This photo was from 6/16, descending the cables on Half Dome, Yosemite, CA, an iconic hike for many, and the highlight of my trip.
As you see, there is a line of people waiting to go down, a traffic jam between people going up and down the same path along the cables. Shortly after taking this photo, I decided to go down on the outside of the ropes, really the only way to avoid the traffic jam.
Today, I just realized that about 1 hour after I took this photo, a man fell from almost the same spot.
I cannot imagine how scary that would have been to experience. When he fell, there would have been a huge crowd of people at the summit, on the ropes, and on the bottom waiting to climb, hundreds of witnesses, powerless to help. Many of the same people I saw milling around waiting were probably still there and witnessed the fall. While descending down the trail, still on a high from the climb up, I remember seeing a park ranger hiking quickly up the trail, I distinctly remember feeling sorry for him hiking the steep trail so fast, with a heavy pack, sweating in full park uniform on a hot day. Now I realize I was feeling sorry for the wrong man.
Two couples got engaged on the summit while I was up there. People celebrated birthdays, accomplishments, some just enjoyed the views. But unfortunately, one man had a far different experience, and hundreds carry far different memories of the beautiful day. Horrifying.