Drove up that morning and got started at 10 AM. It was raining on and off for the first half of the hike and we heard reports from people coming down saying that it was snowing on top and to add to it, we could hear thunder once in a while. All these people who got there early were turned back by the ranger. We arrived at the cables at 5PM and the only clouds were below us. No snow and very few people by that time. The top was great and sitting over the edge was exciting. Made the last 4 miles of the descent in the dark and were done by 8PM.
Climbing Half Dome was the culmination of our 3 day backpacking trip from Tuluomne Meadows to Yosemite Valley through Cathedral Lake and Sunrise. We spent previous night in the beautiful campground on the intersection of John Muir Trail and Clouds Rest, 2.5 miles away from Half Dome (those of you who chose to stay in a well-developed Little Yosemite Valley - you missed out big time!). Woke up at 5:30am and was underway at 7am. Day turned out to be absolutely gorgeous. We left our backpacks in the bushes next to the John Muir Trail, and hiked with daybacks to the top. Ascend was easy and enjoyable. We've made it to the top at 9am. Ran into two guys who were drinking large cans of Fosters and playing frisbee on the summit plato - ohh they've made us jealous with their beer. We got to our backpacks by 11am and witnessed major traffic on the John Muir trail on the way to the top. If you want to enjoy the ascend - make it early (before 9-10am).
This was my 34th or 35th time on top of Half Dome, mostly by the cables route, but I have climbed Snake Dike 6 times, it is a fun route. On this particular trip, the cables were down, and there were few tourists enroute. ScottyS and I had the place to ourselves. Round trip time of approximately 5.5 hours, a little slow due to snow and ice encountered on the trail. The Regular Route on the Northwest Face is high on my list, but I haven't found anyone who wants to go yet. I will tick this route sometime soon.
I left early in the morning and hiked in from Lower Pines campground. Six or so miles and a little bushwhacking later, we were at the starting point. There was only one uneasy portion under the flake on the first pitch, where we had a little rope trouble. Other than that, the climb was very straight forward...climbing the "dinosaurs back". The dike is interesting, with a spine-like appearance. After reaching the top, we hiked out of there (8.5 miles) via the JMT. I slept so good that night!
Hiked trail with my wife Paula, very sweet day...
My first klettersteig. Things look a lot easier nowadays (hence more crowded) with the single cable replaced by a staircase.
Many people on the cable route. Went outside the cables because I felt safer there, and because there was no traffic outside the cables. Spent an hour at the summit together with my friends Chuck and Sue.
We tried the North Face but run out of food and water while waiting for other parties climbing the North face route. So we aborted the attempt . Instead of this we hiked up the cable route to the summit and enjoyed this realy grat place.
Four of us originally set out to climb Snake's Dike, but for too many reasons to list here, we didn't even leave Camp 4 until 11:30am. Given that it was winter, and the sun was due to set at 5ish, I elected to break off from the group and trot up the back side/Cable Route.
I hit the trail at 12:20pm and enjoyed the views during the walk up. I got to the cables at 4:00pm and as expected, they were down. I grabbed onto one of the cables and climbed up bat-man style topping out around 4:30pm.
I enjoyed the view at the top, but I liked the view looking over the edge even more. I had a surprisingly fast descent (less than 3 minutes back to the valley floor) and a big fat smile from an absolutely spledid day. ;-)
First dayhike of the year, saw zero tourists on the summit. Stuck my head out over the edge --- I'll leave the diving board to others...
A fantastic dayhike...too bad it is so popular.
Fun climb with Josh on a very crowded summer weekend. This is probably my third favorite technical climb to date after Olive Oil and Johnny Vegas. This is, however, an easy climb and I agree with Ryle in thinking that the hardest move is the class 4 mantle on the approach. We even did a 10m simul-climb ... by accident. If we only used quickdraws on bolts, does this mean this qualifies as a multi-pitch sport climb? The views on top are astounding and for the first time I thought Yosemite could rival Zion in terms of sheer beauty. Read more about our crowded climb in my SP Trip Report.
John and I climbed Snake Dike with 20 other people on the route. Don't do this climb on a summer weekend! There were 100+ people on top of Half Dome and more than 200 in a traffic jam on the cables. No, these numbers are not exaggerations. I counted them.
Seemed like easy 5.7 to me, but then I wasn't leading. :) Get the free beta to help you out and psych you up. And get there early if you don't like lines. This is one fine route...
Wow! Are those cables tough or what? This hike will take a lot out of you but it also gives back too, with incredible views of the Yosemite Valley and that sense of accomplishment after pulling your way up the cables! This hike is hard on the knees so take hiking poles. I would also suggest going up the Mist trail and down the John Muir., stepping down those high granite steps on the Mist Trail can kill the knees real quick.
Natural Born Hikers
See my trip report for the full experience, but the summit itself is spetacular with a tremendous view of the entire valley and surrounding region. The accomplishment is great and the feelings wonderful up on this rock ... be prepared and it's a great experience!
What a Climb!!!
I've hiked extensively through Yosemite with one or two people usually. This time I had 5 Boy Scouts and another Assistant Scout Leader and a parent. We started in Tuolumne Meadows and hiked down Lyell Canyon to the base of Potter Point. After a night of chasing bears away, we discovered that bears didn't like cheyanne pepper. Sprinkle a little on the top of your bear canisters and they don't want anything to do with you. The next day we hike through rain and dodged lightening on our way to Vogelsang. THX in the movies has nothing on God's sound system! The thunder was tremendous. A night spent at Fletcher Lake and we were quickly on the trail to Vogelsang Pass! We dined on gorp and salami at the pond at Vogelasng Pass and filtered some water. The cumulous was getting dark and so we headed down to Lewis Creek, but not before we took in the beautiful view from the southern end of Vogelsang Pass!
