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Yosemite National Park suffered its 17th death this year, when a climber fell to his death off the face of Half Dome Monday afternoon.
The park normally has about 12 to 15 fatalities a year, making the first eight months of 2011 already a record-breaking year. High, swift, cold rivers and creeks and a record number of visitors to the park this summer have contributed to the deadly year, but park officials recently told the Mammoth Times they are not sure exactly what other factors might be involved, if any.
The most recent fatality involved a young man from Los Gatos, Ryan Leeder, 23. On Aug. 22 at approximately 6:30 p.m., the Yosemite Emergency Communication Center received a report of a person falling off the face of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Due to the late hour, Yosemite National Park Rangers were unable to initiate search efforts. Yesterday, Aug. 23, the victimâ€™s body was spotted via helicopter and Park Rangers extricated the victim from the base of Half Dome.
At this stage, the incident appears to be accidental, and remains under investigation. There is no further information available at this time.
Source: Yosemite National Park/Mammoth Times Staff