I’ve read through Yosemite’s new 2013 and beyond procedure for attaining permits. If you recall that in the past they made 400 permits available but only 300 of those were for day hikers. Now they will release 225 permits for day hikers and 75 for backpackers. The good part of all this is that except for weekends, last year the daily count was just over 200 per day. Yes, about 100 people who were covered by a permit did not show up. The park has said that they will manage the Half Dome hike to attain a 300 person daily level.
Whereas in the past they just noted the numbers, now they will actually readjust the number of permits issued via the 2-day advance permit process and give out more permits than the 50 they are starting with.
While your odds are pretty low for getting a June weekend permit, as the summer goes on, you’ll have much better odds. The fly in the ointment is where to stay. A good strategy is to pick a weekday in July, August or Sept and get a tent cabin or whatever you like. Then try for the 2-day lottery.
On page 3 of the FONSI it says: “Half Dome permits will be transferrable, except for the trip leaders’ permit. Trip leaders (and alternate) are designated at the time of permit application.” This year the permits for all but the Trip Leader and Alternate are transferable, so it sounds like you could do the hike anyway and ask along the trail if anyone had a cancellation, then go up with them. I interpret this as you could be part of that group if they had a last minute cancellation and the slot was not refunded.
The park’s website explains the process. Another major change regards commercial guided hikes. I looks like individuals would have to get their own permits, then seek a guide service. The service would have to document why it is a scenic or educational trip under strict guidelines. Then only 30 per day would be allowed if educational and 15 per day if scenic.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Never use a big word when a little filthy one will do.” – Johnny Carson
MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com