Half Dome permit winners being notified today

Half Dome cables pre-permit days.

Recreation.gov is beginning to award permits to hike half dome today. Mr Half Dome won!!  Funny, the notice says permits are $5.00 each – not the $8 advertised. In addition, they include a lot of cautions:

  • Rock is dangerously slippery during and after rain: the Half Dome cables and Sub Dome steps become much more difficult to ascend and descend.
  • Exposure to lightning increases once you are above the base of Sub Dome.
  • Lightning or wet rock can cause a fatal fall from either the Half Dome cables or Sub Dome steps.
  • Hiking time on the exposed section of trail (above the base of Sub Dome) will be at least 2-3 hours. Weather can change drastically in that time, and changes are impossible to predict.
  • Deciding to proceed and turn around if the weather “turns bad” is not a good strategy. If you wait until it is raining to turn around, you have waited too long and could have a dangerous descent in rain and/or lightning.
  • You are responsible for your own risk assessment and actions.

Let us know if you got one.



Unrelated thought worth quoting: “You win some, you lose some, some get rained out, but you have to suit up for all of them.” – A wise old man

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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25 Responses to Half Dome permit winners being notified today

  1. Bill Mahan says:

    I applied for May 28, 29, and 30. Did not get any of them. I was only a 1-person group. I guess the odds of getting a single permit in a party of 1 is the same as others. But I sure wish I had received one. I did my first hike up in 1993 and wanted to repeat 20 years later. I guess not this year. Although I will try to enter the daily lotteries. Wish me luck!!

    • Bill – Early season was in HIGH demand…it was Lottery and your name may have never been drawn. Just like a state lotto – many come but few are chosen.

      Do the hike anyway. Ask along the trail. You can get to Sub Dome then ask big time if anyone had a cancellation. It happens. Still a great hike.


    • michael says:

      I climed half dome for free back in 1990-1993. WOW it sure is an amazing view from the top but the calbes and steps can be tricky as people are both comming down and going up on the same path. Maybe since now they are charging they can put an additional set for traffic.

      • Michael,

        Things have changed. My first HD was in 1990. Due to HUGE crowds we now have permit system, 225 daily hikers. NO WAY a new cable would be put up in a National Park. It’s pleasant with the smaller crowds due to permits.


  2. Mark says:

    Successful for 24 September! Can’t wait, start preparations in May as it’s quite flat around here, north west Ireland! 2000 foot 3hr hike is near enough which will be the max elevation I can get. Going to do sets on the mountain right behind us…almost 900ft.

    • Dean says:

      That hike sounds fine for training…most difficult thing for me (I’m from Scotland) is the heat, though it might be a bit cooler 24 Sept. Take plenty water/energy drinks & sunscreen.

      I think of it as 4 smaller hikes…up to top Vernal, up to top of Nevada, then after a relaxing stroll through Little Yosemite Valley the toughest section, through the forest and up to sub dome. Then the final stretch, the cables.

      Good luck and enjoy, there’s nothing quite like it.

    • Mark,

      The hiking elevation at Half Dome is 4,737 feet (you can do the math on meters). Do your hill over and over and then 10 more times. Really, it’s that hard. 7 miles to get to the cables. Use Hiking poles…..the down is harder on your knees.

  3. marcos says:

    Dear Valued Recreation.gov Visitor,

    Email notifications for our 2013 Pre-Season Cables on Half Dome lottery process were delivered prematurely and prior to completion of the verification process. In addition, your notice also contained inaccurate policy and fee information. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused.

    Updated notifications, including accurate and current policy, additional permit validation terms and conditions and fee information, will be sent out on Monday, April 15, 2013. Until then you will not be able to check your lottery status or make adjustments to your account on Recreation.gov or through the call center.

    We appreciate your patience and suggest you check your Recreation.gov account on April 15, 2013, for the final notification of your lottery application. At that time all successful applicants will be able to accept and complete the validation process for their permit and make adjustments to their account.

    Thank you,


  4. Dean says:

    I got one but like others my plans have changed since March and we are arriving a week later…I’ll be throwing my permit into the pot and having a go at the 2 day lottery.

