News

San Ramon woman dies in fall from Half Dome

Wet weather may be to blame

A 26-year-old San Ramon woman died Sunday after she fell from the Half Dome cables at Yosemite National Park, according to park officials.

The park's emergency communications center received a 911 call at about noon reporting that a hiker had fallen from the cables, which allow

hikers to reach the nearly 5,000-foot summit without the use of rock-climbing equipment.

National Park Rangers responded and found Hayley LaFlamme dead from the fall.

It appears that she had climbed to the top of Half Dome and was on her way down when she fell from the 400-foot cable section and then down a cliff, landing about 600 feet below, Yosemite Park Ranger Kari Cobb said.

Park rangers are still investigating what caused her to fall but noted that there had been a severe thunderstorm for several hours that morning.

Wet weather can make for hazardous trail conditions, and the granite slopes along the cable route can become slick, Cobb said.

She said warnings are posted on the park's website; on the permit, which is now required for hikers to access Half Dome; at the base of the trail; and at the summit advising hikers not to attempt the climb if it is wet.

Trails at Yosemite, however, are not heavily regulated.

"Ultimately, it's up to the visitor, whatever trail they're on, to assess the safety of the situation," Cobb said.

She said LaFlamme had a permit to climb Half Dome and was with three other people when she fell.

The last hiker to die on Half Dome was 40-year-old Manoj Kumar, also a San Ramon resident, who slipped and fell on June 13, 2009, during a rain and hail storm.

Comments

Posted by William, a resident of Danville
on Aug 2, 2011 at 6:45 am

So sad, I was just in Yosemite and read the recommendations for climbing half dome. Harness, carbiner to snap in to the cable, special shoes, sturdy gloves etc. Less than 1 out of 10 follow the recommendations that will save your life.


Posted by Erick Larson, a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 2, 2011 at 8:24 am

Just an editorial correction to a tragic story. The elevation of Half Dome is 8842 ft. The climb from the valley floor is about 5,000 ft.


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