August 4, 2011 by Post Team
Half Dome, What do you remember the time I climbed Half Dome in Yosemite? No doubt many of us are full of emotion on behalf of the Haley family Laflamme, and vividly remember our own episodes of fear in the cables of the granite dome of world renown.
As friends and family the pain of Haley Laflamme, 26, of San Ramon and Castro Valley High graduate School, many of us who knew her felt a deep connection with her though.
If you’re like me, you remember that it contains the terror and away from the idea that perhaps the extraordinary experience of climbing Half Dome in Yosemite should not be allowed at all.
Twenty people have died in the Half Dome, according to a website called www.yosemitehikes.com. The website describes this hike as “one who can not die without, and which is more likely to die while doing it.”
Another website called www.hikehalfdome.com lists details about these accidents. A woman slid 150 meters and stopped on a ledge. She suffered multiple fractures (ribs, jaw, skull, clavicle) and lived.
Most deaths are associated with bad weather. A sign at the base of Half Dome warns: “If a storm is anywhere on the horizon NOT GO BEYOND THIS SIGN lightning Half Dome has beaten every month of the year ..”
KGO-TV reported that it was time to climb second Haley Half Dome, but the first time the weather had been fair.
On Sunday morning, the thunder and rain struck the dome of 5,000 meters, which lies in 8,800 meters above sea level.
Haley, her sister and two friends may have thought they were safe because the storm had passed. Not.
Readers of patches, what do you remember your up Half Dome? Please add your own details in the comments section.
I can easily imagine the letting go accidental. The feeling I think about it now is like the jolt awake time after a bad dream, the adrenaline, alarm, awareness of what is happening makes no sense, mind melting of crystalline micro-seconds of rationality . I remember vividly how my own tenuous grip was.
I was scared when he made the 16 mile round trip 20 years ago.
Not at first, of course.
I was in my 20s and full of courage. I was in shape. I had recently completed Peace Corps service in which I lived on a mountain in the middle of steep rice terraces in the tropics. I had climbed the highest mountain in the mountains, carrying a torch at night in a rain forest, where things grow out of things that come of things constantly, so you do not know which is land and is covered by a mate up more forests.
The Half Dome a year or so later, I was proud that people spend on the road. I was competitive athletic and had something to prove. At that time, I was running 10 km races regularly and aerobics classes and weight lifting.
It’s all so vivid: the emotion of the expected accomplishments, the challenge of it, the strength in the legs and lungs. I even remember what I was wearing. Still I have the same hiking boots.
I felt proud, strong and superior. Endorphins, opiate-like material released in the body during intense exercise, made me even more natural high.
That is, until I reached the section of wire just before the summit, and then again in the fall of that same part, the portion of the climb, where Haley told me that evil fell 600 feet to her death .
It could have been any of us. It is as precarious.
Literally, you throw yourself into the final 400 feet with the force of her arms, pulling the weight up and forward, almost like a climbing rope. And then let you down the same way.
When we hear the word “wire”, we tend to imagine that the safety ropes or barriers designed to prevent people from going to a dangerous or otherwise out of bounds. However, these cables are the means by which you push up, not a security system.
It’s you and the mountain, and everything below it. That’s it.
As athletic as he was entrusted at that time in my life, I was petrified at that smooth, granite tractionless pure where he had to depend on the strength of my body than my upper body. And it had not rained that day. The rock was dry. The sky was blue.
There were lots of gloves at the base of cables, left as an act of kindness for hikers above for the future. That cut into the palm area, due to the friction of the gloves in the cable. I had more than one pair at a time to offset the cuts. After ascending and descending, I took off the gloves and put them back on the stack for the next hikers below me.
When I put the gloves on again, there was a sense of responsibility, but reverence.
“But for the grace of God go I.”
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