Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Get or Give Half Dome permits<HERE>
As sad as it may be, there are only 13 more “permit required” days left to hike Half Dome. This is Ranger Jesse, diligently manning the permit examination station at the base of sub dome.
He’s been a regular there, along with an occasional volunteer. He keeps a clipboard to record the number of people who arrive to hike up the cables. The rule is you need a permit on your person in order to proceed and thus to go up the cables. You don’t have to actually go up them if you just want to hang out on the saddle or if you decide against the task of pulling up 425 vertical feet.
The permit system is being viewed as a success. On permit days there are only on the order of 200 showing up to do the hike. The bulk – about 50 arrive between 11 and 12. With 12-1 the next popular arrival time. For those that have permits, having one is heaven. However, if you attempt to go up to the 8842 foot peak on a weekday, be prepared for several hundred of your closest friends joining you. The winds are signaling a high probability that we will be facing permits every day in 2011. Keep in mind that no one has fallen off the big guy this year. We shall see. I suspect the NPS will analyze all the data and discuss the direction for 2011.
Please remember that the permit process for 2010 and 2011 is an interim superintendent directive. The Planning office is developing alternatives for the Half Dome Stewardship Plan that is due to be signed off and in place November 2011. At that time the on-going process for access to the Half Dome trail and the cables will be cast in stone. An environmental assessment will determine a long-term management strategy for Half Dome that addresses not only safety but also visitor experience, preservation of wilderness character, and resource protection. I’ve checked the website for the project and nothing has been added since the end of the scoping period in July. We should be in the Alternative development phase now. Keep in touch – as I find anything out I’ll let you know.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “A pedestrian is someone who thought there were a couple of gallons left in the tank.” – Author Unknown
*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com