Super Serious Everest Prep

The Half Dome Day Trek —  Trail Rated -VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY HARD  

Rising nearly 5,000 feet above Yosemite Valley and 8,800 feet above sea level, Half Dome is a Yosemite icon and a great challenge to many hikers and hard on the breathe-y lobes. Although thousands of people reach the summit each year, for most, it is an exciting, arduous hike; for a few, it becomes more of an adventure than they wanted. Indeed, park rangers assist hundreds of people on the Half Dome trail every summer. Much of the hike to Half Dome is an adventure into Wilderness. (Don’t feed the bears {aka. danger floofs}, don’t play with snakes {aka. nope ropes}, don’t fall and break legs/ankles/arms/etc. All of that is bad, very bad.)  

The 14- to 16-mile round-trip hike to Half Dome is not for you if you’re out of shape or unprepared. You will be gaining elevation (for a total of 4,800 feet) most of your way to the top of Half Dome. Most would say the reward is worth the effort. Along the way, you’ll see outstanding views of Vernal and Nevada Falls, Liberty Cap, Half Dome, and–from the shoulder and summit–panoramic views of Yosemite Valley and the High Sierra.

Most hikers take 10 to 12 hours to hike to Half Dome and back; some take longer. If you plan on hiking during the day, it’s smart to leave around sunrise (or earlier) and then have a non-negotiable turn-around time. For instance, if you haven’t reached the top of Half Dome by 3:30 pm, you will turn around. Check for sunrise and sunset times before you hike. Regardless, each person should carry a flashlight or headlamp with good batteries (hikers commonly struggle down the trail after dark because they don’t have a flashlight.) Although the trail is well marked, you should be prepared with a good topographic map and compass and know how to use them.

The Half Dome Cables to the Summit

           

The most famous–or infamous–part of the hike is the ascent up the cables. The two metal cables allow hikers to climb the last 400 feet to the summit without rock climbing equipment. Since 1919, relatively few people have fallen and died on the cables. However, injuries are not uncommon for those acting irresponsibly. (Climbing during/after rainfall is highly discouraged as the near 90-degree slope and cables become super, wicked slickery.)

Note: A maximum of 300 hikers are allowed (about 225-day hikers and 75 backpackers) each day on the Half Dome Trail beyond the base of the sub dome. Permits are distributed by lottery via Recreation.gov.

info provided by national park service

 

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