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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

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