    Rick I missed your webinair…if you win a daily lottery does it have to be printed out or can it reside on your phone/tablet device?

    To be honest I’m just happy to be coming back, can’t wait, will be our 4th visit…I have my eye on a single day hike mashup – up 4 Mile Trail then back down Panorama. Hopefully a trip to Glen Aulin too…roll on August!

  5. John M says:

    Got a permit for 2 on 8/22. I noticed that one of the previous blogs showed that Thursdays had less demand, so chose seven Thursdays throughout July & August. The last alternate date is the one awarded! Looking forward to my second Half Dome trip since July 2011.

  6. marcos says:

    Doubled down on luck this season, got 2 nights at Merced Lake for the full moon in July, am hiking straight up 14 miles from the valley for that. Hoping to head up past Washburn Lake to the confluence of the forks during the full day up at Merced Lake.

    The second morning as early as I can get breakfast down, I’ll head back to the valley with a detour to exercise the Half Dome permit that I won in the lottery this morning.

    I’m probably going to climb up to the high trail back from Echo Valley and traverse Moraine Dome to connect with Half Dome just to mix things up and try something new as I’ve done Little Yosemite Valley twice out and back now.

    I’ll probably see 7 or so miles of moderate/easy hiking before the cut off to Half Dome, having climbed the waterfalls days earlier, I should not be exhausted.

    Last year I made it from Happy Isles to the top of Nevada in about 80 min on the way to an afternoon drinking in the Sierran splendors around Bunnell Cascade. This year I’m looking forward to the same distance of a day hike with support to further at the HSC.

    If that final 200′ scramble up and down the dome atop of which sits Lone Boulder off trail in Tenaya Canyon the day before the Bunnell Hike last year is any guide, this is going to be a taxing climb. And that was down around 7750′. Here’s that:


    Gonna need lots of ibuprofen and such for this.

  7. Art P. says:

    Couple of my friends didn’t win. Does it matter if the alternate person on one application, submitted a second application as the primary? Both primary and alternate have same address. I’m thinking that might be why they didn’t get win a weekday permit.

  8. Kyle says:

    Success two years in a row now! I applied once as trip leader for 6 permits on August 19th, I did not select any other dates. I credit the success on analyzing the statistics from the previous years of the permit system. (Thanks Mr. Half Dome for the Graphs) This really increases your chances because you can see how many people applied for each date and month, I just selected a date that had the fewest.

  9. Nate S says:

    Looks like we struck out.

    We applied for 2 permits in the following order of preference:
    Tues. June 18
    Mon. June 17
    Wed. June 19
    Thurs. June 20
    Tues. Aug. 20
    Mon. Aug. 19
    Wed. Aug. 21

    I applied once with me as the trip leader and my wife as the alternate. She applied with her as the trip leader and me as the alternate.

    I thought we had a good chance, but it looks like we beat the odds and got zero.

    You win some, you lose some. . .

  10. Maureen L says:

    I didn’t get one for weekdays last week of June.

    teaching summer session takes me out of action for July and 1 st half of August, and I really can’t skip out for a few weekdays to hike once fall semester starts.

    sigh. I’m a long-range planning type, and not willing to wing it on the 2 day lottery or along the trail.

    Curry Village won’t be any fun that week, and it’s a long drive from the Valley to the delights of hikes off Tioga Road.

    • Yeah…5,000 applications for 225 permits on June Saturdays….. you had a 4.5% chance of getting one. Just go anyway and ask along the trail….odds better than 4.5% :>)

      • From my facebook, man said:

        Just spoke with recreation.gov rep. “Due to a glitch in the process, some were notified, but maybe not all, so please call back after the 15th…when we intended to notify everyone.” If you received notice, it is valid…if you did not, keep your fingers crossed!

  11. Robet Horton says:

    I was successful for July 8th but my itinerary has changed since I applied. Is it possible to transfer permits?

    • Nope….you are hosed and out of the $4.50 application fee.

      Either the Trip leader or the Alternate has to be on the hike THAT day. Sorry. No transfers. If you really can’t go, you need to cancel and get back your $8 per permit you were charged. Then the cancelled permits can go back into the 2-day mini lottery. But then you could enter the mini lottery for your new date – good luck.


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