Non-fatal close call on Yosemite’s Half Dome hike

Yesterday we told you about a man who pushed his body beyond the breaking point when he did the rigorous Half Dome hike. Yes, that man was 71-years old, but what he did is often repeated by younger hikers. The age doesn’t bother me – heck I’m almost 97. (lol although sometimes I feel like it!).

Water filters are a must on the Half Dome hike.

Water filters are a must on the Half Dome hike.

On the same day (Aug 20), yet another person ran into preventable problems. It occurred almost at the same time. Another man (macho? or stupido?) got to the top of Half Dome OK, but when he and his wife (obviously more prepared than he) headed down the seven miles back to the valley, his knees almost literally exploded.

He was 58 and had a history of knee issues – as in little cartilage in the knee to soften the pounding. Yet he attempted to grind them down to nothing step by step.  His wife could see his pain and called on her cell phone for help. Cell coverage is spotty at best. Verizon seems to get the most coverage.

You can imagine how slow they were going. She called for assistance at 9 pm. As in the case reported yesterday, they ran out of water.

They were told to rest and eat while a ranger was dispatched to help them. At that point they were on the pitch black JMT below Clark Point with 28 more switchbacks to go. When it’s dark, it’s coal dark.

By then the man was totally spent and they ran out of options for the next two hours. At that late hour, a litter was requested and more YOSAR came up to get the man down. The gaggle finally got back to the valley after 1:00 am.

A VERY VERY long day.  Let’s meet around the fire tomorrow to discuss how these incidents could have resulted in fatalities and how they could have been prevented.


Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Water, water, everywhere but not a drop to drink.” – The Rhyme of the ancient Mariner

MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch –

One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome

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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2 Responses to Non-fatal close call on Yosemite’s Half Dome hike

  1. Valerie says:

    I was hiking the trail on this day, and I do recall seeing a lot of people I shook my head at for being vastly unprepared as they walked up the Mist Trail. My boyfriend and I were staying in LYV for a midnight hike to Half Dome for sunrise and I can recall looking up at the Dome and seeing people on the cables at 3 or 4 o’clock, which I thought was ridiculously late.

    My pack may have weighed 40 lbs but I was happy and well nourished, both with food and drink, throughout my hike.

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