A man who fell to his death from the Half Dome cables last week has been identified as a 29-year-old resident of New York City who was originally from southeast coastal India.

The death of Asish Penugonda on May 21 was the first visitor fatality in Yosemite National Park this year, Jamie Richards with park public affairs said. His death was also the first fatality on the Half Dome cables since July 2011.

According to the National Park Service, the cables were first built in 1919 by members of the Sierra Club for visitors without technical rock climbing ability. When cable supports are installed each spring, the cables are on raised posts and ascend the final 400 feet up Half Dome’s steep east face. The summit of Half Dome is 8,839 feet above sea level.

Penugonda fell from the cables about 4:30 p.m. May 21. He was with another person and they were hiking during a thunderstorm, Jamie Richards with Yosemite National Park public affairs said.

Rangers provided assistance to the second hiker. Penugonda’s body was recovered about 1 p.m. May 22.

Friends of Penugonda raised more than $50,000 to send his remains home to India and provide assistance for his family to handle his final rites in India.

Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.com or 588-4585. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.

20418011