More sad stories

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

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     Last week a Japanese big wall climber fell while ascending El Capitan. Yasunovu Nakanishi, 31, fell 60 feet off El Cap to the ground below.  He was the lead climber on an ascent of the Zodiac route. He sustained injuries to his back and pelvis and was short-hauled via the park’s helicopter to El Capitan Meadow. Boy, good thing he was not higher. 

     But here’s s real weird story. It happened south of Yosemite at Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks. Seems a a 52-year-old woman headed out on a solo day hike as part of her training for an ultra-marathon. She was crossing a snow bridge when it collapsed underneath her and she fell into a creek. She was swept downstream under the snow for 30 to 40 feet before being able to stop herself. She stood up in the creek under the snow, but had no access to the surface. Using her hands, she dug through about five feet of snow and created a small hole, then threw her backpack out of the hole. It was seen there by other visitors, who went to examine the pack and found the woman under the snow nearby. By that time, she’d been trapped in the creek under snow for over three hours and was hypothermic and incoherent. One person pulled her out while another went back to the trailhead to summon help; the other members of the group helped warm her. Rangers and a park helicopter with a medic on board were dispatched to the scene. When the rangers arrived, the woman declined either evacuation or medical assistance. The rangers helped her return to the trailhead. Wow, that’s either one tough woman or a mental case.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it’s all dark.” – Pink Floyd


*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch –


5 Responses to “More sad stories”

  1. Joyce Says:

    How is the climber today? I agree, glad he wasn’t higher!

    Is there still snow/ice?

    The woman, what a freak accident! Doesn’t give me much confidence in bridges! I would say she was in shock. But, if they took her vitals and they were alright, I guess what could they do?

    Whew. What a season!

  2. Sönke Says:

    The climber was treated at the Modesto Memorial Medical Center and released later that day.

  3. Maureen L Says:

    A “snow bridge” is not an actual bridge constructed by humans. She was crossing a creek on the compacted snow above it when she crashed through.

    And she went over a little waterfall on her journey downstream.

    Tom Stienstra’s Sunday outdoors column from the SF Chronicle on June 26 has a fuller story. It should be up at tomorrow if not today. (His work is one of the things the Chron has a “print edition only” when it first comes out.)

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