Woman Falls to Her Death From Half Dome

Danielle Burnett, 29, fell more than 500 feet while using mountain's cables, Yosemite officials say
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2019 9:20 AM CDT
She Was Doing What She Loved. Then, a 500-Foot Fall
In this July 15, 2014, file photo, hikers gather in the foreground as climbers use the assistance of cables to scale Half Dome in Yosemite National Park in California.   (AP Photo/Brian Melley, File)

A 29-year-old Arizona woman tumbled to her death this week while ascending Yosemite National Park's Half Dome using the mountain's famous metal cables. Per CBS5, park officials say Danielle Burnett was climbing the steepest part of the granite mound just before noon on Thursday when she fell down more than 500 feet of rocky terrain. Park spokesman Scott Gediman says Burnett was pronounced dead at the scene when park rangers arrived, per the Arizona Republic. CNN notes it was the first death on Half Dome since May of last year, when a hiker fell during inclement weather.

Recreation.gov notes that "since 1919, only a few people have fallen and died on the cables" but that "injuries are not uncommon for those acting irresponsibly" (there's no reported indication that Burnett had been acting in an unsafe manner). It adds that the 14-to-16-mile round-trip hike isn't easy, and that the cables aren't the only difficult portion, noting that hikers should be "in good physical condition." "It's with a broken heart to inform you all that our beautiful Danielle left us yesterday doing something she loved so much," a woman claiming to be a Burnett family member posted on Facebook, per CNN. "We ask that you please give the family time and privacy to grieve." Gediman says Burnett's death is still being investigated. (Read more Yosemite National Park stories.)

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