Half Dome fall survivor benefit

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

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     June 6th, 2009 was a day with threatening clouds over the Valley. As the day wore on two women were cautiously coming down the Half Dome cables about 3:00 pm. Gina (first time hiker) and her friend Vanessa were anxious to get out of the deteriorating scene.  The clouds turned to fog and covered the top of Half Dome as a light rain and snow began to fall. To refresh you, June in 2009 was an odd rainy month. The normal hot temps did not arrive until July and the threat of weather did not stop many from going up. On this occasion, the two women pushed to get off Half Dome before things really turned sour.  Gina and her hiking partner were among the last down the cables. Their downward trek degraded to one of sliding down from one pole/board to the next. Due to the very cold cables and wet rock, things got worst.   

     With numb hands and a slick rock, Gina slipped under the cable and slid over 100 feet down but miraculously stopped after slamming into a rare upward facing 20-foot long 8-inch high ledge. A few brave souls were there to monitor her breathing but unconscious body.  The poor weather caused several hours to pass before a rescue helicopter could arrive to get her to intensive care at Doctor’s Medical Center in Modesto. That fateful day Gina suffered a broken clavicle, a compression fracture in the spine, a couple of broken ribs, a shattered jaw, and a fractured cranial bone with a small amount of bleeding under her skull. A year and half later, she has made a super recovery. After 18 months in therapy she has back problems, so sitting is not a lot of fun. She has double vision and needs special glasses to help and her memory is getting better.  She gets car at the Brain Injury Center of Ventura County. She also participates in their “speakers bureau” – a group of brain injury survivors who tell their story with emotion and honesty to help others learn from their situation. As she recovers she’s learning to teach Yoga.

     I am not telling you this to be morbid, but to ask you to support a benefit in Camarillo, CA (SoCal) where a fundraiser is being held this Saturday March 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the High Street Arts Center, 45 High St. in Moorpark.  The night’s entertainment will feature members of Hollywood’s Magic Castle, in “An Evening of Magic.” The funds raised will benefit the Brain Injury Center. If you live in the area, take your buddies out and attend the event.

Note: The above account was compiled from information from Vanessa Holz (Gina’s hiking pal that day) and Rick Powell who witnessed the fall and aided her while rescue came.   

Unrelated thought worth quoting: The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.” – John Muir

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

About Mr Half Dome - Rick Deutsch

Mr Half Dome. Has written the only half dome hiking guide, One Best Hike: Yosemite's Half Dome. Has hiked it 31 times to day. Lives in San Jose, CA Available for presentations. Carpe Diem Experience, LLC
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0 Responses to Half Dome fall survivor benefit

  1. Christine says:

    It was overcast all day and that was a little refreshing from the usual June heat. As I got half way up the cables, it began snowing (at noon) quickly got to the top for a few photos and then hurried down. By the time I got back to the Valley, it was raining heavily. Glad Gina survived, but so sad that the sudden turn in weather resulted in such severe injuries for her 🙁

  2. Christine says:

    OMG! I hiked Half Done that very day! It started snowing as I was halfway up the cables. This story is so sad :/

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