2012 Half Dome permits – comments

My take on the new 2012 permit plan with the lottery is that you need to plan pretty darn well for a trip up the big guy this summer. Not only will you need to decide how many are going on your trip, but someone needs to be the “Leader of the pack.” The person (or an alternate) needs to know up front (in March) how many permits to get. And this is for ALL summer thru October. Wow, who can get a pack of friends to commit that far in advance? Then you will be told in April if you succeeded. The named person can apply for permits for up to six people for up to seven dates. Ergo, pretty good planning is required. The permits are not transferable, so what do you do with the extras if someone can’t go? I assume they can be given away. So will this prevent scalping if a  person gets permits and sells extra? All that is required is the name of the trip leader. Many would not report the sale if they really want to go – the seller will need to have the leader’s name on the permit – but again if you can’t get a permit otherwise, you may go along with the seller’s request to keep mum. Hmmm


I need to stare at the sun a bit to decide if this website/blog can assist as I did last year. The biggest gotcha is going to be securing accommodations. If you have booked tent cabins already as I suggested back in September, you should be OK, but if not, you will need to roll the dice on your March application and then scramble to get a place to stay if you are notified that you got the permits. Me thinks that everyone will ask for 6 permits and then deal with who is going later. The NPS didn’t ask me for my comments. What do you think?

We just cleared the Panama Canal. If it’s not on your bucket list – plan to go. The engineering is remarkable. It opened in 1914 and it cost 20,000 French (Jamaican) and 5,000 lives when the US dug it. Humans became ants and took about 300 feet off a mountain that was in the way down to 40 feet above sea level. Wow. It’s 9 degrees above the equator here and it’s indeed HOT and muggy. Imagine working digging the canal in even worse jungle conditions.

My Half Dome training has degenerated to me climbing the steps on the cruise ship to get back in shape from the Harley accident.

My rehab on board is this and the gym. The collarbone is still sore when I sleep on my left side and the left knee pings a bit. All in due time.  I’m ready to get back home to Mrs HD and the 5 pound wonderdog, Yosey (as in Yosemite).


Unrelated thought worth quoting: “I met him at the candy store He turned around and smiled at me You get the picture? (yes, we see) That’s when I fell for the Leader of the Pack. ” – The Shangri Las 

*MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome


About Mr Half Dome - Rick Deutsch

Mr Half Dome. Has written the only half dome hiking guide, One Best Hike: Yosemite's Half Dome. Has hiked it 31 times to day. Lives in San Jose, CA Available for presentations. Carpe Diem Experience, LLC
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5 Responses to 2012 Half Dome permits – comments

  1. Tom says:

    Mr. Half Dome….

    I am hoping you would use your blog here to help anyone who secures additional permits that may go unuses. For example, if I get 6 permits, but only will have 4 going with me I could give away 2 here.

    Just a thought. Thank you for your help last year.


  2. Harty Johnson says:

    Perhaps, everyone will lose in the lottery, and all the petmits get owned by outdoor guide and outfitters. I will use my wilderness permit and not have to be involved in this convoluted mess.

  3. Maureen L says:

    if they’re going to do this lottery thing permanently, I think it needs to be in January.

    part of a good Half Dome experience, IMO, is staying in the east end of the Valley.

    as we’ve noted, CV tent cabins are available a year and a day in advance, and book up pretty fast. campground reservations for May 15 – June 14 went on sale January 15, reservations for June 15 – July 14 on February 15, und so weiter.

    it’s confusing, but the way I read it is you get to submit your name as a trip leader for 7 possible dates, but you get *one* of them at most. you can only do this once, and the Park website says “People applying multiple times as trip leader will have all their lottery applications canceled.”

    • Mr Half Dome - Rick Deutsch says:


      If I can only do the hike once I will explode. We may need teamwork with different “Trip leaders” named and we share the other 5 slots. Keep thinking about this. March is not that far away. I have four 4-person tent cabin dates reserved this summer.

      • Maureen L says:

        Looks to me that the person listed as leader, or the alternate leader, will have to show ID at the subdome.

        Note the further complications below — leader’s name can’t be changed!

        “Permits will only be valid if the trip leader and/or alternate specified on the permit is part of the group using the permits. The names of the trip leader and alternate may not be changed once the application is submitted, and the permits are not transferable.”

        It looks to me that the intent is only one advance permit per leader. Rick, I think you’ll need a really tight network of hiking friends who each apply to lead your group on different dates, or else gamble on the 2 days before you hike lottery. (Not so tough for us with a 4 hour drive to the Park, but what about everyone else?)

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