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Hikers Swept Over Vernal Falls, Yosemite

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Hikers Swept Over Vernal Falls, Yosemite

Postby Mark Doiron » Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:58 pm

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Re: Hikers Swept Over Vernal Falls, Yosemite

Postby Arthur Digbee » Wed Jul 20, 2011 1:27 pm

Tragic, of course -- especially for the kids who apparently saw this.

But they climbed over the fence past the signs with pictures of dying people that say, "If you slip and go over the falls you will die."

And all of us who have been there have seen people take those risks.
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Re: Hikers Swept Over Vernal Falls, Yosemite

Postby MBS1017 » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:22 pm

Terrible. I have never been there but can anyone tell me the rock condition around the water? Smooth/slick when wet? Crumbly? Just wondering if it just doesn't look dangerous enough for people to obey warnings.
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Re: Hikers Swept Over Vernal Falls, Yosemite

Postby Cy Kaicener » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:53 pm

Those shallow pools dont look very threatening, but they are dangerous
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgVKSE81KjU
Last edited by Cy Kaicener on Wed Jul 20, 2011 6:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hikers Swept Over Vernal Falls, Yosemite

Postby mrchad9 » Wed Jul 20, 2011 5:50 pm

MBS1017 wrote:Terrible. I have never been there but can anyone tell me the rock condition around the water? Smooth/slick when wet? Crumbly? Just wondering if it just doesn't look dangerous enough for people to obey warnings.

This is what is looks like. The rock is smooth and flat. Would have had a very swift current. Note the picture is taken at flood stage, about 5 times the current flow rates. In the photo the water is up against the railing, but now there would be plenty of bare rock on the other side if they climbed over or walked around it just a little upstream of the falls.

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Re: Hikers Swept Over Vernal Falls, Yosemite

Postby willytinawin » Wed Jul 20, 2011 6:09 pm

The Merced wins again. I hope they don't build bigger barriers now to protect us from the river.
I wonder if it ever occurred to these people that after thousands of years of water running over the granite, that perhaps it might be a tad bit slippery.
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Re: Hikers Swept Over Vernal Falls, Yosemite

Postby Arthur Digbee » Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:49 pm

Another update, with names of the three people presumed dead:

http://www.ksee24.com/home/Hikers-Presu ... 02308.html

That report says that other visitors warned them back from the edge once they crossed the fence.
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Re: Hikers Swept Over Vernal Falls, Yosemite

Postby Vitaliy M. » Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:52 pm

I have no idea what is wrong with these people out there that climb over the fences and dance around the edge of the thing. No shit someone dies once in a while. I witnessed a bunch of kids playing around on semi detached flake on the edge of Nevada falls once. They had time of their life scaring each other etc ON THE FLAKE! My palms were sweating just observing it.
Than I have to listen to my coworkers gossip about how dangerous 'climbing' is. And get into an argument with them trying to explain it is not 'climbing' it is a dumbass on a trail that wanted to take a cool photo climbing over a fence. Darwin wins.
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Re: Hikers Swept Over Vernal Falls, Yosemite

Postby Tonka » Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:05 pm

It is amazing to me how many people ignore signs in park areas, everywhere for that matter. I hate big brother as much as the next guy but breaking this simple little rule got them killed. Went for a 1 1/2 mile hike and fell off a 300 foot water fall....I just don't get it. I don't mean to sound harsh but these idiots don't have to deal with the aftermath, more fences, rules, regulations and Government in general. I used to say something to people cutting switchbacks or going into areas they should not be. Now I just smirk. You can't cure stupid.
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Re: Hikers Swept Over Vernal Falls, Yosemite

Postby Arthur Digbee » Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:21 pm

I'm sure someone in the family will sue the NPS for this, though there's pretty strong case law on the NPS side.

