Climbers react to hiker death at Half Dome in Yosemite

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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"Never trust that the Sierras will be safe. Always prepare for the worst."

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK (KGO) -- "Never trust that the Sierras will be safe. Always prepare for the worst." Sage advice from a life-long climber, Chris Bellizzi, of Campbell.

Bellizzi was dismayed to learn a hiker who fell to his death on Monday at Half Dome in Yosemite was hiking in rainy conditions.

He said granite is already slick, wet granite is incredibly slippery.

RELATED: Hiker falls to his death at Half Dome cables in Yosemite

Climber Hans Florine echoed that sentiment.

We talked with Florine via What's App from his hospital bed.

He's recovering from surgery after breaking his leg and heel in a fall from El Capitan.

Florine has been climbing for 35 years.

"Even the most technical, good sticky rubber climbing shoes aren't going to work on a wet rock," said Florine.

A National Park Service spokeswoman said the man and a companion were scaling the steepest part of the trail where rangers recently installed cables to help hikers get to the top of the 8,800-foot rock face.

The cables are installed each summer to assist the thousands of hikers who make the popular 14-mile round trip.

The NPS said it's the first fatal fall from Half Dome since 2011.

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