Two rescues on Yosemite’s Half Dome | No fatalities, just a lot of pain and suffering

Last week, August 20 was a busy day for YOSAR – Yosemite Search and Rescue. Two older hikers found themselves in situations over their hiking ability. These stories have a kinda “happy” ending, but lessons are to be learned by hikers of all ages.

Half Dome - a tough hike for anyone!

Half Dome – a tough hike for anyone!

The first incident occurred when a 71-year old man set out on his goal of summiting Half Dome with his daughter and her friend. The situation got dire when, at the Vernal Fall Mist Trail, the man already appeared very tired. This point is only about an hour into the normal 12 hour day. He rejected the woman’s advice to abort the hike.  Read on.

Seems the man wore brand new boots, carried no food and was generally unfit. He continued. Despite starting at a reasonable 6:30 am, the trio arrived at Sub Dome about 2:30 in the afternoon. VERY slow. Most arrive between 11 and 1 pm.

By this time the man was totally out of water and the daughter again helped him. She and her friend did not ascend the cables, but he insisted on going alone. A group on top saw him totally exhausted and helped him back down, arriving at the base of Sub Dome at 4:30 pm.

They called YOSAR and were advised to continue down to the Little Yosemite Valley Ranger Station. All three were tired and famished, but arrived at LYV where they were given food and water.

As they proceeded down towards the valley, they got lost and called YOSAR again. Responders found them and escorted them down the Mist Trail where they finally reached the Merced after midnight.

A long day.  Did we learn anything here?

Read about the next rescue – tomorrow.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Be prepared.” – Boy Scout Motto

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 Two rescues on Yosemite’s Half Dome | No fatalities, just a lot of pain and suffering

  1. Ron Cunning says:

    I am also 71 years old. On Aug 20 I was getting my Half Dome permit. On Aug 21 I backpacked from Happy Isles to LYV campground. On Aug 22 I made the summit of Half Dome and returned to LYV campground. On Aug 23 I backpacked out to Happy Isles. I have a very capable son who accompanied me and was willing to spend 3 days of his time to let me achieve my goal. He could easily have done the climb and return in one day. I am deeply grateful for his patience. Your book “Yosemite’s Half Dome”, 2nd ed., was wonderfully helpful in planning this climb. Thank You.

    • Ron – Kudos to you. Age is just a number. It cracks me up when folks tell me “I’m turning 40 and I need to do HD before I can’t.” I did my first one at 39 and … now 39 times more. Do it every year. Training will keep you in shape.

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