San Ramon woman dies climbing Half Dome

San Ramon resident Haley LaFlamme, 25, fell to her death at Yosemite National Park on Sunday.
August 1, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The grieving family of a Bay Area hiker wants to know why there is not more supervision for climbers at Yosemite National Park's Half Dome. San Ramon resident Haley LaFlamme, 25, fell to her death on Sunday. She is the second person from that city to die at Half Dome in the last two years.

According to family members, LaFlamme was very much looking forward to scaling the cables at Half Dome again. She had taken the same route a year ago in weather that appeared much better than what LaFlamme and three friends encountered Sunday.

"The granite was really slick; Haley was traveling down from the summit with her party of three when she fell," park spokesperson Kari Cobb said.

Will Masterman, a climbing instructor at the Diablo Rock Gym, happened to be at Yosemite on Sunday. He wasn't on Half Dome when LaFlamme fell, but he did hike the cable system just three weeks ago.

"If it started raining, I'd probably continue; however if there were thunder, I wouldn't want to be on the top of Half Dome in thunder and lightning, I wouldn't want to be on top, I'd just go back," he said.

LaFlamme's death comes two years after 40-year-old Minoj Kumar, also of San Ramon, fell to his death from the Half Dome cables during a rain and hailstorm.

So far, 14 people have died in the park this year. The average is five to six deaths by the end of July.

In an email to ABC7, one of LaFlamme's family members questioned whether rangers should do more to protect visitor safety and warn climbers of potential hazards, including lightning storms.

"We have signs posted; it's up to the visitor to assess the safety," Cobb said.

Yosemite officials say there will be a full investigation into LaFlamme's death.


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