Half Dome Hike: A Virgin No More

On September 15, I did the Half Dome hike with Tim B. of Los Gatos. It was his 1st time up (my 35th) Ooooo Ahhhhh. The park appeared empty on Friday and dinner at the Curry Village Buffet was very sparse.  After chowing down, we hit the sack at 9 pm. All items in the bear boxes were placed into coolers to keep the moose mice from munching. Reveille was at 0500 and we were on the trail at 0530. Dark it was and headlamps lit the way on the empty Happy Isles trail.

By the lower Mist Trail we saw a few more early bird hikers and Vernal Fall was a shadow of its self. It looked anemic and it was so thin it was hidden by the old tree that refuses to fall down. I wonder if it is on the Park’s Scenic Vista chopping block.

Vernal Fall

The lip of the fall was sad. It looked tempting to just walk across the top, but we’re not that dim.

vernal fall

As we approached the Silver Apron Bridge we met up with Dr. Chad the dentist and his 3 buddies from Iowa. Farm boys all – triathletes and strong as oxen – how does a hike both ways on Four Mile trail just 2 days earlier sound?  Not me! I used my Katadyn Vario Filter pump at the Merced in Little Yosemite Valley – the Iowans carried up to 6 quarts each. Gee, seemed easier to just pump.

The Little Spring at 5.9 miles into the hike was flowing as usual. The downed and cut up tree makes it very easy to find. I loaded up my MSR 2-quart bladder then carried it (and other heavy stuff) to the woods near Sub Dome and hid them. This gives us a tad more H2O after the return from the cables.

The line going up was kind to us at 11 am and the top was clear and crisp. After the mandatory shots on the Visor we all jammed into the rock cave.

The same one that took 2 lives in 1985 during a thunderstorm. Wegawked over the edge of the face near the surf board and looked down at 2 wall climbers coming up.


After a crowded cable descent we parted company as the fellows needed to head back towards the Fresno Airport. They ran much of the way down. Tim and I sashayed down the trail and pumped again at the Little Spring before heading to the JMT. Pizza at Curry was tasty and we enjoyed a final banana split in the last few hours before the ice cream bar closed for the season.

As we headed out of the Valley towards San Jose-by-the-sea, we decided to go the El Cap wall just off the meadow. Wow, looking straight up 3,000 feet.  

As you can see, I decided to leave my haul bags and just head up in my tennis shoes with no chalk, ropes, or aids. Tim took care of the car and I got to the top in less than an hour, but I forgot to start my watch so no records were broken.

El Cap

Driving through Mariposa, we dined at the Happy Burger and checked email. No action items came in from the Pentagon, so I guess all was well in the world. Another Half Dome season ends for me and Tim is now a true “Domer.” All hail Tissiack, keeper of the Dome. Carpe Dome.


Unrelated thought worth quoting: In seeking happiness for others, you find it for yourself.” – Anonymous

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: A Virgin No More

  1. Tim says:

    Awesome hike up Half Dome. You get a chance to go with Mr. Half Dome you have to go! Next year I will be bringing up some newbies provided the cables are open.

  2. Steve Hutton says:

    Rick congrats on your El Cap climb 1 hour that is impressive great job was that your first one? sh

  3. Kathy says:

    Congrats Tim B! Thanks, Rick, this gives me a glimpse of what my 4th will be like next week. Kathy

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