A few friends have been wanting to do Half-Dome, with a lay-over at the Little Yosemite "wilderness" campground. I've done Half-Dome many times as a day-hike and I've gotten many wilderness permits over the years (including a LY permit), but I am worried that we would not be able to get permits for it. More specifically, they can only take Monday or Friday off to get FCFS permits and would like to go within the next couple of weeks (I was thinking around the 21st of September).
How likely is it that we would get FCFS permits under those conditions?
The idea would be to get to a Yosemite Wilderness Center on Friday @8am, wait until 11am for the FCFS permit distribution, and get a permit for Saturday. Similarly, we could also go on a Sunday, to get permits for Monday.
Can anyone comment on how likely/difficult it is to get FCFS permits for week-ends this time of the year? I've done something similar mid-week and had no problems in June, but it was mid-week and I don't think that having a Friday or Monday helps us that much...
just be happy you live in Merced, which is not too far away, should you lose at getting what you want. It's always a gamble walking into the office there . . . you just never know what you are going to get, but be open to options––you might end up driving up to Glacier point to start your journey.
Your best bet is doing it on a weekday . . . getting to the office earlier, as in, camping there (in shifts) and you might even try going in a few days before your trip to secure a permit––and if you act like you know what you're doing and you're willing to do it, see about getting a "pass-thru" on LYV, camp beyond the HD junction (at the first water source) and then in the morning hike back to the junction, do HD . . . of course then you'd have to deal with stashing your gear at the junction.
And they're generally referred to as "walk-ins" . . . I was just curious to see what a "FCFS permit" was.
I am very happy that I live in Merced and do not see the conection with my question. As I've said in my original post, I am planning this hike to Half-Dome on behalf of inexperienced friends. If it was up to me (or if I were alone) I would rather hike in Yosemite's high country, instead of doing a hike that I've already done 5 times. I am open to options, although starting from Glacier Point does not increase our odds by much (only 4 permits are first come first serve). Evidently, I will also look at permits starting from the Sunrise trailhead. I was just posting a message to see if anyone had any recent experience trying to get first come first serve permits (it doesn't even have to be for LYV - comments regarding the # of people in line at the wilderness center would be sufficient information)...
I doubt you will get LYV, that is usually packed... You can stay in the wilderness instead, but then your 2nd day will be as hard as a day-hike.
More importantly, did you already call and ask if the advance-reservation permits are available? I thought they are available by phone until 3 days ahead of the start date.
To give you an idea: I was able to get first come first serve wilderness permits for two people on the day of the hike, Sat Aug 18th, to hike from glacier point and overnight in the wilderness by (up Illilouette Creek, NOT LYV), with half-dome permits for Sunday included. We didn't get to the office very early either, maybe between 9 and 10 am. By that time all trailheads in Tuolumne were full, LYV was full, as well as the happy isles trailhead was full. But not glacier point. There was a good amount of people in line for permits (at Hogdon Meadow) but they didn't have the outdoor ranger desk set up.
OR you could tell your friends that half-dome is crowded and not worth the trouble, and take them to a nice high sierra hideaway instead.