What Happened In Yosemite?

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Zorba

Lifer
Oct 22, 1999
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What stupid fucking morons. Serves them right doing an 8 mile hike at 2000 feet elevation in the hottest part of fucking summer with about 2.5 liters of water between two adults, a baby, and a dog. Just sad the baby and dog had to die thanks to being chaperoned by two shit for brains. Living in the area and still dying like idiot tourons, smh.
Tell us how you really feel.

ETA: I don't disagree they were dumb shits and killed their dog and baby, but I wouldn't say its serves them right. I've seen so many people on hard, hot hikes, with a 20 oz water bottle and no food, no lights, no filtration, etc.
 
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pmv

Lifer
May 30, 2008
10,158
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Maybe they got lost and wound up on the wrong trail.
It's distressing to imagine what the sequence of events was. Maybe the infant or the dog got in trouble first, and that slowed them down, till they all were at the point of collapse? Seriously horrible event. Personally, not living in an area like that, I'd not have considered a mere 8 miles to even constitute a 'hike'.

A lifetime ago I visited Salt Lake City and at one point wandered out of town for a 'stroll' (with no water at all), and gradually, almost too late, realised this was essentially a desert. Kind of panicked on the way back, I remember.
 

SteveGrabowski

Diamond Member
Oct 20, 2014
4,289
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I'm with interchange on this. I agree it was stupid AF, but we don't have to rake them over the coals. It's basically Dunning-Kruger effect at work. This couple had a lot of "hiking experience" and thought they knew what they were doing when they decided to go out on this loop. I'm not much of a hiker but generally, the proximate Bay Area trails are mostly easy compared to where they ended up. The man did look up the trail before they left, but apparently wasn't experienced enough to understand the terrain and heat would dramatically affect the conditions by mid-day. My hunch is that they'd done dozens and dozens of Bay Area hikes where it's never 109 in the mountains, and thus assumed this would be another relatively easy one. When they left the trailhead, the air temp was mid-70s.

Senseless tragedies happen (with COVID, they've happened a LOT). We all agree on what happened here, but we don't have to dunk on the dead. They've already earned their Darwin Awards.
The article said they had lived in Mariposa more than a year. Which means they also knew they were in a heat wave, and temps being in 70s in the morning means jack. Maybe it going to 109 caught them off guard but doing a hike like that at 99 with such a minimal amount of water and a baby is reckless as hell too, and 99 would have been no surprise whatsoever there based on the weather that week. They killed an innocent kid which makes them special levels of assholes.
 
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SteveGrabowski

Diamond Member
Oct 20, 2014
4,289
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Tell us how you really feel.

ETA: I don't disagree they were dumb shits and killed their dog and baby, but I wouldn't say its serves them right. I've seen so many people on hard, hot hikes, with a 20 oz water bottle and no food, no lights, no filtration, etc.
And they ask you for water too right? That was another thing I had multiple tourons on the Half Dome trail ask me first time I went to Yosemite. I told them to turn around back towards Yosemite Valley and just drink out of the river and if they get giardia later oh well, better than dying of heat stroke. Of course they continued going toward Half Dome instead with their 2 oz of water left in the 20 oz bottle. Made me decide to never do that trail again with the way it attracted idiots who refused to plan.
 
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MichaelMay

Senior member
Jun 6, 2021
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I'm with interchange on this. I agree it was stupid AF, but we don't have to rake them over the coals. It's basically Dunning-Kruger effect at work. This couple had a lot of "hiking experience" and thought they knew what they were doing when they decided to go out on this loop. I'm not much of a hiker but generally, the proximate Bay Area trails are mostly easy compared to where they ended up. The man did look up the trail before they left, but apparently wasn't experienced enough to understand the terrain and heat would dramatically affect the conditions by mid-day. My hunch is that they'd done dozens and dozens of Bay Area hikes where it's never 109 in the mountains, and thus assumed this would be another relatively easy one. When they left the trailhead, the air temp was mid-70s.

Senseless tragedies happen (with COVID, they've happened a LOT). We all agree on what happened here, but we don't have to dunk on the dead. They've already earned their Darwin Awards.
No, they killed an infant. If they had not died they would be charged with negligent manslaughter for that but they, fortunately for them, did. That does NOT excuse their negligence bringing an infant along.

I want it to be understood that no parent who isn't completely fucked in the skull egomaniac would do that. Not ONE!
 

manly

Diamond Member
Jan 25, 2000
9,556
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No, they killed an infant. If they had not died they would be charged with negligent manslaughter for that but they, fortunately for them, did. That does NOT excuse their negligence bringing an infant along.

I want it to be understood that no parent who isn't completely fucked in the skull egomaniac would do that. Not ONE!
That's all true and I'm not here to defend them. I've already made my point. I know you aren't arguing it, but don't imply they somehow intended for this to go down. There are plenty of humans that are fucked in the skull for various reasons and degrees; these two just happened to earn Darwin Awards for it.
 

woolfe9998

Lifer
Apr 8, 2013
14,681
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Like I said, maybe they did not intend to go on a hike anywhere near that length, but got lost. Also, no one knows how much water they brought. They only know what containers were on them where they were found. All of this is reconstructed assumptions.

