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Question about hiking Half Dome

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Question about hiking Half Dome

Postby Artvandalay » Tue Oct 05, 2010 1:44 pm

Hey everyone,

I wanted to pose a question. I'm going to be in CA this weekend and I wanted to hike Half Dome in Yosemite. Has anyone done it recently? I want to know if I need a permit to climb to the top. Also, how dangerous is it to climb to the top without the cables set up on the final pitch? I was hoping I could just show up and hike it but I was told by a website a permit is required. Maybe this is just another reason CA sucks. :P

thanks

Brady
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Re: Question about hiking Half Dome

Postby steelfrog » Tue Oct 05, 2010 1:52 pm

Permits only on weekends.

Never hiked without the cables set up, but they are there to hold onto always; just without the rods and 2 by 4s. I wouldn't think it would be too hard. The stairs up the subdome have struck everyone who has done this hike as more sketchy than the dome itself. Loose sand, etc. Not all that challenging, frankly.

Of course, if the dome is wet or snowy, all bets are off. One or two slid down I think this year (or maybe last) in early season before the cables were raised, and wetness was the cause. As a backup plan you could do Cloud's Rest, which is much better views, IMO. Mt. Dana good too. North Dome. Cathedrals. Lots o stuff out there.

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Re: Question about hiking Half Dome

Postby Fat n Lazy » Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:26 pm

It's my understanding the cables are to be up through Oct 11th this year.

Personally would never attempt to ascend the cables when they were down, way above my tolerance level (wimpy at best)... If I were to do so, I would only do so with protection (probably a chest harness would work best), & of course then it would be just tedious.

I felt like trip reports I reviewed online fairly represented the "pucker" factor of the cables & most of the pictures were spot on (steepness, exposure etc)... In comparison say something like the Homestretch always looks much more dramatic than it is in reality.

I did this hike on June 17, 07. When we arrived in the valley on the 16th the resuce helicoptors were pulling a deceased hiker of the cable route, halfway up the cables I met the 3 "trail-workers" who were "tightening" the cables in response to the previous day's events.

definitely avoid this if it is wet...

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Re: Question about hiking Half Dome

Postby peter303 » Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:37 pm

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/halfdome.htm
Permits are required for Oct 8, 9, 10, and 11. Cables are scheduled to come down Oct 15.

When they are UP there are (1) a set of wood slats on the rock which act like steps.
(2) metal ropes (cables) about waist high on both sides that behave like railings.
When they are DOWN the slats and poles are removed, but the metal ropes remain
draped upon the rock.
The slope is shallow enough with enough boot friction on the granite (when its dry)
so the ropes, up or down, are mainly used for balance. I've seen some people
free-walk the granite without the ropes. I would not recommend that.
I've usually done it in May or September when the cables were down.
No big worries. Save when its crowded and some smart-ass barges through
ahead of the line and pushes people off balance.

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Re: Question about hiking Half Dome

Postby ebnhils » Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:53 pm

I was up there early this June, needed permits only on weekends. No permit was needed if the cables are down as the route is considered closed, no one stops you from hiking. The cables were still down when I went up, I just held the cable between my legs and walked up. It made it more challenging but was not that bad. There were some that had climbing harnesses and slings for protection on the cables, some told me they even do this when the cables are up. It would be very slippery when wet as the rock is steep and worn do to heavy use. This was one of my favorite hikes, great views and a fun climb. Only parts of California suck, have fun.

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Re: Question about hiking Half Dome

Postby peter303 » Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:00 am

Snow closed some roads in the Tahoe area Tuesday.
Its mentioned in the Yosemite forecasts Tuesday to Thursday.

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Re: Question about hiking Half Dome

Postby mountaingoat-G » Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:57 pm

Has anyone done both Half-dome and Longs or Pyramid ?

Just wondering how they compare physically and exposure wise ?

Thanks...
Last edited by mountaingoat-G on Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Question about hiking Half Dome

Postby DaveSwink » Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:04 pm

Half Dome is not quite as strenuous as the Keyhole route on Longs. I would recommend a harness with two long slings with biners, especially if the cables are down. With that gear, you will feel secure. It would be rough to be caught on Half Dome in the rain without gear to keep you on the cables.

+1 to steelfrog's comment that Cloud's Rest is a great alternative hike.

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Re: Question about hiking Half Dome

Postby gdthomas » Thu Jan 12, 2012 5:22 pm

Artvandalay wrote:Hey everyone,

I wanted to pose a question. I'm going to be in CA this weekend and I wanted to hike Half Dome in Yosemite. Has anyone done it recently? I want to know if I need a permit to climb to the top. Also, how dangerous is it to climb to the top without the cables set up on the final pitch? I was hoping I could just show up and hike it but I was told by a website a permit is required. Maybe this is just another reason CA sucks. :P

thanks

Brady


According to the NPS website, the cables route shouldn't be attempted when the cables are down. I don't know if that's an oft broken rule or not.

mountaingoat-G wrote:Has anyone done both Half-dome and Longs or Pyramid ?

Just wobdering how they compare physically and exposure wise ?

Thanks...


The mileage and elevation gain are similar. The big difference is the altitude. Long's = 9,300' to 14,255'; Half Dome = 4,000' to 8,800'.

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Re: Question about hiking Half Dome

Postby nyker » Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:26 pm

I've done all three. Similar mileage and gain to Longs and as gdthomas mentions altitude is one of the big differences.
Pyramid is shorter, but trickier routefinding and more complicated terrain. The hike to Half Dome to the base of the cables is easy and hard to get lost with a decent trail just about the whole way. If bad weather is moving in, stay off all three peaks.

But also, on Half Dome, one false slip on the cables and you're likely going to buy the farm.
Or, if some idiot in flip flops above you falls and falls into you while you're looking
at the scenery you're in trouble unless you have a Kung Fu grip on the cables. So, start early from happy Isles (6AM or earlier) to make sure there isn't a crowd
on the cables while you're there and you'll be happier and safer.

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Re: Question about hiking Half Dome

Postby peter303 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:54 pm

I think Half Dome (from Valley) and Longs were similar in effort: distance and elevation change.
Half Dome has less class 3 scrambling than Longs.
The Half Dome hike has more pretty waterfalls and streams.

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Re: Question about hiking Half Dome

Postby mountaingoat-G » Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:25 pm

Thanks for the replies.

I grew up going to Yosemite twice a summer for 7 years in a row, but that was a long time ago. We always did the Mist trail to the top of Nevada falls. We never went above Nevada Falls, but I was pretty young back then.

I will be going back this June (Cables should be up at that time) and have been looking into trying to get a permit for Half-Dome. It's a crazy situation, from what I can tell. The NPS said that they were making "changes" to the permit system for 2012 but it's not yet clear what those changes are.

I had thought about a harness with a sling or two to clip into the cable, but don't see from the many pics I have looked at that anyone else did that. The main problem (besides rain & lightning) that I can discern from all this is the mobs of people- a percentage of which (based on their poor choice of footwear, if nothing else) has no clue about what they are doing and should not be there...

When I did Pyramid, it snowed on us a bit and made the rock slightly wet, but the biggest danger was another group of climbers that caused a descent sized rockslide on the descent just a few hundred yards below the summit.

When looking at picks of the cable route, it appeared to be no big deal from some angles, and psycho from other angles. Knowing how deceptive pics can be, I know not to place too much stock in what they make the route look like. When doing the Home-strech on Longs, I thought the pics made it look worse than what it was (although I was lucky enough to do it in dry conditions).

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