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At approximately 3:40 p.m. this afternoon, Yosemite National Park’s Emergency Communication Center received a 911 phone call reporting a fall of a hiker on Half Dome. National Park Rangers arrived on scene via the park helicopter soon thereafter. A male park visitor was found dead and about 30 hikers were still on the cables.
Weather in the park is cold and cloudy with hail reported on Half Dome. This makes for treacherous conditions and the granite is very slippery. Yosemite National Park Rangers are currently assisting hikers off of the cables and down to Yosemite Valley. This weather pattern has been in place for approximately one month in the park and these conditions lead to a similar search and rescue operation in the park last week.
The last hiker who died on Half Dome was Hirofumi Nohara, who slipped to his death on the cables on June 16, 2007.
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.
The cause of the fatality is under investigation and Yosemite National Park Rangers are currently focusing their efforts on brining the remaining visitors to safety.