Anyway, RIP to them.
 
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Zorba

Lifer
Oct 22, 1999
11,613
6,060
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And they ask you for water too right? That was another thing I had multiple tourons on the Half Dome trail ask me first time I went to Yosemite. I told them to turn around back towards Yosemite Valley and just drink out of the river and if they get giardia later oh well, better than dying of heat stroke. Of course they continued going toward Half Dome instead with their 2 oz of water left in the 20 oz bottle. Made me decide to never do that trail again with the way it attracted idiots who refused to plan.
Yeah, when I did half dome I gave my reserve water to a father and son at the top of the subdome. They were still going up while we were coming down. I thought I had plenty, but ended up tapping out going down mist. At that point I pretty much decided my responsibilities were to my hiking party only, unless someone was in real trouble.
 

Zorba

Lifer
Oct 22, 1999
11,613
6,060
136
Like I said, maybe they did not intend to go on a hike anywhere near that length, but got lost. Also, no one knows how much water they brought. They only know what containers were on them where they were found. All of this is reconstructed assumptions.

Anyway, RIP to them.
That whole area is extremely steep and rough. I also think it's the only trail that starts from there. But i after, shit happens, but when you home into >100F temps, you need to be prepared for that shit or bad things happen.
 
Jul 9, 2009
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What would the dog or people dying of thirst care about algae bloom in the Merced River? How close were they to the river?
 

SteveGrabowski

Diamond Member
Oct 20, 2014
4,289
2,715
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Like I said, maybe they did not intend to go on a hike anywhere near that length, but got lost. Also, no one knows how much water they brought. They only know what containers were on them where they were found. All of this is reconstructed assumptions.

Anyway, RIP to them.
Makes me hate them even more if you're suggesting they brought more water bottles and just chucked them instead of packing out their own garbage.
 
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woolfe9998

Lifer
Apr 8, 2013
14,681
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Makes me hate them even more if you're suggesting they brought more water bottles and just chucked them instead of packing out their own garbage.
It makes you “hate them more” if they littered than if they didn’t bring enough water, which was supposedly why you already hated them?

There are people more worthy of hate by far. Quite honesty, you’re just being a douche.
 
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SteveGrabowski

Diamond Member
Oct 20, 2014
4,289
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It makes you “hate them more” if they littered than if they didn’t bring enough water, which was supposedly why you already hated them?

There are people more worthy of hate by far. Quite honesty, you’re just being a douche.
It's a joke, I couldn't possibly hate them any more after they killed their kid.
 

KB

Diamond Member
Nov 8, 1999
5,247
269
126
"Although temperatures reached as high as 109 degrees the day the family hiked, "

I would not hike with my dog and 1 year old with temperatures that hot.

If temps reached that high, and some pockets may reach higher, I am going with heat-stroke causing disorientation. The child and the dog had little choice but to stay beside the heat-stricken parents.

Looks like I was right. Glad it has a resolution and bigfoot isn't being blamed. It is a sad story though and a reminder to know your limits. If you have walked in and only have half your water left, you need the remaining half to get yourself out, so turnaround. Also don't exercise in temps that high.
 

dullard

Elite Member
May 21, 2001
23,809
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I like to consider myself a fairly experienced hiker (although certainly not one who has done the multi-month long trails).

1) From the best that I can tell, they were on an extended version of the Savage-Lundy trail, not the Hite Cove trail that was reported earlier in this thread. The Savage-Lundy trail is steep and only the bottom of the gulch is near any water. If you are not at the bottom, then it is not easy to just get water if there is a problem. This trail is steep, in full sun during the day, and has no shade due to fires. I haven't done that trail, but from the elevation gain and distance, it looks like it would take me ~5 to 6 hours to complete. That is without the difficulties of a baby and a dog slowing me down.

2) Their only water container was 2.5 liters if it was full. That is about what I carry on a typical spring/fall hike. I would carry at least 3 to 5 liters for a summer hike in those conditions. Then my wife would bring her own 3 to 5 liters. This family had too little water for even a single person. And that assumes their water was full from the start.

3a) It is easy to blame them for their stupidity. A dog and a baby should never be out on a long hike like that in full sun and full heat. But also, it looks like they were not prepared with proper emergency gear. I always bring water purification/filtration devices in my emergency pack. I also always bring a bivy sack which could have given them a good amount of shade. They seem to have none of those types of equipment.

3b) I'd like to give them a bit of the benefit of the doubt since we don't know whether any innocent things happened to them. I've been on enough hikes to see many injured people. One simple ankle sprain could have turned that ~5 hour hike that they planned on into a ~10+ hour full sun ordeal. Maybe there was a bear, a wolf, or a rattlesnake on the trail. There usually aren't many ways around an animal on a switchback trail like that. Sometimes, you just have to sit and wait.

