Second hiker dies in fall at Yosemite

Florida man's fall from Mirror Lake cliff follows San Ramon hiker's fatal fall from Half Dome

A missing Florida man's body was found yesterday in Yosemite National Park just two days after a San Ramon hiker fell to his death from the park's Half Dome trail.

Rangers found Christopher Hale of Gainesville, Florida, who apparently fell to his death from a cliff above Mirror Lake in the easern part of Yosemite Valley. He had been training with the park's concessionaire, DNC Parks and Resorts, and was scheduled to start work later this summer.

The San Ramon hiker, Manoj Kumar, 40, a software engineer from San Ramon, fell possibly hundreds of feet to his death from Half Dome on Saturday. Kumar worked for Wells Fargo Bank in San Francisco, according to reports, and leaves behind a wife who teaches at a Danville nursery school and a 10-year-old son.

Yosemite park Ranger Kari Cobb said Kumar apparently fell through the cables, which span the trail about 400 feet up Half Dome. About 40 people witnessed him fall, Cobb said.

Half Dome, a granite monolith and one of the most popular hikes in Yosemite, is 17 miles roundtrip. Cobb said the experience of climbing it is "like hiking up a big, granite dome."

Yosemite Park officials advise hikers to wait for sunny weather before hiking.

"The weather was not ideal for the hike," Cobb said. "That definitely played a big part. It gets really slippery when it gets wet."

The last person to fatally fall from Half Dome was a Japanese hiker in June 2007, who also slipped and fell from the cables.

Jeb Bing,Bay City News


Like this comment
Posted by Sammi
a resident of Dublin
on Jun 15, 2009 at 10:35 am

What a terrible tragedy. It's summer time and with more people out hiking and enjoying the outdoors, we all need to be careful. My thoughts and prayers are with the family.

Like this comment
Posted by Former SAR Ranger
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 15, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Mr. Kumar would have been safer if he stayed on top the rock rather then trying to come down once the storm started. NPS with the help of the helicopter, sent up care packages of blankets and necessities for several hikers that waited out the storm at the top. After the storm passed, NPS escorted several hikers down the rock safely. there are several overhangs and caves on Half Dome that WILL protect you from the elements of a late afternoon storm in the summer.

Like this comment
Posted by no common sense
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jun 15, 2009 at 5:40 pm

What I can never understand is why it is the responsibility of the rescue teams to risk their lives to save people who do not have the sense to do the right thing. How many times have we heard about rescuers who die in the attempt to save someone who should not have been there in the first place? People who hike in bad weather are not using common sense, SAR teams should not be at risk, nor should the taxpayers have to fund searches, when a person takes an unreasonable risk.

Like this comment
Posted by lisa
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2009 at 7:42 pm

No common sense
you are another insensitive jerk who should refrain from making callous, unnecessary comments during another's tragic and painful time. Shut up.

Like this comment
Posted by hey lisa please read
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 15, 2009 at 8:10 pm

No Commen sense makes more sense then you. As a former SAR ranger In Yosemite and many other parks, Mr Kumar made a very wrong decision. For one was hiking when everyone knew thunderstorms were coming in the valley and number two--Rescuers advissed the people on Half Dome to take cover (there are many caves to take refuge in) until the storm passed and then they would be escorted down. Seems Mr Kumar didn't listen and decided to take it into his own hands. Yes it's tragic and I have seen more body parts in Yosemite at a bottom of a climp then you'll ever see in a life time. I am a proud retired memeber of SAR and will always be proud. some people just don't understand that when they tell you to stop and take cover they don't.

Like this comment
Posted by Julie
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2009 at 9:13 pm

Julie is a registered user.

Taxpayers fund lack of common sense all the time. How many firefighters have died or been injured because some idiot fell asleep smoking? Or, how many police officers have died or been injured because someone made a stupid choice? I understand what you are saying, but we can't start subjectively judging who deserves emergency services and who doesn't. I'm happy to pay taxes for these services and *never* need to use them....

Also, perhaps in this case there was fair warning about the weather, but it's very changeable in the mountains. I've been caught off guard by sudden thunderstorms before.

My condolences to the family of Mr. Kumar.

Like this comment
Posted by Former SAR Ranger
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 15, 2009 at 9:30 pm

this is the latest from Yosemite regarding the death of Mr Kumar. He WAS at fault being on the outside of the cables.
Some people never learn to follow directions.

Death on Yosemite's Half Dome occurred amid 'perfect storm' of circumstances
June 15, 2009

Late Saturday afternoon, when Manoj Kumar fell to his death while attempting a descent of Half Dome within Yosemite National Park, there prevailed what a park spokesman described as a "perfect storm" of circumstances.

Saturday is the busiest day of the week on a cabled ladder system that enables climbers to negotiate the 425-foot sheer granite dome to and from its summit.

But by early afternoon it had become cold and blustery, with rain and fog and sporadic hail. Many hikers had aborted their climbs but some had not. The granite and the cables had become slippery. Some hikers froze in fear. Others tried scurrying around on the outside (OUTSIDE please note) edges of the cables.

An investigation continues to determine exactly what caused Kumar, 40, a Northern California software engineer, to let go and plummet nearly 200 feet, but he had been on the OUTSIDE edge of one of the cables.

After Kumar fell, 41 climbers were assisted in what the park called a "controlled evacuation" that lasted until dark.

Like this comment
Posted by Monty Snakeman
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 3, 2011 at 8:51 am

While it is tragic what has happened for a 2nd time in a week, I think it is also time to put a end to these thrill seekers from further defacing Half dome and other natural monuments like it and causing a unnecessary drain on what limited public safety resources our tax dollars pay for.

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