5 impacts of low snowpack on the Half Dome hike

The Sierra snowpack, as measured this week, shows about 32% of normal. This should not be a shock. We’ve been in California’s worst drought in years….like one of the worst in our recorded history for an annual precipitation. 2013 was better – and that was a very low flow year.

So what does this mean to Half Dome hikers?

Happy hikes on top of Half Dome - sans snow in 2013

Happy hikers on top of Half Dome – sans snow in 2013

Pending an unlikely spring deluge, I see: 

1. The cables will be up on time. In the high water year of 2011, they did not get installed until June 22. So the Memorial Day weekend opening should go on as planned.

2. The trails up to the rock will be dry and easily navigable in May/June.

3.  The usual snow field on the top will be long gone.

4.  Although the Merced will be flowing and will look normal in May and June, it will drop faster in the summer. If you are doing an August hike, you will be dry on the Mist Trail.

5.  Water to filter will still be available. The Merced at Little Yosemite Valley and at the “Little Spring” up top will be OK. The spring is not a snowmelt source. It comes up from underground pools. Still, treat the water as deer and other furry critters frequent this water hole.


Unrelated thought worth quoting:One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”
― John Muir

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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