Date Sent: June 24, 2009
Subject: Remembering Manoj Kumar
From: John Bondon
Farewell Manoj Kumar
It is with great sadness that I report the passing of EBCHG member, Manoj Kumar, who died June 13 while descending from the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. There has been much discussion of this tragedy and rememberances of Manoj this past week on our Member's Only Email Dicussion list. But for those who have not heard about this incident, Manoj fell while using the cabled hand rail system and apparently slipped in wet and slippery weather conditions. Fellow EBCHG member, Yogi, who also hiked Half Dome that day, explained that the hiking conditions changed suddenly. Yogi said,
It is easy in hind sight to look back and second guess some of the choices Manoj made on that fateful day. Maybe he wasn't experienced or adequately prepared enough to hike in those conditions. Maybe he shouldn't have been hiking at all that day. I did not personally know Manoj, but I know of his reputation as a very safety conscious type of guy. And he was the type of person who looked out and geniunely cared about his fellow man. Two examples from the Member's Only email thread speak of Manoj's compassion and concern for others. Diane says,
Should he have hiked back down Half Dome that day once conditions turned so treacherous? Obviously no.
If he had been more careful or taken things a bit slower, would he still be with us?
Or was this tragedy unavoidable? No one can really ever satisfactorily answer that question.
But given the type of person and the concerned hiker that Manoj was, this incident makes me pause and really look inward.
I can only speak for myself, and I have to admit that when I hiked Half Dome 3 years ago, I probably downplayed the risks of what I was doing as well.
When you stop to think that all it would have taken was one moment of inattention or one seemingly small slip up.
Even if you had taken all the precautions and done everything perfectly up until that moment, one fraction of a second of inattention or mis-footing is all it would take to create a much different ending when you dare to hike something as treacherous as Half Dome. A location that has become so touristy we often underestimate the risks involved.
Hikes this WeekThe Thursday weekday hike tradition continues .. but this week with both morning AND evening hiking opportunities!
Howard says of the upcoming Shell Ridge, Marshall Drive entrance hike on Thursday, June 25 at 9:30 AM: "Another typical 5-mile Borges Ranch loop hike with 750 feet elevation gain. Dog friendly.".
Iqbal says of the upcoming Lafayette Reservoir Rim Trail hike on Thursday, June 25 at 6:30 PM: "Upper Trail is a dirt trail. We will start out our hike by the water tank (Rheem Reservoir) area Walk up the path in front of Zander Drive on Rheem Blvd. at the crest of the hill. This hike is 4.69 miles in length. Unlike the lower paved route around the reservoir, the rim trail has a lot of up and down, including some rather steep grade portions. Overall I consider this trail to be fairly moderate for an experienced hiker, but could be quite challenging for the novice or newbie. Plan 90 minutes to 2 hours to complete this trail. To be back before dark we will start on time.".
Andrew says of the upcoming King Canyon Hike hike on Sunday, June 28 at 9:30 AM: "Traipse through the riparian woodlands on this reservoir hike. Our Parks have so much to offer. This is a moderate hike most of you can do easily.".
You'll find more details about each of these upcoming hikes, including starting time and directions to the trailhead, posted on the East Bay Casual Hiking website. In the event of rain, please check with the hike leader as to whether the hike will proceed as planned.
Happy Trails! :)
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