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After a deadly summer, Yosemite may limit Half Dome climbs

January 25, 2012 |  6:55 pm

Half Dome
Yosemite National Park officials are considering lowering the number of daily permits to hike Half Dome after a summer when more than a dozen people died at the park, including a woman who fell to her death while hiking the distinctive granite formation.

Under the proposal, the number of daily permits to climb up Half Dome would be cut from 400 to 300. At one time, as many as 800 hikers a day made the 8.2-mile trek -– an arduous climb. The final ascent takes hikers up the face of the dome, using steel cables for support.

Last summer was a particularly deadly one at Yosemite, in part because of the heavy snows last winter that left streams roaring with water.

By mid-August, 15 people had died, including the Half Dome hiker and three people who were swept over Vernal Fall -– a 317-foot drop.

The draft plan to reduce the number of hiking permits is a first step in the park’s effort to come up with a permanent plan for managing the use of Half Dome.

Public comment on the report will be accepted through March 15. Other options under consideration range from requiring no permits to removing the safety cables.

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-- Steve Marble

Photo: Half Dome, as seen from Cooks Meadow.

Credit: Kenny Karst / DNC Parks & Resort

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