Half Dome from the Geology HutUpdate IV: A Florida man was found dead Monday, apparently having fallen from a cliff near Mirror Lake in eastern Yosemite Valley.


friend of a couple who witnessed the accident posted this account.


UPDATE II: Rick Deutsch of Hike Half Dome was on the dome Saturday. He was well on his way down — hiking in full rain — when he saw the rescue helicopter heading toward the peak. “I knew this was not a training mission.”


UPDATE: The hiker who fell to his death has been identified: Manoj Kumar, 40, of San Ramon. More on him in the Chron.

Kumar worked for Wells Fargo Bank in San Francisco, according to a family friend, Vikash Pushpraj. He leaves behind a wife who teaches at a Danville nursery school and a 10-year-old son.

A park spokeswoman said Kumar was using the cabled hand rails on his descent from the summit of the mountain when he slipped and fell 100 feet as other hikers looked on. Rain and hail had made the face of the granite slippery.

Pushpraj said Kumar loved hiking and other outdoor activities and was known for his good judgment. He said Kumar had visited Yosemite many times before.

“We were surprised, because he’s usually a very careful and watchful person,” Pushpraj said. “He’s not a professional hiker, but he loved hiking, he loved the mountains.”

Share kind thoughts and prayers for his survivors.


Previously: A week after a hiker slipped at Half Dome but survived, a hiker fell to his death yesterday. It’s still unknown what happened yesterday and common decency requires leaving the second-guessing for another time. Another of us has hiked his last, a tragedy even for those who never knew him. I do think it’s acceptable to discuss safety on Half Dome, however.

I can’t help wondering: Have the crowds made Half Dome unsafe? Should a ranger be posted at the cables full-time?

If you’re thinking of doing the Dome, you simply cannot afford to forget that it is fatally risky, especially in wet weather. It’s eight miles and 4,000 feet of climb to the top; you get there tired and out of breath.

You could buy Rick Deutsch’s book and do everything right and still get killed by a single slip-up.

Of course you could get killed walking down the street or driving to work, but in both instances you develop defensive habits: looking in rear view mirrors, anticipating lead-foots flying through intersections on the yellow, etc. It’s not always enough to be careful out there, but it’s still a prerequisite.

Comments are welcome, but remember: our hiker’s friends/family may find this page in their Web travels; don’t say anything you wouldn’t say to his mom.