Wintertime in Yosemite National Park creates dangers and challenges for visitors and park rangers alike, especially with this year’s extra snowfall. The dangers were realized on Sunday when a 56-year-old hiker was killed on a closed trail in the park.
Xuan Wang of Cupertino was hiking on a 3-mile stretch of the Mist Trail when rock and ice came crashing down on her from the cliffs above around 12:30 pm. She died shortly after being struck.
Wang was hiking with a friend on a closed portion of the trail that runs from the Merced River to the top of Vernal Fall when the incident happened.
“The trail closure is clearly marked and there is a gate on the trail reminding visitors of the closure,” the National Park Service said in a statement. “Wang ignored the signs, went around the gate and the incident happened on the trail leading to Vernal Fall.”
The trail is closed during the winter due to slippery conditions and the chance of falling debris.
Working as a software engineer for LinkedIn, family and friends indicated that Wang was a veteran of the park and knew the dangers of the winter hike.
In December 2018, a hiker died in the same area when he slipped and fell into the water near Vernal Fall during the government shutdown.