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Question about hiking Half Dome

14ers in California and Washington state or any other peak in the USA
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Re: Question about hiking Half Dome

Postby DaveSwink » Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:56 pm

A harness with a couple of slings/biners allows you to go outside the cables, avoiding the jam of people behind the occassional person having a breakdown. Much of the ascent is a comfortable angle with decent rock but a few sections are very slick from the polishing of thousands of feet. I was much more comfortable on Homestretch than descending Half Dome.

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Re: Question about hiking Half Dome

Postby rockyalps » Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:54 pm

Last year, you needed to secure a permit from recreation.gov for every single day of the week when the cables were up (check website, since you had to do this 3 to 4 months in advance), but that may be changing for 2012.

Longs Peak definitely has more scrambling from the Keyhole to the top, and the extra elevation is a factor, so overall I'd say Half Dome is just a little less strenuous of a hike. The cables portion is comparable in grade to the Homestretch (~45 degrees), although the weathered granite is a bit more slick on Half Dome. I was surprised by how slick the granite on the cables route was (didn't realize how worn-out my Vasque boots were, so I'll be getting a new pair soon), so the wooden planks helped quite a bit. When they're down, I'd definitely recommend clipping in, and wouldn't even try it when wet. Some people clipped in anyways when they were up, but it looked like it was a pain and unneccessary having to un-clip and re-clip every 15 feet or so, due to the vertical metal bars at each plank. If you've got wimpy, uncalloused hands like mine, use a pair of gloves from the pile at the bottom of the cables.

You can check out my trip report from this last summer at http://www.summitpost.org/investigating-the-hype-the-cables/745051.

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Re: Question about hiking Half Dome

Postby mountaingoat-G » Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:41 am

Thanks, these are exactly the types of replies I was looking for. Another thing that occured to me about clipping into the cables is that I would imagine other people who are holding onto the cables might not like having to deal with someone else's carabiners getting in their way.

reading the summitpost trip report now .....

Great trip report and great pics. Thanks !!!

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Re: Question about hiking Half Dome

Postby peter303 » Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:16 am

I read Half Dome has had 20 known deaths and Longs nearly 60.
The valley trail to Half Dome has had many morel deaths from people playing in the water, slipping and rockfalls.

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Re: Question about hiking Half Dome

Postby apasquel » Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:45 am

Need ya'lls input here...My wife and I are going to California for 10 days this year. Most likely in the Summer...We will be visiting Yosemite to backpack/climb. My question is...is Half Dome hike worth it? Yes I know...it's one of the world's greatest hikes. However...is it that great with hundreds of people around? I dont know. Are the hoards of people like hiking Quandary or Gray's in the Summer or worse. When I climbed Quandary, the ascent was nice...I started early and was the 3rd person up that day. On the way down...it felt like Disney World for outdoor enthusiasts. BUt since wilderness is big and vast...it didn't feel too bad. However, I sense that Yosemite and the half dome hike are even busier than easy 14ers in the Summer. Can anyone comment or compare? As of right now, I am discouraged and am leaning towards not doing it and just heading towards Mt. Hood (which also has many people but not like Yosemite) and Redwoods. But I feel like this should not be a good reason to keep me from doing it. Obviously, I'm torn...I need help. A lot. Thanks.

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Re: Question about hiking Half Dome

Postby greenhorn1 » Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:00 am

Yes it's crowded and you'll be hiking with people who look as prepared for the hike as someone shopping at the mall. If you leave early enough you can probably avoid the worst of the crowds and also avoid the line to head up the cables. However, you will probably wait in a line to go down. Overall I still feel like it was a unique experience and is worth doing at least once in your life. The views from the top are fanstastic! When we did it we didn't stay/camp overnight in the valley. We drove in early, did the Half-Dome hike, stopped at a few other interesting points, then drove back out because we didn't have more time.
Choose only one master - Nature. Rembrandt

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Re: Question about hiking Half Dome

Postby ztop » Fri Jan 13, 2012 11:05 am

As others have said, Half Dome is similar in effort to Longs, but the altitude makes a big difference. If you aren't familiar with the Sierras it gives you an introduction to a whole new world. The waterfalls, streams and masses of white granite are spectacular. Farther from the valley there are fewer tourista, but even with the summer crowds it's a great hike and a great contrast to Colorado 14ers.

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Re: Question about hiking Half Dome

Postby peter303 » Fri Jan 13, 2012 12:02 pm

Half Dome was my bread-and-butter hike when I lived in the Bay area. I probably did it a dozen times. Its also the hike I most turned away from at the base of granite due to deteriorating weather conditions, especially I was leading a tour group.

I actually climbed the falls trail to the base of Half Dome without seeing another soul in a believe-or-not-story. It was the day after Thanksgiving in 1993(?) when they evacuated Yosemite due to 100 mph Santa Ana-type winds knocking trees down. They let a few campers like myself sleep in hotel lobbies. The day following the evacuation I did not see anyone while ascending the trail. Sometimes the trail is so crowded during the summer with baby buggies and slow people you have to shuffle the first mile or two. Unfortunately the winds were still very high at altitude and i turned around at the granite base.

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Re: Question about hiking Half Dome

Postby apasquel » Fri Jan 13, 2012 2:02 pm

OK...see what you guys think about this plan. If you backpacked to Little Yosemite Valley (i'm sure I would see tons of people at first) and camped, and the next day set out at 6am from this point...what are the chances of going up top and coming back down the cables before the crowd. Is this possible?

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Re: Question about hiking Half Dome

Postby greenhorn1 » Fri Jan 13, 2012 3:55 pm

I think even if you were climbing ON the cables at 6 am you might see a few others with you on the trail. Still worth the trip though!
Choose only one master - Nature. Rembrandt

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Re: Question about hiking Half Dome

Postby nyker » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:42 am

I've climbed it three times, though was a bit nervous the first time on those cables as I did it in a massive July 4th Sunday crowd at 11AM-lesson learned for the subsequent trips. Here are a few shots I took last time I did it to maybe give you a better view of the angle, though probably nothing you haven't already seen. I took these in the morning (maybe 7:30-8AM?) on Memorial Day weekend. The earlier you get here, the fewer people you'll have to deal with, which will make this safer. While Pyramid was hard with extended Class 3/4 climbing, I felt more of a fear factor on the cables, since there is no room for error there and you've also already hiked 8+ miles to get here, so factor that into your though process. Despite the crowds, I love this hike and would do it again, especially when you combine it with Clouds Rest from Happy Isles making one long day in some great alpine country. Just don't go up if the skies are threatening.
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Re: Question about hiking Half Dome

Postby mnmtman » Tue May 29, 2012 2:55 pm

Has anyone hiked half dome from Glacier Point? I'm doing the hike on June 5th and I thought it might be cool to start at Glacier Point and end at Happy Isles. Any input would be appreciated.

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