Yosemite National Park visitor dies after falling from the Half Dome cables

A Yosemite National Park visitor died after falling from the cables at the Half Dome on Thursday morning, according to National Park officials.

29-year-old Danielle Burnett, from Lake Havasu City, Arizona, fell over 500 feet down a rocky surface and was pronounced dead when the Park Rangers arrived on the scene, National Park Public Affairs Officer Scoot Gediman said in a statement to CNN.

The incident is under investigation.

One of Burnett’s family members posted on Facebook confirming the loss, “It’s with a broken heart to inform you all that our beautiful Danielle left us yesterday doing something she loved so much… this will take time.”

The last death on the famous Half Dome was in May of 2018, when a hiker slipped and fell during dangerous weather conditions. It was the first incident since 2010.

A hike not for the faint of heart

The famous landmark in Yosemite is a 14 to 16 mile round trip hike that ends with a 400 foot cable climb up to the top of the rock formation, according to the park’s website. A guide for hikers strongly indicates caution when climbing the cables, and notes that “since 1919, relatively few people have fallen and died on the cables. However, injuries are not uncommon for those acting irresponsibly.”

The cables are only up from about May to October due to weather, and permits are required to make the hike.

Since only 300 hikers are allowed to make the climb a day, when the cables are in use, the permits are based on a preseason lottery and daily application lotteries. 75 of the 300 hiking spots are reserved for backpackers and those staying overnight on the trail.

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