The "ignoring signs" thing really annoys me with ORV riders, who think they have a right to enter closed areas. Why can't they go to their places, and let us go to our places?
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Re: Hikers Swept Over Vernal Falls, Yosemite

Postby yaknjorgl » Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:57 pm

Yosemite News Release
July 20, 2011
For Immediate Release

Media Contacts:
Scott Gediman 209-372-0248
Kari Cobb 209-372-0529

Three Visitors Swept Over Vernal Fall in Yosemite National Park
Group of Family and Friends on Day Trip to Yosemite

Three visitors are presumed dead after plunging over Vernal Fall in
Yosemite National Park yesterday afternoon at approximately 1:30 p.m.
Hormiz David, 22 year old male, of Modesto, CA, Ninos Yacoub, 27 year old
male, of Turlock, CA, and Ramina Badal, 21 year old female, of Manteca, CA,
came to the park for a day trip with a group of family and friends.

The group was witnessed entering the water above Vernal Fall, approximately
25 feet from the precipice. Witnesses reported to park officials that
several people urged the group member to step back from the river, since it
was flowing swiftly and extremely cold. The area is signed as a dangerous
area, and the group had crossed a metal guardrail placed there to keep
visitors away from the dangerous fast moving water.

The park is still seeing the effects of a huge winter snowpack and a cool
spring and summer. The Merced River, which feeds the 317 foot Vernal Fall,
is still running at spring conditions with significant water levels
resulting in a swift, dangerous current. The hike up the Mist Trail to
Vernal Fall is one of the most popular hikes in the park, with upwards of
1,500 people per day ascending the trail to the top of Vernal Fall.

Visitors are urged to exercise extreme caution around all water in Yosemite
National Park. Park rivers and streams have been running at higher than
normal levels for this time of year, and will remain high for several
weeks.

There have been six water related deaths in Yosemite National Park this
year, including this incident. Two hikers drowned in the Hetch Hetchy
Reservoir on June 29, 2011, and a hiker slipped and fell into the Merced
River on the Mist Trail on May 13, 2011.

The Mist Trail had been closed since the incident to facilitate Search and
Rescue Operations. The trail has now reopened. Yosemite National Park
Rangers will continue search efforts throughout the day. These efforts
consist primarily of combing each side of the Merced River looking for the
victims.

Over the years, there have been several cases of visitors going over Vernal
Fall, as well as other waterfalls, such as Upper Yosemite Fall.
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Re: Hikers Swept Over Vernal Falls, Yosemite

Postby willytinawin » Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:55 pm

I was researching waterfall plunges, and surprisingly, 11 people have survived the plunge over Niagra Falls, two of them without protection. However, I'd say the possibility of surviving Vernal Falls is zero, it's twice as high as Niagra, and the landing is terrible. Big rocks. Anyone who fools around along the Mist Trail is not being smart. The Merced is moving with the power of a freight train. Even that bridge at the bottom of the trail is a little iffy imo when the snowmelt is peaking.
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Re: Hikers Swept Over Vernal Falls, Yosemite

Postby Buckaroo » Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:49 am

The average hiking shoe/sneaker has very little traction on wet rock due to soles with high plastic content.

I've even seen some Vibram soles that had limited wet rock traction. The tread can be aggressive and feel sticky but still be no good on wet rock.

Was researching a climb in the Sierras and noted the forest service has a warning for unusually high water runoff for this time of year.
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Re: Hikers Swept Over Vernal Falls, Yosemite

Postby Marmaduke » Thu Jul 21, 2011 5:27 am

Buckaroo wrote:The average hiking shoe/sneaker has very little traction on wet rock due to soles with high plastic content.

I've even seen some Vibram soles that had limited wet rock traction. The tread can be aggressive and feel sticky but still be no good on wet rock.

Was researching a climb in the Sierras and noted the forest service has a warning for unusually high water runoff for this time of year.


Based on the volume of water, it wouldn't matter what type of shoe, sandal, boot, or type of sole they had on.
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Re: Hikers Swept Over Vernal Falls, Yosemite

Postby Arthur Digbee » Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:57 pm

The morning wire reported that they were trying to get to a rock in the middle of the river to be photographed.
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