Agony of Da Feet On Half Dome

Agony of Da Feet On Half Dome

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Jun 5, 2008
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Spring

Saving The Best For Last

Trail Head to Half Dome
We decided to save the Half Dome hike for last during our 4 day Yosemite trip. After a good night’s sleep @ Campground 4, we were off to the trailhead by 0630. We started at the parking lot near Happy Isles. We got a little lost before we even got on the trail. We were following 2 other hikers and they were lost as well. The first mile or so was on the paved walking trail. I had to shed my jacket within the first 15 minutes. There were facilities just after the creek crossing.

The Mist Trail

Misty Steps
Rainbows & Raincoats
We donned our rain gear prior to hiking the steep, wet, slippery steps on The Mist Trail. We literally got soaked. There were many people who didn’t have rain gear and they must have been freezing once they were wet. There’s a lookout area at the top of the falls. You can see down to the Mist Trail and watch everyone else get wet.

Nevada Falls

Top Of Nevada Falls
Nevada Falls Rainbow

Next up… Nevada Falls. The hike to the top was again strenuous, steep and long. There are restroom facilities at the top where Mist Trail meets up with the John Muir Trail. This is a good spot to take a break and catch your breath after that steep ascent.

A Break In The Climbing

The next mile is a welcome change. It’s a mostly flat, soft dirt trail that follows along the Merced River. From this point, you get a great view of Liberty Cap, Mt. Broderick, and the south side of Half Dome. Very impressive scenery. The trail makes a left hand turn into the John Muir Wilderness and starts climbing pretty steeply again. Lots of switchbacks.
Merced River

The Hump

The trail finally reaches the base of the hump. I personally found the “hump” to be more dangerous than the cables.
Back Side Of Half Dome

There are steps carved out of the granite slab. When you get about ¾’s of the way up, the steps disappear and you just walk up the granite anywhere you desire. It was pretty steep and I had to stop several times on the steps to catch my breath. I was very thankful that I had trekking poles. These helped keep balance on those giant steps. (I’m 5’4” and some of the steps were very tall to me)
At noon, we took a lunch break at the saddle between the hump and Half Dome and watched people go up the cables. It looked a bit scary from that viewpoint.
The Cables
Looking back, I wish we had just gone up the cables immediately, before the line formed. We brought our own gloves. Just some wind gloves with a rubbery grip. These worked far better than the leather gloves we tried at first. By the time we started up the cables, a line had formed. This was due to an elderly woman that was having problems ascending. She was paralyzed with fear. I really couldn’t believe that someone of her age was actually on the cables. There were also lots of kids. The cables aren’t really hard to climb, but if you make a mistake, YOU DIE. That’s why I was totally surprised to see people of all shapes, sizes, ages, and physical fitness levels. We spent about an hour on the cables due to the bottleneck; otherwise it might have taken us 10-15 minutes. Five hours after we left the trailhead, we were on the summit.
Summit Of Half Dome
The view was pretty awesome. Yosemite is a phenomenal park. So far, this is the most picturesque place I’ve ever been. We spent an hour on the summit, doing the usual … snapping photos, taking a break, watching the marmot try to get into someone’s pack.
Snow At The Summit
There was still a pretty good sized snowfield too.
Going down the cables was much faster. Just a little bit of bottlenecking. Some people were going on the outside of the cables; something I’d never do
Face First Down The Cables

Tired Dogs

The hike back went much faster but at the same time, it seemed to take forever. We were jogging down parts of the trail that were smooth enough. It was just easier on the knees. Instead of taking the Mist Trail, we descended via The John Muir Trail. This added a mile or so but we didn’t have all those steep steps near the falls. It seemed so long. We finally got back to the car by 5:00, which made about a 10 hour day of hiking. We ended up with about 18 miles (this includes the mile that we walked while we were lost in Happy Isles). My feet were pretty sore, but other than that, I felt great. I really enjoyed this hike and it was so worth the effort.

Google Image of Half Dome Hike


Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-7 of 7
Bill Kerr

Bill Kerr - Jun 23, 2008 3:09 pm - Voted 10/10


I expected to read that you didn't summit based on the title Da Feet = Defeat. Well done. Hard to believe that 30 years ago the park service encouraged people to do this as a two day trip.


TJ311 - Jun 23, 2008 4:42 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Title?

Yes perhaps a little misleading. But my feet were KILLING me for sure!!! I thought it was a great 1 day trip. Thanks for checking it out.


maddie77777 - Jun 23, 2008 3:52 pm - Voted 10/10

Nice work

Great pictures and great detail. Now if I can just convince my wife to try these cables....I'll be ready to plan a trip out there!


TJ311 - Jun 23, 2008 4:44 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Nice work

Thank you for checking it out. Tell your wife that the cables are really not bad at all. Just get there early to avoid the bottleneck. And when you come DOWN the cables, come face first. It's much easier than walking backwards and cranking your head around.


lcarreau - Jun 29, 2008 4:55 pm - Voted 10/10

Nice report,

and very well put together. I've been trying to settle the issue
of (live) trees growing on the summit of Half Dome. Did you happen
to run into any?? (Guess there used to be several trees growing
on the top, and overnight campers cut them down to use as firewood.) Thus, the NPS is hopefully discouraging camping above
the cables. Seems like a GOOD idea to me.


TJ311 - Jun 29, 2008 8:04 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Nice report,

Yes. There is only 1 tree left. I heard that overnighters used the other 6 trees for firewood. Sad! I didn't see anyone setting up camp while I was up there. I don't think I'd enjoy sleeping on the summit of Half Dome.


nextyearranier - Nov 8, 2008 7:44 am - Hasn't voted

Great tr!

Sounds great, sore feet and all. I don't think I could go face first down the cables. Good info on the John Muir alternate for coming down. Longer, but perhaps even more scenic. Thanks for sharing.

Viewing: 1-7 of 7