2013 – The year to hike Half Dome – 2 tips

Half Dome beckons for 2013

A new year – a  new start. Will this be YOUR year to hike Yosemite’s Half Dome? Yes!  But some advanced planning is needed. It’s not the old decade when you could just head to the park and chug up the Mist Trail and on to the dome. Nope, we will be entering our 4th year of permits. The park will release its Half Dome Stewardship Plan soon – well, we’ve been waiting for it and waiting for it. The NPS has slipped all guesses as to when it will be out. Before the end of the year was a recent target. When it’s released it will define the process we’ll need to follow from now on. You’ll know when I know.

The park liked their alternative for 300 daily permits. 25% less than in the past. Usually in projects, the choice is the recommended alternative unless they get an overwhelming push by public comments or “higher up” to change their mind.

2012 was a very good year on Half Dome – accidents wise. Yes, there were a couple stumbles, but no fatalities. That was with 400 daily permits – I hope they keep that number.

We’ll discuss the Stewardship plan when the Environmental Assessment is released; the final step before implementation. For now, my Tip #1 is to secure your lodging. Throw a dart and pick date and book now. If you wait, you may not be able to find a place in the park later. You can always cancel with 7 days notice of your reservation. Tip #2 is to resign yourselve to a mid-week hike. Demand for weekend permits is always the highest. Improve your odds by taking 2 vacation days and shooting for mid-week. More on that when the lottery process is announced.

Bottom line: Book that bed now!

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “True courage is being afraid, and going ahead and doing your job anyhow, that’s what courage is.” – R.I.P. Norman Schwarzkopf

MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

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 2013 – The year to hike Half Dome – 2 tips

  1. Bob says:

    Rick,
    From what I read on the Reacreation.gov website the lottery begins on March 1st and goes through the 31st with the drawing in April…is that correct? And is there a link to the form to email/fax for dates requested?
    Any more information on the process as far as you know to date would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks

    • Bob et al,

      Read today’s post with the links to the newly signed off HD Stewardship Plan.

      I just got the Plan and it looks like a clone of the 2012 lottery process. 300 people on the cables. I have not found the place where you say an email/FAX is an acceptable method. Let’s all read on!

  2. Kathy says:

    The last two years I have had good luck with a Thursday or Tuesday date. Tuesday two years ago in the permit system and Thursday last year in picking up a permit in the cancellation process.

  3. Mark says:

    Here’s a question Rick…we’re heading to Yosemite in September from Ireland. We have accommodation booked, and know our dates, 5 nights, provided the permit situation is similar to last year, is it possible to apply for two dates (with different people as leader), in case it’s raining when we get there! Or is that situation one where you’d have to go for the last minute lottery?

    • Mark,

      All we can assume is that the process for 2012 will be the same for 2013. A lottery in March. So YES, another person in your group can apply for a permit for another date for the # going. They can name a different alternate. Then your odds are better. But if more than one person wins, they will be out the application fee and will need to cancel the extra permits so other hikers can get them during the “2 day advance mini-lottery.” Sept is usually a light month and rain is not normal.

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