“The Half Dome Lottery System Was Supposed to Make the Hike Safer. This Study Says It Hasn’t”

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The Story

“The Half Dome Lottery System Was Supposed to Make the Hike Safer. This Study Says It Hasn’t”
Audio by Menaka Wilhelm [click LISTEN on story page for audio]
California Report/KQED, May 21, 2019

The Pitch

Here’s a CA Report pitch on Half Dome, pegged on/before ~May 24. That’s when Half Dome’s cables are currently set to open (conditions permitting).

Yosemite’s Half Dome operates on a strict permitting system — no more than 300 people allowed on the hand-cable climbing system each day. That wasn’t always the case; the permit system came about in 2010 to hopefully reduce overcrowding and deaths.

And — check, the permit system has lowered the number of people on Half Dome overall. But researchers recently found that requiring permits hasn’t dropped deaths or injuries significantly.

The overall tally of incidents is down, slightly. But with far less people climbing Half Dome, the post-permit years have actually seen more injuries and fatalities per hiker.

I’m aiming to put together a 1-2 minute spot: findings from the doctor who led the study, what Yosemite’s public information officer shares about the permit system’s background and success, plus what Half Dome hopefuls should keep in mind this season.

Let me know if you’re interested, and what kind of timeline you’d be aiming for, hope to hear from you soon!


Menaka Wilhelm

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