Woman falls, dies in Yosemite

Aug. 1, 2011 at 11:26 PM
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YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif., Aug. 1 (UPI) -- A hiker from San Ramon, Calif., fell hundreds of feet to her death while descending Yosemite's Half Dome, officials say.

The emergency communications center at the park received a 911 call about noon PDT Sunday, informing them a climber slipped from the cables leading up to Half Dome, San Ramon Express News reported.

When National Park Rangers arrived on the scene, they found Hayley LaFlamme, 26, dead.

Yosemite Park Ranger Kari Cobb said it appeared LaFlamme fell while climbing down a 400-foot cable system that allows hikers to reach the top of Half Dome, a nearly 5,000-foot summit, without using personal rock-climbing gear. She then fell off a cliff, landing about 600 feet below.

Rangers were still investigating the fall, but noted there had been a severe thunderstorm earlier in the day, the newspaper said.

Wet weather can make trails in the park quite dangerous, particularly the granite slope along the cable route, Cobb said, adding there are numerous signs alerting visitors to this issue throughout the park and on the permit required for hikers to access Half Dome, which LaFlamme had.

LaFlamme is the 14th person to die within the park this year, nearly triple the average in recent years, KABC-TV, Los Angeles, reported.

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