I have approached this from nearly every angle. Valley Floor, Tuolomne, and Glacier Point. All great. Valley Floor is the toughest. The hike never gets old. It is scenic and challenging.
Went up the John Muir Trail and went back down the Mist Trail, and realized I should have done it the other way around just like most people do, upon seeing over a thousand people on the trail near Vernal Falls. The scenery at the beginning and end of this hike was awesome, but I didn't care much for the sandy trail in the middle. The cables were a lot of fun. See "Investigating the Hype" trip report for details.
It's easy with the cable. Packed in from Tuolumne Meadows.
a technical route is the way to go on this baby. I have quite an axe to grind about the attitude embodied on the cables route.
Made the summit around 11am via the Easy Way (cables)
Hiked the second full day that cables have been up for the 2011 season. Left the Bay Area at 1:30AM, on the trail by 6:00AM. Mist Trail felt more like Hurricane Trail - the Merced River is raging this year! Reached the cables around 11:00AM and there weren't too many people at that time, but on the way down at 12:00PM there were a lot more people going up the cables and arriving at the top of the sub dome. The view from the top of Half Dome is unreal. Took the JMT on the way down because Mist Trail was way too wet/flooded. Arrived back at Happy Isles around 5:00PM.
We drove up from the Bay Area, arriving in the park at midnight. We climbed the cables route, reaching the summit by 5a. There was almost no snow on the entire route (a path was cleared through what remained), but the cables were not yet "up". Awesome sunrise on top of Half Dome!
A long day, left the valley floor at noon and returned at 9 PM.
Nice hike, many people along the trail
I can't imagine what a zoo this place is when the cables are up.
Camped in position to be the first up the cables in the morning. Pulled myself up using both cables without the usual mob present. Lingered a bit long and bumped into the crowd as I was coming down. As such, descent took much longer.
Went to do snake dike. Went up the cables instead. Didn't like carring my climbing gear on a day hike. Snake dike, you will be mine.
Climbed with Steven Bradley and Jon Berry from Happy Isles.
Got an early start (4am), and made it to the summit before the hordes arrived. Down in the valley, it was over 100F in the early afternoon!
This was truly one of the most beautiful and rewarding hikes I've ever done. I heartily second all the rave reviews of other climbers. That said, here's what kinda sucked about it. There were a ton of people on the trail, even though it was a Thursday. I guess there's just no such thing as a slow day in Yosemite in August. Sharing the trail is fine, but lines at the cables represented a real bottleneck, and the real problem is the one or two people who freeze in terror on their way up or down.
The other thing is that the top of Half Dome actually presents a slightly disappointing view - in the sense that Yosemite's most defining feature isn't in sight because it's under your feet.
Bring a water filter and watch for the spring behind the log about 3/4 of the way up.
My party included my wife Lynda (aka Zarathustraswife), daughter Alexa (18), son Nathan (16), Sarah, David, Danny and Kellie.
Time on the trail (or lazing about off the trail): 6am - 6pm
Wildlife sightings included a pretty big rattlesnake, and Zack and Cody from the Disney Channel.
This was the hardest hike to date that I have done. I hiked this with my husband, step-daughter, step-son, 2 brothers, sister and sister-in-law. We hiked the Mist trail up and the John Muir trail down. I believe we finished this hike in about 16 hours. The stairs at Mist trail and the ascent/descent of Sub-Dome were the most challenging parts of the hike for me. The hardest part about the cables was waiting for people who were too scared to move, holding up the line.
My first time to Yosemite and this climb changed my view for the great:)
Camped at Quarter Domes after another season in the High Sierra.