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Man Saves Hiker From Plunging Off Half Dome

| August 27, 2009

You may remember back a few week ago when an afternoon storm brought rain and hail to Yosemite. It was a dangerous time to be out walking on the slick, wet granite. That day claimed one life and almost another had it not been for the quick thinking and selfless actions of a 60 year old hiker who grabbed the man and pulled him to safety.

The 60-year-old was making his way down the national park’s Half Dome when a man climbing up lost his footing and staggered towards a 4,000ft drop.

Last night, Mr Burrows said his years of mountain rescue skill and instinct were put to the test as he manoeuvred himself and the terrified climber away from the edge.

Just hours later, another 40-year-old man fell to his death from the very same spot and 24 people had to be airlifted off the peak amid a violent storm.

Mr Burrows, from Denbigh, who works for the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “People climbing up and down the mountain had to manoeuvre between two steel wires with a 4,000ft drop on one side and a 3,000ft drop on the other.

“To let people past, you had to turn yourself to the side and make yourself as thin as possible.

“On my way down, I saw a man coming towards me looking worried. He was wearing trainers with no grip, instead of walking boots, and looked fearful for what he had committed himself to.

“I lifted up my rucksack and turned to the side to let him pass, when I saw him slip.

“I instinctively grabbed hold of him to steady him. At that point my water bottle fell out of the side of my bag and bounced over the edge into nothing – it could easily have been him.

“The man thanked me and insisted he wanted to carry on to the top even though I didn’t think it was a good idea.

“By the time we got down, we saw the helicopter above and later found out that sadly, someone had fallen from the exact same spot and died.

The weather was so bad that after 24 people were airlifted from the top, it was a few days before rescue teams could go back to
recover the body.” (

Category: On the Trail

About Loyd: For over 30 years I've enjoyed hiking, backpacking, fishing, photographing and exploring Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada. More About the Author. View author profile.

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