Summer always brings big crowds to Yosemite’s stunning granite vistas—50,000 of them use handrails to make their way up the steep rock slope to the summit of Half Dome each year. While not remotely technical, the vertiginous climb can intimidate inexperienced hikers, and varying weather conditions can make it worse.
Unfortunately, visitors often ignore bad weather warnings posted by rangers, and the results can be fatal: On Saturday, one hiker plummeted to his death while climbing Half Dome in rain and hail conditions. Manoj Kumar, 40, of San Ramon, fell 100 feet in front of several witnesses while using handrails to descend from the 8,842-foot summit. He continued falling and came to rest on a ledge 1,800 feet below that.
Rangers evacuated 41 other hikers also on the Dome. This happened exactly one week after a woman fell 300 feet to a ledge while hiking Half Dome. She survived, but suffered serious broken bones and other injuries.
Be careful out there, people. If it starts hailing on you, it’s probably best not to ascend that slick granite slope…