Half Dome survivors wish they had taken heed

By TRACIE CONE | October 8, 2011 | 11:05 AM EDT

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Armando Castillo knew he should not attempt the last treacherous stretch up Half Dome with storm clouds looming. But he felt he had come too far not to accomplish his goal.

With others turning back, Castillo pushed on up the side of the slick, granite monolith, making him one of Yosemite National Park's worst nightmares— the increasing number of wilderness neophytes who mistakenly think the government is obligated to save them.

"People are pushing their luck, trying to beat the weather, and their backup plan is to call for a rescue," said Mark Marschall, project manager for the Half Dome interim permit program.

The problem has surfaced in recent weeks on the park's most inspiring hike, where visitors confronted by unseasonable rains are ignoring warning signs and common sense.