.

Due to record snowfall recently, the waterfalls in Yosemite are spectacular, but the turbulent waters have claimed the lives of at least eight people this year alone. In May a hiker slipped and fell into the Merced River, his body recovered hours later. In June, two mean were swept off a bridge, and a man who disappeared while hiking is still missing.”

Today News at MSNBC

Yosemite Rangers Fear Hikers Swept Over Falls

Vernal Fall – Wikipedia

Yosemite Hikes – The Mist Trail

Yosemite National Park (US National Park Service)