Bay Area woman climbing Yosemite's Half Dome falls to death

August 1, 2011 

— A 26-year-old woman climbing Half Dome fell to her death Sunday, Yosemite National Park officials said.

The woman was identified as Hayley LaFlamme, of San Ramon, according to Kari Cobb, a park spokesperson.

LaFlamme had gone to the top of Half Dome and was descending when she fell 600 feet off the cables.

Park rangers pronounced her dead upon arrival on scene.

Rain and lightning storms were present in the park, but the cause of the death is still under investigation, Cobb said.

The woman's death marks the 14th fatality in Yosemite since January. The park normally has 12 to 15 deaths a year, but the average by the end of July is between five and six, Cobb said.

Last month three members of a Ceres church group plunged to their deaths after they climbed over a protective railing near the edge of Vernal Fall.

The last hiker who died on Half Dome was Majoj Kumar, of San Ramon, on June 13, 2009.

Additionally, on June 16, 2007, Hirofumi Nohara, slipped to his death on the cables.

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

Half Dome trip planning and safety information is available through the Yosemite National Park at www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/halfdome.htm

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