Another Suicide on Half Dome

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing 


Generic photo of Visor area

Generic photo of Visor area

A man shot himself while on the Visor of Half Dome early Saturday morning September 19, 2009.  There has been no info out of the park or the media feeds.  He was found by one of the earliest hikers to reach the top Saturday morning at around 6:30 am. Unknown how long he had been on the dome or if he may have been there overnight. He carried a gun and shot himself while in the Visor area. A group who did the sunrise hike arrived to find the body among the granite  gslabs.  The helicopter retrieved his remains. The cables were closed for 2 hours while authorities did an investigation. They do a forensic and situation study to confirm if  it was a suicide or homicide. Often things are not what they appear, so the park does its due diligence. They also need to find his car and personal property. Then there is the identification process, notification of next of kin as well as county/state offices. We konw he was from Oregon and was very depressed. The body was removed by 9 am. With beautiful weather on Saturday many hikers were heading up the Sub Dome about then and were told by hikers coming down of the situation. Many turned back but some continued, causing a backlog at the saddle while this got sorted out.  It’s really sad that people cannot find a solution to their problems. While on my High Sierra Camp hike 2 weeks ago, a guy told me his friend jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge the week before – the economy and his situation became too much. He left a family. The park service did not publicize the July 2008 jumper off the Visor. If you sense someone is desperate, call your local suicide prevention office.  (Updated 9/23)


Related thought worth quoting: “Some things in life are bad, they can really make you mad. Other things just make you swear and curse. When you’re chewing on life’s gristle don’t grumble, give a whistle, and this’ll help things turn out for the best…And always look on the bright side of life.” – Monty Python’s Flying Circus


Mr. Half Dome -Rick Deutsch –


7 Responses to “Another Suicide on Half Dome”

  1. Rex Says:

    Yes, I was climbing HD on Sat. and reached the top just as they closed the cables. A helicopter flew in an investigation team while we were midway up the cables. We were one of the last to descend before they started letting people back up the cables. Huge backlog of people waiting at the base. Very sad story on what was a gorgeous weekend in Yosemite.

  2. Duane Sand Says:

    We turned back an hour after seeing a helicopter leave the summit, and later spoke to the young man who found the body.

  3. mrhalfdome Says:

    The park is still attempting to find next of kin, so I doubt any more will be coming out on this …actually what else could there be anyway? His name, age, hometown? Doesn’t really matter. The guy is gone. Selfish act all around. Sorry to all the people who had the goal of summitting Half Dome that day and were turned around.

    Condolences to his family and friends.


  4. GlobalGirl Says:

    I was also hiking on this incredibly beautiful day at Half Dome. My boyfriend and I were shocked to hear of what happened from a fellow hiker who was on his way back from the summit. We were told that the cables had been shut when he got there, which was about 8am, but he waiting and they re-opened them around 9am I think.

    I could not help wondering who this person was, why he chose Half Dome – aside from its incredible serenity and beauty. Maybe as someone who felt life was too painful, he simply chose the most beautiful place he could think of to say his final goodbyes before closing his eyes to this world.

    I know people are sad not to have made the summit, and that people travel from all over the world to climb this breathtaking rock. I am sorry that you lost your opportunity. However I am deeply offended at the blog posted by Duane Sand that referred to the deceased man as a piece of inconsiderate trash. I know people say selfish – and yes, I can see that – but the fact that people like this are so desperately sad overrides any of that. When I was 17 I found a man that hung himself in a tree. Was it hard for me – YES – but what was harder was just to try to imagine the place of darkness that he was in. Where is your heart, where is your compassion for someone obviously so desperately lost. My heart goes out to him, to his family – I hope in his final moments there was some peace, light and hope for a better life “somewhere over the rainbow” or wherever that next place is.

    The photos of me sitting and lying on that ledge (as I did not know that was where the body was) will be forever tainted by this knowledge, I know, but in looking at the photos I will try to find some “hope” that he has peace now. It will also serve as a reminder for all that I have to be grateful for in this world, and that I may never find myself in a place that dark.


  5. LM Says:

    I hiked Half Dome on Saturday and arrived at the top just after the helicopter landed. The Park officials (Rangers) were very respectful and very professional.

  6. mrhalfdome Says:

    OK, so let’s leave this topic and move on. I think all feelings have been expressed. Don’t forget to tune in tomorrow – the hint was Baklava. Somehow I tie that into a good tip for Half Dome hikers.

    Rick D (Mr. Half Dome)

  7. joe Says:

    it was a special place for him and he is missed tremendously by his family…..

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