Last Saturday morning, 2 rockfalls occurred on the Lower Mist Trail. No one was hurt. By most measures they were small but it will take the park a few weeks to get the debris out of the way. Geologists feel that the recent heavy rain loosened the soil and gravity took over to let the boulders slide. The area that is closed is the John Muir Trail below the Panorama Trail and on the switchbacks above Clark Point. This graphic shows the area in question.
Most Half Dome hikers go up the Mist Trail and return via the JMT in order to save their knees. The 29 switchbacks are way easier and safer than going down the wet lower Mist Trail. One work around, rather than going down the Upper Mist Trail (by Nevada Fall) and then past Vernal Fall, is to go the JMT west of the Nevada Fall footbridge, and continue to Clark Point. At this spot, go right towards Nevada Fall and that spur trail will intersect with the path to the Emerald Pool and above Vernal. That’s the only way to get down. At least you skip the hard gully to the west of Liberty Cap. Use poles to steady you down the Mist Trail.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Up the Down Staircase” – 1967 film starring Sandy Dennis
MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com