Yosemite National Park Visitor Dies After Falling From the Half Dome Cables

By Wire Service Content

A Yosemite National Park visitor died after falling from the cables at the Half Dome on Sept. 5 morning, according to National Park officials.

29-year-old Danielle Burnett, from Lake Havasu City, Arizona, fell over 500 feet down a rocky surface and was pronounced dead when the Park Rangers arrived on the scene, National Park Public Affairs Officer Scoot Gediman said in a statement to CNN.

The incident is under investigation.

One of Burnett’s family members posted on Facebook confirming the loss, “It’s with a broken heart to inform you all that our beautiful Danielle left us yesterday doing something she loved so much… this will take time.”

The last death on the famous Half Dome was in May of 2018, when a hiker slipped and fell during dangerous weather conditions. It was the first incident since 2010.

The famous landmark in Yosemite is a 14 to 16 mile round trip hike that ends with a 400 foot cable climb up to the top of the rock formation, according to the park’s website. A guide for hikers strongly indicates caution when climbing the cables, and notes that “since 1919, relatively few people have fallen and died on the cables. However, injuries are not uncommon for those acting irresponsibly.”

The cables are only up from about May to October due to weather, and permits are required to make the hike.

Since only 300 hikers are allowed to make the climb a day, when the cables are in use, the permits are based on a preseason lottery and daily application lotteries. 75 of the 300 hiking spots are reserved for backpackers and those staying overnight on the trail.

Yosemite National Park, California
Park rangers meet in front of Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park, Calif., on June 18, 2016. (David Calvert/Getty Images)

Man Dies After Falling Near a Waterfall

In similar incidents last month, three visitors were injured, one fatally, in falls in Yosemite National Park, and officials are imploring tourists to avoid venturing off-trail.

A 21-year-old man died after he slipped and fell from the base of a waterfall in the California park, National Park Service officials told CNN on Aug. 5.

He was one of three people to slip near waterfalls in the park in one week, officials said in a Facebook post.

In two incidents Jul. 29 and 31, another visitor and a man fell 20 feet after slipping on wet boulders near the base of Bridalveil Fall, officials said. Both had left the marked trail to scramble up the sides of the boulders.

Rescuers clad in climbing shoes with sticky rubber soles scrambled up the slippery boulders to reach the visitors and provide life support, officials said. Both visitors were flown to the park’s El Capitan Meadow, where ambulances met them.

The unnamed man died outside the park after his fall on Jul. 31. Park officials declined to release his name or the nature of his death, citing privacy laws.

The third incident occurred on Aug. 1 at Lower Yosemite Fall, where a visitor slipped off a boulder and became trapped between rocks underwater in Yosemite Creek. They escaped, and bystanders helped them out of the water, according to the park.

They were transferred to an ambulance for further medical attention.

Officials declined to give any other details about the visitors.

Yosemite officials are advising visitors to stay on marked paths, away from slippery rocks.

“When you go into these areas, you’re not only exposing yourself to serious injury, but also your rescuers,” the park said.

The boulders near the falls are granite, polished smooth by the waterfalls. They’re extremely dangerous to climb, whether they’re wet or dry, according to park officials.

People have slipped and injured themselves at Bridalveil Fall 23 times over the past few years, the park said. Of those incidents, 14 involved head injuries.

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