September 5, 2011 – Yosemite’s 750,000 wild acres draw 4-million visitors in a typical year so its probably a wonder that more people don’t die than the 18 that have died so far this year.
The 18th was a 69-year-old hiker who died in his tent of apparent natural causes. The five previous were very preventable. Three members of a church group showing off at the top of Vernal Falls fell into the water and were swept to their deaths. Two rock climbers fell to their deaths while attempting to climb Half Dome.
Park officials said their there is no obvious connection between these deaths or reason to explain the sudden surge in fatalities except coincidence. Deaths are very rare in the National Parks but each one is a reminder that nature can be very cruel and a moment of carelessness or just bad luck can have serious consequences.