Half Dome, one of the park's most iconic attractions, rises nearly 4,800 feet high

By Helen Murphy
September 07, 2019 02:40 PM
Yosemite National Park
Getty Images

Danielle Burnett of Arizona died on Thursday after falling 500 feet in California’s Yosemite National Park, a spokesperson for the park confirmed to PEOPLE.

According to the Washington PostBurnett fell while hiking a treacherous segment of Yosemite’s famous Half Dome that involves climbing with the assistance of metal cables.

The 29-year-old was dead when emergency officials found her, a spokesperson for the park told the newspaper. Park officials are currently investigating the accident.

On Friday, Burnett’s sister Nichole Burnett shared a touching photo of her sister enjoying the view from a rock formation, according to the Post.

“It’s with a broken heart to inform you all that our beautiful Danielle left us yesterday doing something she loved so much,” Nichole wrote on Facebook. “This will take time. Thank you for understanding.”

Half Dome is Yosemite’s “most iconic attraction,” according to the national park’s website, and is the only day hike in the park that requires a permit to complete.

According to the website, hikers on this trail walk 17 miles and gain 4,800 feet of elevation before reaching Half Dome’s “steep granite domes.” There, steel cables are placed along the dome to help hikers climb to the summit.

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Yosemite’s website warns that the hike is “not suitable for novice or unfit hikers,” with the description of the hike noting: “There is nothing you can do to guarantee your safety.”

More than 100 climbing accidents occur in Yosemite every year, according to the park’s website. Last month, a Romanian tourist died after slipping on wet rocks and falling 20 feet near Yosemite’s Bridalveil Fall waterfall.

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