Half Dome cables lottery update March 5, 2012

A lot of people jumped at entering the cables lottery on March 1. By the 3rd, close to 4500 applications were in. As you would think, they were mostly for Saturdays. The hint here is to go ahead and take a vacation day or two and go mid-week. It looks like the park is deferring to recreation.gov for implementing the lottery applications and permit distribution.

Although the actually drawings will take place in early April, the NPS is still looking at the implementation. We will probably get our “award” as an acceptance letter. This is NOT your permit. Rec.gov will instruct you to printout your actual “permit” sheet. CAUTION: Do not do this until you are really ready to go. Once the permit is printed, you cannot get a refund. If you have to cancel one of your hikers, you need to go through the rec.gov normal process for cancelling – like CALL THEM. They will reissue you a new permit PDF that will have the new number of hikers and you’ll print and take that. I’d suggest you do this while still near a printer.

Since the number in your party is set, only the Trip Leader needs to carry the paper permit. If you think the Trip leader may fall into the Merced, you can make copies. But  the Trip Leader must arrive at the same time as the party, so it’s not needed. An ID of the Trip Leader is required – not the other hikers.

Remember, the permits cannot be sold. So that means in you stumble upon a party with say, “5” on their permit, but they only have 4 going that day, you are not allowed to give the Trip Leader $5 (cost of the permit per person) and hike up with them. The park considers that “selling.” BUT they can let you come along with no money exchange. This probably won’t happen, but I don’t think you will go to Leavenworth if so. The Park is really asking people to cancel any unused permits and get your $5.00 back on your credit card. Those unused permits will go into the”2-day” advance permit pool for the mini-lottery. I plan to do the hike a couple times and think I will just bank on the 2-day advance process. Last year the actual number “showing up” was way less than  the number of permits issued. If you win a short fuse lottery, I’m assuming the code number they give you will be acceptable to the ranger at Checkpoint Charlie. It was last year.


Unrelated thought worth quoting: “You will live longer once you realize that any time spent being unhappy is wasted.” -Ruth E. Renkl 

*MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome

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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4 Responses to Half Dome cables lottery update March 5, 2012

  1. Jeremy says:

    NPS has not released drawing info yet. As of this morning my account was charged an amount that reflects the exact permit charges. I have had this happen before with hunting lottos. In my experience, it means you’ve been drawn. Still keeping my fingers crossed until I see confirmation.

    • Mr Half Dome - Rick Deutsch says:


      I guess this is good news. They charged everyone $4.50 at application time. They were not supposed to charge the $5.00 each per permit until you got the permits. If you got billed the $5 each thenyo are golden. Keep us posted.

  2. Chris O. says:

    FYI… NPS posted this initial application statistics on their website about how many applications for the Half Dome permits were submitted as of 3/4. Might be helpful for choosing which day(s) to apply for. Hopefully they will continue to update this!

    Here is the link: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyo.....tsapps.htm

    • Mr Half Dome - Rick Deutsch says:

      Good job Chris!! I had no idea they were doing this. VERY telling. Again…don’t go on a weekend!!!

      Thanks for sharing! Good link to bookmark!


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