Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
The very first weekend of hiking to Half Dome when permits are required was this weekend. Seems all went smoothly. I got a great report from Scott P. who went up Friday and have it below. It speaks for itself. This is the kind of “community” we need – sharing. A tip of the cap to Scott for this fine field reporting.
At Happy Isles, PSAR had an information booth out by 6am (and probably earlier), making sure hikers were prepared and knew about the permit requirement. The Mist Trail was about the same as a week earlier. A poncho or other rain jacket is a good idea, mostly because the cool breeze is otherwise a little too cool between the two falls. You may want it again for the section of John Muir Trail headed down from Nevada Fall; it has its own car wash flowing in a 200′ section. Booties, gaiters, etc. are overkill IMHO.
A team of three, including Mark Marschall, I think, was waiting to collect permits/tickets at the base of the subdome. (I think this was actually a wilderness ranger, Mark the wilderness manager overseeing this whole process, and a YOSAR tech.) They were also collecting excess permits to give to people who made it that far without them, although I wouldn’t want to hike all the way to the subdome hoping that some excess permit would be waiting for me.
- Checkpoint Charlie
We were pretty late in the day, starting the cables around 2:20pm. There were still folks coming down and the normal coordination confusion passing, although it probably didn’t add more than ten minutes to the hike. It was pretty empty by Half Dome standards.
The rangers hadn’t yet tallied their counts, but thought about 300 people had passed by 2pm. Quite a few folks made it to the subdome with no permits nor supposedly having heard of the requirement. It sounded like many of them were allowed to complete the hike using excess permits from other groups. There was at least one rescue, although thankfully at the more mundane end of the scale: a hiker injured her ankle on the way down the trail below the subdome. When we passed, the subdome crew had helped her out and splinted her ankle. Shortly thereafter, we saw a YOSAR tech headed up with crutches and a full-size split. Then just below Nevada Fall, we saw a horse team headed up to help her get back down to the Valley. No idea when she finally made it home.
Later, Scott told me that the process is for the rangersto punch a hole in the permits and hand them back. They were not there when his party returned, so they are focused on the key times of 10 am to 3 pm. He said on the downward trek, he saw many ill-prepared going up – no rangers by then. He also said there was no back up at Checkpoint Charlie to continue up sub dome.
Unrelated thought worth quoting for the ladies: “Gonna walk right up to him. Give him a great big kiss. Tell him that I love him, tell him that I care, tell him that I’ll always be there. – Well what color are his eyes? I don’t know he’s always wearing shades. Is he tall? Well, I’ve got to look up. Well I hear he’s bad. Hmm, he’s good, bad, but he’s not evil” – The Shangri La’s
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com