Lightning at Yosemite’s Half Dome Kills 2 Climbers; 3 Hurt

From Times Wire Services

Two rock climbers were killed when they were struck by lightning atop famed Half Dome here, park officials said Sunday. Three others were injured, two of them critically.

The five were sitting in a cavern on top of the monolith overlooking Yosemite Valley Saturday about 6:30 p.m. when a series of lightning flashes started a few small fires and struck the climbers, a spokeswoman said.

One of the dead was identified as Brian Jordon, 16, of Hayward, but the name of the other fatally injured hiker was being withheld pending notification of relatives, a park statement said.


Tom Rice, 28, of Los Gatos, and Bruce Weiner, 24, of Mountain View, were listed in critical condition at University of California Medical Center at Davis.

Adrian J. Esteban, 24, of San Jose was treated at the park medical clinic for minor injuries.

The spokeswoman said the five were part of a group of nine who came to the park Friday night. Only the five who were struck attempted the rugged hike to the top of Half Dome, she said.

One of the victims was struck on the head, went into convulsions and fell 4,000 feet to his death, the spokeswoman said.

The climbers’ plight was discovered when other hikers reached the valley floor about 9 p.m. Saturday. A helicopter was flown from Modesto to the top of Half Dome about midnight to take the remaining four away.