Half Dome – Yosemite Musings
Get or Give Half Dome permits<HERE>
Blog Reader Scott M. sent me the story of an incident that a Yosemite Visitor alledgely experienced while hiking Half Dome. The facts are not totally clear and I assume it took place last year or before. I have no further info but am sharing. This info should not be orbiting the web, but the person should have informed the Park Management to voice his concern. I am only passing it on.
“Mr. X was descending sub dome about 3 pm and passed Mr. M and his son. Turns out M and the boy were in the next tent cabin the night before so they recognized them. Though the boy looked peppy enough, Mr. M had looked utterly spent, crawling upward, bent over. He said he knew they had little chance of getting back down before dark. And if they kept going, odds were good they’d be spending the night somewhere unprotected on Half Dome.
By 8 pm the M’s were not back at the tent cabin, so Mr. X began to worry, but he retired and was awaken at 4 am by the M’s alarm clock. It never went off, meaning the two did not make it back. X got connected to the ranger dispatch, and gave a description of Mr. M and his boy and where they were seen last.
About 11 am Mr. M and his son finally made it back to Curry Village. They said they had to spent the night on the trail since they did not have a flashlight. It became very dark and hard to see. They made it down to the top of Nevada Fall, where the boy became very cold. The dad decided against trying to hike down the Mist Trail in the dark. As he became more concerned about his son’s condition, he called 911 on his cell phone.
The operator told him that it was not an emergency and she would not inform Search and Rescue. Mr. M kept asking for help. He was upset and told her, “my son is dying, he’s shivering and cold.” The operator said since nobody was dead or hurt there was no emergency. She told Mr. M to just keep the boy moving. Eventually, some backpackers came along and offered help. They heated some water and placed hot water bottles on the boy’s stomach. That helped. The hikers said they would inform the ranger at Little Yosemite Valley of the situation. But a ranger never came. Mr. X suspects the rangers/911 operators get a call like that in Yosemite every other day. “ Hmmmm
I think this story sounds fishy. The YOSAR, 911 operators and wilderness rangers are top notch. Personally, I doubt someone in need got the blow off. Help is there to give help. End of tape.
In other park news, last week 4 Korean climbers had trouble on the Nose route of El Cap. They got in over their heads and one had injuries. Recuers could not solve this due to darkness and in the morning a daring helicopter rescue was done. The remaining members of the climbing team were unable to lower themselves off the route due to their lack of experience and also had to be rescued. Two additional lowering operations were conducted to evacuate the Korean climbers. This was on the 24th – with temps over 100 degrees. A tip of the hat to the rescue team!
By the way, did you know that the Sports Basement stores in the Bay area offer FREE CPR classes? These are ASHI approved. You need to register and the wait list is a few weeks. Go to sportsbasement.com for info. Please – take the class in case you find me bonked on the trail!!
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “In the whole Sierra there isn’t a sneeze, but I was quite unable to convince Emerson that this was so . . . you can’t take cold if you keep your nose out of doors.” – John Muir 1911
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com