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Hiker Fatality on Half Dome Cables in Yosemite National Park

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Date: August 1, 2011

At approximately 12:00 p.m. Sunday, July 31, 2011, Yosemite National Park’s Emergency Communication Center received a 911 phone call reporting a fall of a hiker on the Half Dome cables. Hayley LaFlamme, a 26 year old female from San Ramon, California, had gone to the top of Half Dome and was descending when she fell 600 feet off the cables. National Park Rangers pronounced her deceased upon arrival on scene.

A severe lightning, thunder, and rainstorm was present in the area of Half Dome for several hours in the morning and early afternoon yesterday. This type of weather can make for hazardous trail conditions and the granite slopes become very slick. Half Dome trip planning and safety information is available through the Yosemite National Park webpage at http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/halfdome.htm

The cause of the fall is currently under investigation.  

The last hiker who died on Half Dome was Majoj Kumar, from San Ramon, California, on June 13, 2009.

Additionally, on June 16, 2007, Hirofumi Nohara, slipped to his death on the cables. Two other Half Dome fatalities involved women who were hiking on Half Dome when the cables were down. These were Jennifer Bettles, who died on April 21, 2007 and Emily Sandal, who died on November 8, 2006.

Did You Know?

Vernal and Nevada Falls

In Yosemite Valley, dropping over 594-foot Nevada Fall and then 317-foot Vernal Fall, the Merced River creates what is known as the “Giant Staircase.” Such exemplary stair-step river morphology is characterized by a large variability in river movement and flow, from quiet pools to the dramatic drops of the waterfalls themselves.