December 13, 2017

Yosemite Climber Falls From Half Dome

With a record snowfall and higher amounts of water rushing through the Yosemite National Park, many pathways, rock surfaces and popular climbing areas have become extremely dangerous for the average park goer.

The latest fatality in Yosemite was Helen LaFlamme. The 26 year old was descending Half Dome, a popular climbing attraction in Yosemite, when she lost her footing on the slick granite and fell 600 feet to her death. A sudden rain storm hit the park causing the granite rocks to become very slippery making Half Dome difficult to climb when LaFlamme attempted her descent.

In July, three hikers hopped the protective guard rail around Vernal Fall to take pictures and were swept away by the enormous strength of the rushing water causing them to fall from the 317 foot ledge.

Rivers in Yosemite National Park, such as the Merced River, are running three times higher than average which causes a very fast, strong current, and the water levels are predicted to remain high for several more weeks. Many people who live in cities go to Yosemite to enjoy the outdoors and nature, but they are unaware of the dangerous conditions in the park, especially when the rivers are running so unusually high. Six of the recent deaths in Yosemite, have been water related.

Foolish risks and unpreparedness can contribute to the dangers campers, hikers, and climbers face when visiting Yosemite. Visitors are urged to be extremely cautious near the water and falls around the park and people are warned not to take any unnecessary risks and to follow all of the warning signs that are posted throughout the park. Accidents at places such as Half Dome do occur, and they are usually due to overcrowding and sudden storms that pop up unexpectedly which cause footing to become unstable.

The total death toll so far in 2011 in Yosemite is the highest ever experienced at the park. At 14 Yosemite has never seen so many fatalities. On average the park sees 4 to 6 deaths per season. Yosemite this year has also seen a higher than usual influx of visitors compared to recent years. The park remains a popular vacation destination, but people need to understand and realize the dangers of the rushing rivers and be prepared for dangerous situations that can arise when hiking or mountain climbing in the park.

Read more:
LA Times
Yosemite Deaths Now At A Record-Breaking 14 Following LaFlamme’s Death
Yosemite Death Trap Fatalities Highest in Years, Say Experts
Yosemite waterfall accident a cautionary tale for Yosemite visitors

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)

Yosemite National Park – Overview, History, & Attractions

Yosemite National Park is well known for its spectacular valleys, but there is much more to the area than this. It features incredible waterfalls, beautiful meadows, and stands of ancient sequoia trees. Encompassing more than one thousand miles of pristine wilderness, it offers visitors a chance to get a feel for how nature can be when man does not impose modern development. The wildflowers, grazing mammals, tranquil likes, and rocky granite outcrops can lift the soul to places full of happiness and delight.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite was originally deemed a State Park at the end of the nineteenth century. It was not until the formation of the National Park Service in 1916, that Yosemite’s status was upgraded. It has been popular with visitors from all walks of life ever since it was brought to the attention of the American Public, in fact it was a popular haunt of President Theodore Roosevelt.

Today the park covers more than 760,000 acres of land, in three different counties. It is one of the biggest blocks to be found within the Sierra Nevada mountain chain. It is often said that Yosemite National Park introduced conservation concepts to the wider society, and created a type of mindset that is still in force today.

The park holds the claim of having the country’s highest waterfall. Yosemite Falls measures in at an impressive 2,425 feet. There are a number of trails you can follow that would allow you the chance to view the falls in all their majesty. Before heading off, find out which path suits your fitness ability, the Upper Yosemite Falls Trail is only for the physically fit.

Another attraction worth adding to your itinerary is Mariposa Grove, here you can walk amongst more than two hundred sequoias, the oldest of which are believed to be have been growing for more than 1,500 years. You should also make the effort to visit Half Dome, this granite outcrop has been split in two by glacial erosion. It soars to a height of more than 4,700 feet and is an impressive sight even for the most experienced travellers.

Yosemite is the perfect destination for adventure sport enthusiasts. The rock climbing opportunities stand apart from other locations in the country.

The park is open twelve months of the year, though in the winter season, you will need to come prepared for extreme cold and possible snowy conditions. Most visitors choose to plan their trips between June and August. At this time it pays to book any campground reservations far in advance. To avoid the crowds, organize your visit for the spring or autumn.

If you are planning to enter the park a number of times in a year, you can get hold of an annual pass for $40. Otherwise you will need to pay a $10 fee for a single trip entering on foot, or $20 for a vehicle. Yosemite definitely deserves the acclaim and reputation that are now synonymous with its name. If you want to get a feel for the true essence of our nation’s environmental heritage, it would be the perfect location.

For more information visit http://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm