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.
Late August was perfect for climbing the Cables route. There was just the right number of other hikers to make one feel comfortable and there was no wait at the cables. Use the gloves that are sitting at the base of the cables - I was sorry I didn't. I climbed in my tennis shoes and made it all the way up (from Curry Village) and back in one day. Drank about a gallon of liquid (water and gatorade). The hike down took only about 3 hours but was very hard on the knees and slippery just after the Nevada Falls.
The view from the base of the Half Dome, on the way up and from the summit is worth all the pain!
Did this route for the 5th or 6th time and had a blast as usual. Started the approach about 8:00pm under a full moon and arrived at base about midnight. Everytime I do this route the approach is better marked. This time under moonlight had the easiest time getting to the base due to the HUGE amount of "ducks" along the way. I'm suprised no one has put a sign at the base to denote the starting point(I'm not suggesting this). No more skills in finding the base. First time I did it many years ago, there was barely a trail to follow and never saw a duck the entire way. The ducks made night navigation a breeze, but I use to enjoy the slabs near the base. This route can be done with a very small rack of a couple of cams and 3 or 4 slings. Still as fun as the first time I did it and we never saw another person on the route that day. A first for me!
Great route, not really a wall route, if it weren't so damn far to get up there, everybody would do it in a day, comparable to DNB or Steck/Salathe.
Go up the slabs, it the easy way.
Too damn many people, and there's a better view from Cloud's Rest.
I did this hike during my first ever visit to YNP. I arrived on Saturday around 4pm, got my permit to camp at Little Yosemite, and headed up the John Muir Trail. Somewhere above the upper Mists Trail junction I ran into a middle-aged couple coming down who told me to tell their friends (farther up the trail) that due to the late hour, they weren't going to wait up for their friends anymore and were heading straight to the parking lot. They just had day packs so I asked them if they or their friends had any flashlights. They had one but didn't know about their friends. Great - what wonderful "friends" to have. Anyway, I ran into the others about 20 min later and gave them the news and then continued on to set up camp. At night, there were about 5 bears wandering through the campground and you could hear them moving from tent to tent. The next day I headed up to the summit where I shared in a flask of red wine brought up a group I hooked up with, one of whom was a Welsh fisherman who had moved to California and lost 3 (1-man) fishing boats at sea but managed to survive all 3 times. I've met as many interesting people on this hike as any other (the other notable one being Machu Picchu). The park took down the posts and 2x4's about a week later so I was lucky to get there when I did. Overall an enjoyable hike, but very crowded on the summit.
Free soloed Snake Dike (5.7). Climbing this incredible route without having to stop to belay was a lot of fun. Completed the technical portion in 22 minutes.
I've been Blesed with many trips up Snake Dike, with various partners, since 1976. This is clearly one of the finest rock climbs that one could ask for ; spectacular location, stunning views and an almost mystical quality of the rock. The Creator worked in strange ways, and surely this is one of the Funnest and Strangest.!!!!