Yosemite hiker death: Woman climbing iconic Half Dome peak dies in 500-foot fall

A hiker climbing Yosemite National Park's famous Half Dome died after suffering a 500-foot fall last Thursday, according to the Visalia Times-Delta.

Danielle Burnett, 29, was visiting the park from Arizona when the accident occurred. She was scaling the steepest part of the trail leading to the top of Half Dome, which stands nearly 5,000 feet above the Yosemite Valley

It's unclear yet what caused Burnett to fall, as she was dead by the time park rangers found her. The park said the accident is being investigated.  

Burnett, who had previously posted multiple social media photos of herself hiking, was described by her sister on Facebook as having died while "doing something she loved so much."

Burnett is the 12th hiker to die while climbing Half Dome since 1995, according to the Mercury News. There have been numerous emergency calls to the 14-mile trail — which has often suffered from overcrowding — over the years. 

The park instituted a permit system in 2010 to limit the number of hikers traversing the trail at once. Before that, as many as 1,200 might scale Half Dome in one day. Permits have cut that number down to 300 visitors per day, with hikers earning their spot through a lottery system.

The most recent death before Burnett's occurred last year when a hiker slipped and fell while climbing the peak during a thunderstorm. 

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