Half Dome Hike to Reach Aliens Listening, Listening

Today we feature a guest blog by Andy P. also of San Jose-by-the-sea. Andy’s a regular blog reader, advisor, commenter and a Half Dome lover. I think it’s fun for readers to experience the hike through another’s eyes. He did it June 27 with 2 others and enjoyed a stellar day.

“We were on the trail by 6:15 am. We grunted up the Mist Trail and enjoyed Vernal Fall without having to poncho up. It still looks amazing even running at a lower rate. A quick stop at Vernal Fall and then pretty much humped it all the way to the Little Spring to pump water and eat a little. 

The check point was next and my friend proudly displayed his rare and precious permit. We were off up the Sub Dome. When we arrived at 10:15 there were only about 4 people on the cables. After taking a short break at the base of the cables we headed on up. Once on top we just hung out for a couple hours and watched people come on up. My friend set up his ham radio set up to make contact with alien beings I guess. It was pretty entertaining watching people trying to figure out what this guy was doing.  

Marty and son Peter trying to make contact on Half Dome

By the time we headed down the cables were a little more crowded. I think it took longer to get down than go up. After making a stop at the Little Spring again we made our way back via the Mist Trail.  It was a beautiful day with perfect weather. It just never gets old.  

A few observations:  

1) The restrooms at the Happy Isle trailhead were embarrassingly dirty. C’mon Park Service, the world comes to this trailhead. It’s not that hard.  

2) The Rangers at Checkpoint Charlie were “questioning” hikers who were coming down the Sub Dome early. Someone said they were issuing tickets if people didn’t have a permit. I’m not sure how they can do that since they have no proof they went up via the Sub Dome.  

3) Pizza and beer at the Yosemite View Lodge is the only way to go after this hike.”

Editor notes:  1. The only way to get up and down Sub Dome is by passing the Ranger. True, you could dangerously scramble around, but if caught you will get no breaks. Remember, they are sworn law enforcement officers….with guns!  2. I can’t imagine why Marty would haul up his heavy antenna and radio gear. Seems you could have just driven to Glacier Point and walked up Sentinel Dome. 3. No aliens were contacted nor  hurt during this hike, but keep watching the skies.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Is There Anybody Out There?” – Pink Floyd

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 Hike to Reach Aliens Listening, Listening

  1. Norm says:

    Last month,I asked the Ranger at Sub Dome about current policy if you’re caught without a permit. The fine is $175.

  2. Maureen L says:

    Coming down Subdome early? The rangers want to be sure you didn’t go up Subdome without a permit before they arrived on duty. (I think they commute on foot from Little Yosemite Valley.) If you’re not carrying a full set of technical climbing gear, then the inference that you went up via Subdome is a pretty sure bet. Most people who climb the face are not Alex Honnold. Him, you can still know by his shoes! And I hope he wears a helmet.

    Rick, you had a posting about this the first year permits were required. I think the dude had gone up at the crack of dawn, but got in trouble for not having a permit even though no one else was on the cables.

    I’m considerably older than this team, but I’d recommend snacking way before the Little Spring!

    Pizza and beer at Curry Village is pretty fine too, if you’re fortunate enough to be staying in the park rather than outside of it.

    • Yes, I was told -2nd hand- that in 2010, a person coming down about 8 am was asked for his permit. He had none, so the Ranger called in on his radio the man’s info. The hiker asked what would happen and the ranger said the info would be stored and if the hiker broke other rules, the Half Dome incident could play a part of any action. Remember, the rangers at Sub Dome are law enforcement. The fines for disobeying an officer can run to $5,000 and jail time. They are not there to bust anyone’s chops; they are there to make for a safe hike. The process only allows 400 per day and that is what they are trying to do.

      Agree – if climbers come up the face or Snake Dike, they will have ropes, helmets, & a string of support equipment.

      The Rangers who monitor HD do stay at LYV.

      I’m NOT affiliated with Yosemite or the NPS – contact the park if you need clarification of the rules.


  3. Martin Nile says:

    The ham radio on Half Dome is part of “Summits on the Air”. (www.sota.org.uk) This is activity where amateur radio operators take their gear to the top of specific peaks and attempt to make contact. Climbers get points for activating a summit. Those who make contact with the summit get points for “chasing” the summit. This is fairly new in the US, but is quite popular in Europe.

    This is the second time that half dome has been activated for SOTA. Sentinel Dome isn’t included in the SOTA list of summits even though it is about a hundred times easier to get to, but that isn’t necessarily the point.

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