4) They also were navigating by phone which really bothers me. A hiking GPS is so, so much better and your lives are worth the cost of a true GPS. Multiple times I've had to turn away from my intended trail and the hiking GPS saved me (usually it is something like adult moose with baby moose, but sometimes it has been geological failures, unstable snow, bison, etc). A hiking GPS will have all the trails nearby, even decades-old fire trails that don't show up online and can't be seen on your phone. A hiking GPS could also show temporary ponds, abandoned toilet pits, or other water sources that the phone would not show.

5) Also they didn't appear to have an emergency beacon. I don't always carry mine either. But on a long hot hike I certainly would have considered it. I use this Personal Locator Beacon: https://oceansignal.com/products/plb1/
 
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Zorba

Lifer
Oct 22, 1999
11,613
6,060
136
I like to consider myself a fairly experienced hiker (although certainly not one who has done the multi-month long trails).

1) From the best that I can tell, they were on the Savage-Lundy trail, not the Hite Cove trail that was reported earlier in this thread. The Savage-Lundy trial is steep and only the turnaround part of it is near any water. It is not easy to just get water if there is a problem. This trail is steep, in full sun during the day, and has no shade due to fires. I haven't done that trail, but from the elevation gain and distance, it looks like it would take me ~4 hours to complete. That is without the difficulties of a baby and a dog slowing me down.
https://www.google.com/maps/dir/37.6064368,-119.8369581/37.6064269,-119.8369759/37.6099909,-119.8220485/@37.6055938,-119.8332702,16z/data=!4m2!4m1!3e2!5m1!1e4

2) Their only water container was 2.5 liters if it was full. That is about what I carry on a typical spring/fall hike. I would carry at least 3 to 5 liters for a summer hike in those conditions. Then my wife would bring her own 3 to 5 liters. This family had too little water for even a single person. And that assumes their water was full from the start.

3a) It is easy to blame them for their stupidity. A dog and a baby should never be out on a long hike like that in full sun and full heat. But also, it looks like they were not prepared with proper emergency gear. I always bring water purification/filtration devices in my emergency pack. I also always bring a bivy sack which could have given them a good amount of shade. They seem to have none of those types of equipment.

3b) I'd like to give them a bit of the benefit of the doubt since we don't know whether any innocent things happened to them. I've been on enough hikes to see many injured people. One simple ankle sprain could have turned that ~4 hour hike that they planned on into a ~10+ hour full sun ordeal. Maybe there was a bear, a wolf, or a rattlesnake on the trail. There usually aren't many ways around an animal on a switchback trail like that. Sometimes, you just have to sit and wait.

4) They also were navigating by phone which really bothers me. A hiking GPS is so, so much better and your lives are worth the cost of a true GPS. Multiple times I've had to turn away from my intended trail and the hiking GPS saved me (usually it is something like adult moose with baby moose, but sometimes it has been geological failures, unstable snow, bison, etc). A hiking GPS will have all the trails nearby, even decades-old fire trails that don't show up online and can't be seen on your phone. A hiking GPS could also show temporary ponds, abandoned toilet pits, or other water sources that the phone would not show.
What makes you think it was the Savage-Lundy trail? Big issue with that trail is any escape is uphill. People can get in a big trouble going down first, think they are doing good with gravity on their side, then have a rude awaken when Newton starts working against them. Also looks like that is an east face, which feels much hotter in the pre-noon hours and ensures there is no shafe from geography either.
 

dullard

Elite Member
May 21, 2001
23,809
1,994
126
What makes you think it was the Savage-Lundy trail? Big issue with that trail is any escape is uphill. People can get in a big trouble going down first, think they are doing good with gravity on their side, then have a rude awaken when Newton starts working against them. Also looks like that is an east face, which feels much hotter in the pre-noon hours and ensures there is no shafe from geography either.
Yes, the down-steep when it is cool and you are fresh and then up-steep when it is hot and you are tired is a difficult combination.

I searched again to answer your question and looks like they were doing a longer version of what I posted above. I'll edit my post. It is just south of the Hite Cove trail and most of the original articles kept saying south of the Hite Cove trail. But the real kicker is that the final report gave the actual path: https://www.mercurynews.com/2021/10/21/map-familys-route-before-they-were-found-dead-on-california-trail/
 
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Zorba

Lifer
Oct 22, 1999
11,613
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Yes, the down-steep when it is cool and you are fresh and then up-steep when it is hot and you are tired is a difficult combination.

I searched again to answer your question and looks like they were doing a longer version of what I posted above. I'll edit my post. It is just south of the Hite Cove trail and most of the original articles kept saying south of the Hite Cove trail. But the real kicker is that the final report gave the actual path: https://www.mercurynews.com/2021/10/21/map-familys-route-before-they-were-found-dead-on-california-trail/
Thanks, I had missed that. Can't believe they wouldn't have refilled at the river. Should've had filtration, but if I was running low I'd take my chances without filtering. That seems like a crazy hike to start at 8 am on a day with temperatures predicted over 100F. I assume they must have had some experience to have even found/picked that trail but obviously not enough to not make bad decisions.

ETA: Another story: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-10-21/family-found-dead-on-remote-sierra-national-forest-hiking-trail-died-from-heat-illness-and-probable-dehydration
 
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