On July 31 Hayley LaFlamme, a 26-year-old woman from San Ramon, Calif. had climbed to the top of Half Dome and was descending when she fell 600 feet off the cables.
Yosemite National Park’s Emergency Communication Center received a 911 phone call reporting the fall of LaFlamme around noon. National Park Rangers pronounced her deceased upon arrival on scene.
A severe lightning, thunder, and rain storm was present in the area of Half Dome for several hours in the morning and early afternoon that day. This type of weather can make for hazardous trail conditions and the granite slopes become very slick. It may have been the reason for LaFlamme’s fall.
The cause of the fall is currently under investigation, according to a press release from the Park.
According to a story from the Associated Press, LaFlamme’s fall brings the number of deaths in Yosemite to 14 this year. “In 2007, seven people were killed at the park, the most in any recent year until this one,” the article added.
The last hiker who died on Half Dome was Majoj Kumar, from San Ramon, Calif., on June 13, 2009.
Additionally, on June 16, 2007, Hirofumi Nohara, slipped to his death on the cables. Two other Half Dome fatalities involved women who were hiking on Half Dome when the cables were down. These were Jennifer Bettles, who died on April 21, 2007 and Emily Sandal, who died on Nov. 8, 2006.
For Half Dome safety information visit http://www.nps.gov/yose/