29-Year-Old Arizona Woman Dies Hiking Yosemite's Half Dome

Photo: upei.ca
Who Is Danielle Burnett? New Details On Arizona Woman Who Died Hiking Yosemite's Half Dome

For many avid hikers, hiking Yosemite's famous Half Dome is a bucket list activity. That may have been the case for 29-year-old Danielle Burnett. She was scaling the steepest part of the trail when she fell more than 500 feet down the rocky terrain. Cables are installed on the popular hiking trail at Yosemite National Park each summer to assist the climb of thousands of people who make the 17 mile round trip climb to the top of the 8,800 foot rock face. Who is Danielle Burnett?

1. An iconic hike

Half Dome is iconic. It's been a popular attraction for American since settlers began exploring Yosemite National Park in the middle of the 19th-century. Each year, thousands of hikers attempt to summit the 8,800-foot, crescent-shaped granite rock. Those that do are rewarded with one of the most spectacular panoramic views in the world.

2. Experience required

Hiking Half Dome requires a permit, which is distributed via lottery, to climb to the top. It requires experience to successfully reach the top of Half Dome. It is a 17 mile hike that gains 4,800 feet in elevation. The final push to the top is so steep it requires cables to ascend safely. 

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3. A deadly hike

Danielle Burnett was a 29-year-old woman from Lake Havasu City, Arizona. She was a social media manager at Havasu Springs Resort in Parker, Arizona. She was also an avid hiker who enjoyed exploring the outdoors. Her sister Nichole Burnett posted a touching tribute to Danielle on Facebook, saying: "It’s with a broken heart to inform you all that our beautiful Danielle left us yesterday doing something she loved so much. We ask that you please give the family time and privacy to grieve. Out of respect for her Mother and Father please do not send any flowers or call. This will take time. Thank you for understanding."

4. More deaths

Burnett is far from the first hiker to die on Half Dome or in Yosemite. In May 2018, a thunderstorm rolled in and a climber slipped and fell to his death on the Half Dome cables. In June, Patricia Stoops, 57, died while scaling the Central Pillar of Frenzy. In August, a 21-year-old Romanian tourist died after falling off of Bridalveil Falls. More than 100 climbing accidents happen in Yosemite each year. Since 1995, at least 12 people have died while attempting to scale Half Dome. 

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5. An eyewitness account

Shawn Slimp and his group of hikers witnessed Burnett's fall. He took to Facebook to post about what he had witnessed, writing: "The girl wasn’t on the outside of the cables. She was at least 30’ above us. We heard a commotion, she was starting to freak out. It had started to lightly sprinkle. She had decided to turn around before making it to the top, her group of 3-4 continued on. I saw her shoes slipping on the rock. It wasn’t that wet yet but maybe she had a poorly chosen pair of shoes. Regardless, I watched as her shoes slipped on the rock, she fell hard and lost her grip on cable. Someone had said she was even using a carabiner but it obviously wasn’t clipped in at that moment. She started sliding down and to the right of the cables. My friend got down on her stomach to try and grab her….she went by her and I stretched out and tried to reach for her with my right hand but by now she was probably 10’ to the right of the cables and too far for me also. She slid past screaming and she went over an edge. She fell about 500’ and you could see her from the top of sub dome. Everyone was evacuated from the cables and subdome so the helicopter could fly in."

Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based writer and editor covering entertainment, pop culture, beauty, fashion, fitness, technology, and the intersection of technology, business, and philanthropy. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.