Descend young man! Today was the day that we found out who skimpped and bought cheap boots. The descent from the pass to Lake Merced was over 4,000 ft. a good portion of the descent was over foot killing coblestone. (Whoever put that on the trail should be shot) Those with strudy boots faired well. Those who bought cheap tennis shoe type boots paid a price (You can either pay now or pay later). A day descending along Lewis Creek was soon rewarded with the High Sierra Camp at Lake Merced. It was almost like a small city. While the hot shower was nice and the boys liked the Hershey's bars at the store, it somehow didn't seem like it should be there. It was like hiking through the wilderness and coming upon a youth summer camp. Surreal! We pitched our tents in the backpacker area and shared some matches with 2 couples from the Czech Republic. We then went off to the Rangers camp fire. He spoke of snakes, fox, coyotes, and bear. Out of the whole group of at least 50 people, we were the only folks with bear encounters. We shared our bear repellant secret with the ranger. He didn't seem real happy with us and chose to reserve his comments. The next morning we were off to Lil' Yo'.
Following the trail to Lil' Yosemite Valley, we said goodbye to Merced Lake. A backwards glance from its western end gernerated a beautiful photo with wildflowers in the foreground, Lake Merced and the mountains in the back round. Traveling through Echo Valley we soon came upon the burned out remnants of what used to be a forest. Surely it will return again someday. Crossing over several wooden and a few steel bridges we traverse back and forth over the Merced River and some of its feeder streams. The views looking up canyon from just before the Bunnell Point is breath taking. We soon descend to the Bunnell Cascades and the boys take advantage of the natural water slides. Another coversation ensues with the folks from the Czech Republic. We met a couple from Israel that were over here enjoying the granduer of Yosemite. "Nothing like this in Israel.." the man said. As refreshing as the water was, and as intiguing as the conversation was, 3 hours later we finally left the cascades and camped at Lil' Yo.
The next morning we headed up Half Dome. Refilling my 3.0 litre bladder at the spring half way up was a good idea. I drank a tremendous amount of water on the way up to the summit. As we approached the saddle, the views started opening up. Clouds Rest, Tenaya Canyon, Merced River Canyon and the Clark Range.
Everyone hisses at the mention of the cables, but the worst part of this hike is certainly the switch backs. Especially when its crowded. This August morning was no exception. Very little shade and already scorching hot at 10:30 AM we reach the saddle. Uugh! The cables are crowded! I broke out my leather gloves and climb up anyway. I've climbed the cables when I was younger, but today they seem more difficult than before. Yep! I'm getting older!
In 15 minutes we're at the summit. "Everyone to the Diving Board!" We snap several pictures and take it all in. The plethora of "Subway" sandwhiches and Budwieser that some individuals were consuming on the summit is a keen reminder that civilization is only a few hours away.
Racing down the cables we descend Half Dome. I take off my gloves and leave them in the pile for someone that came without. At the switch backs I inadvertantly find a short cut that spits me out near the spring. More water! I'm thirsty today!
We reached Lil' Yo and packed up camp and skeedadled past Nevada Falls and Vernal Falls down the Mist Trail, to the remodeled Happy Isle and to Curry Village. On the way down the mist trail, a couple, obvioulsy from New York make the boys cackle. Dressed in Bermuda shorts, a loud Hawaiian shirt with camera draped around the neck, dark socks and sandles, this guy yodels in a Brooklyn accent to his wife, "L-e-w-k M-a-r-gie, real life backpackers!" Margie looks to her husband to find him pointing at us. I wave and smile and tell the boys, "Yep, we're getting very close to the Valley!" I mutter under my breath, "Too close."
All this dust and dehydrated food has given us all a hankering for pizza. So we pig out at the Curry Villlage Pizza joint. The next morning all the boys got cleaned up and we put on our Class "A's" (Boy Scout Uniforms) and head to the Awahnee for the Breakfast Buffet. The manager of the Awahnee is delighted ot have us dining and comments on how well behaved our boys are. He also expressed how they added a little ambiance to the place being in uniform and all. In a way the boys did look like they belonged in the timbered building.
After stuffing ourselves we needed to take, (of all things) a hike, so we hiked out to the Merced from the Awahnee. We went through the old camp grounds that are being removed and along side the road where mom's with their young ones honked in adoration of my boys in uniform. The boys enjoyed the attention. Boy Scouts and Yosemite just seem to go hand in hand. We started driving out of the "Valley" but stopped for one last look from the Tunnel turnout. We posed for a picture and soon had a couple young lasses from Germany running to get beside the boys. Their father bellows out to us while wagging his finger, "G-G-G-German Brittney Spears!" The boys once again cackled and leaned in to take a picture with a couple young pretty German versions of Brittany Spears.
Glancing up at Half Dome and looking at the boys and sensing the confidence that they gained, I realized that I accomplished much more than just taking them hiking. They accomplished a journey that many never dreamed they would take. A life long memory was now etched upon them. Great trip!
Have done Half Dome two times; both times via the Cables Route. First time was in May 1995, the second trip was in July 1999. Fairly long hike/climb for a day, but well worth the effort! Going up/down the cables is the best part of the experience. Very nice view of Yosemite Valley, and east throughout Yosemite NP, as well.
If you leave early enough, you can have the summit all to yourself. If you go fast enough, you can be back in time for lunch. I recommend both. :) Trip Report
No matter how crowded it is, there is no other peak in yosemite (or elsewhere in the Sierra) where you can dangle your feet over 2,000 feet of vertical.