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San Ramon Woman Killed In Fall From Yosemite Half Dome

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Half Dome

Half Dome in Yosemite National Park (Phillip A. Russell)

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YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK (CBS SF) — A 26-year-old San Ramon woman died Sunday after she fell from the Half Dome cables at Yosemite National Park, according to park officials.

The park’s emergency communications center received a 911 call at about noon reporting that a hiker had fallen from the cables, which allow hikers to reach the nearly 5,000-foot summit without the use of rock-climbing equipment.

National Park Rangers responded and found Hayley LaFlamme dead from the fall.

It appears that she had climbed to the top of Half Dome and was on her way down when she fell from the 400-foot cable section and then down a cliff, landing about 600 feet below, Yosemite Park Ranger Kari Cobb said.

Park rangers are still investigating what caused her to fall but noted that there had been a severe thunderstorm for several hours that morning.

Wet weather can make for hazardous trail conditions, and the granite slopes along the cable route can become slick, Cobb said.

She said warnings are posted on the park’s website; on the permit, which is now required for hikers to access Half Dome; at the base of the trail; and at the summit advising hikers not to attempt the climb if it is wet.

Trails at Yosemite, however, are not heavily regulated.

“Ultimately, it’s up to the visitor, whatever trail they’re on, to assess the safety of the situation,” Cobb said.

She said LaFlamme had a permit to climb Half Dome and was with three other people when she fell.

The last hiker to die on Half Dome was 40-year-old Manoj Kumar, also a San Ramon resident, who slipped and fell on June 13, 2009, during a rain and hail storm.

Last month, three people were swept to their deaths when they entered the Merced River above the 317-foot Vernal Fall.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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