Half Dome in 2 days – Fagettaboudit

.Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

Get or Give permits <HERE> Seeing a lot of requests – make someone happy!

     At 10 am Sunday morning12 Dome virgins and I left the North Pines backpacker lot for our 2 day ascent of Half Dome. Hauling 35+ pound packs (mine weighed 43) up 2,000 feet to Little Yosemite Valley was no picnic. Cramps, dehydration, and low stamina added up to an arrival at the camp at 7 pm. OK, that’s 9 hours. We did have 3 youngsters but they were actually no problem. Getting in that late afforded little time to set up tents and cook dinner. The next goal was to get up to Half Dome ahead of the expected rush of day hikers. So we planned for 7 am – which became 8 am in reality. The hike up moved along better since we carried only fanny packs or light daypacks. This day we stayed together to minimize issues. The stop for water at the Little Spring was like being in an oasis. We encountered the smiling face of Ranger Jesse at Sub Dome. Permits were checked. The hiking public apparently got confused if permits were needed on this weekday – even though the 4th was the holiday and was Sunday. No kidding – I saw 2 people above us. When we got to the cables, I counted 14.

Whoa! What is going on? Where is everybody? Our crew almost doubled the load and thankfully everyone could go at their own pace. I could not believe that at noon on a summer day the route up was not much busier than when John Muir went up the rope in 1875. The sparse crowd up top numbered no more than 30 people! Scary – like the Twilight Zone. After 2 hours of exploring we headed down the cables. I stepped on a short cut off pipe about 2 inches high and my ankle bent outward as I gasped in pain. Oh no – a sprain. It would  have been worse if I didn’t have on my high top boots. I then had to limp down with most of my weight on my left foot. It was a long sliding, slipping descent. Here I was, trying to help people on the cables and it was me who was wincing. A stranger, Daniel, had bought my book and cam  over offer me an ankle wrap he had – nice. Daniel – the brace was a medium (too small) but send me a note for a free T-Shirt. Good man! As the day wore on we heard via GMRS radios that one guy who was ill and did not leave camp took a turn downward in his vital signs and the LYV Rangers called in a helicopter to get him to the medical clinic for some oxygen and an IV. We could hear the chopper about 4 pm. All made it back to camp by 6 pm. On Tuesday I had to leave LYV at 7 am for a noon meeting with our Sonora bureau – I was down by 9 on a bum ankle and 43 pounds pounding on it. I heard today that the rest of the group hit the trail at noon and got back to Curry at 8. Whew. But we all had a great time (I think). Bottom line – don’t bother with the 2-day version of the Half Dome hike. Any gain we hoped for by taking 2 days was negated by the stress of hauling our life support system up 2,000 feet. Do it in 12 hours, be minimalist and be done with it.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.” – Satchel Paige

*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

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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0 Responses to Half Dome in 2 days – Fagettaboudit

  1. HK says:

    Regarding your ankle, if it can happen to you, it can happen to any one of us! Nature reminds us of our place every so often.

    Just wanted to report that I made the hike on Tues, and since it was the first non-permit day after the busiest weekend, the hike was definitely crowded. Between 11am to 3pm, the average time up the cable was an hour. A line did not form at the base of the cables, but overly cautious hikers who insist on having both sides of the cables to assist them would hold up the line 10-15 minutes at a time. Link below is to a short blog of my hike.
    http://ferrum.multiply.com/journal/item/28

  2. kathy says:

    Rick,
    I am glad I don’t have to learn by experience about doing HD has a two day trip – I’m not going there! Are you going to say something about Little Yosemite Valley just as a campground in general? Is there any reason someone would want to stay there connected to just a backpacking trip without HD as the goal.

    • John Lauer says:

      Yes, Little Yosemite Valley is beautiful in it`s own right. Many camp there who have no intention of climbing HD. You can use it as a stopping point for other hikes such as Cloud`s Rest, also. And… if you want to see bears in the Yosemite wilderness, this is your best bet.

    • mrhalfdome says:

      LYV wa actually pretty nice and quiet. The river is nearby and the outhouse is a 4 seater! The Ranger staon is close. But really it is not a destinatoin. A good spot to stay for Half Dome,Cloud’s Rest, Merced Canyon or Glacier Point hikes. I could also see it as a base camp for a trek up to the Diving Board or Liberty Cap.

      That said, the haul up 2,000 feet was no picnic.

  3. andy says:

    Well, it looks like the permit system is doing its job?

    Keeping people off the mountain is what they want anyway.

  4. Sönke says:

    Yes, it’s mostly downhill. And Panorama Trail is really beautiful. I’ve heard that Illilouette Fall is/spectacular this year and there are a couple of really nice places for resting (cooling your feet in the cold water). But I prefer Panorama Trail as a dayhike and not as part of a 2 day HD approach. As long as one is not a real backpacker I see no reason why HD can’t be done in a day. So I share Mr. HD’s and Dean’s opinion: one day or stay in the valley and have an icecream. 😉

    On a sidenote: Sentinel Dome webcam is back alive. 🙂

    • John Lauer says:

      Tioga Pass webcam is still DOA. Wish they would at least post a digital camera pic that is current. Displaying the latest image as an image nearly a year old is low class.

      • Sönke says:

        Well, “they” have taken the Tioga Pass webcam from the website altogether. We have to remember that the webcam is operated by the YA (or by the YC in the future). So I take it as a goodie and I expect nothing. I don’t know who’s responsible for the powerline that provides power for the webcam (apparently this is the reason why the cam is down).

  5. Dean says:

    I never liked the thought of the 2 day version…though a variation I have seen is to drive up to Glacier Point and hump the Panorama Trail to LYV which I assume is mostly downhill???…

    Not for me…it’s up and down in 1 day or not at all…

    • John Lauer says:

      Panorama Trail is mildly downhill near Glacier Point, then somewhat steeper and rockier the mile before Iloette Falls. After the Falls, there is some uphill slope, but it is mild. I`ve actually seen many people turn back before they ever get to the Falls, because they realize the hike back will be a workout. The woods are very pretty by Glacier Point.

  6. John Lauer says:

    What happened with the bear? Why was there a pipe sticking out of the ground?

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