Half Dome Permits info update

A shout out to all the new readers from my REI talks at Saratoga, San Carlos and San Francisco. Good, enthusiastic future domers. Welcome. For newbies, once I cover a subject I’m not too keen on regurgitating it. So just page back in the blog to see past topics. I also file them in the “categories” that they pertain to.  Look at the tabs above to find your choice: equipment, events, mishaps, history, park planning, etc. Static information is put into the tabs at the uppermost.

I’d like to hear from anyone who has been up in 2012. How was it? Snow field still there? How was the crowd on the cables?

I need to alert all that there is a flaw in the recreation.gov permit system. Seems the name of the Alternates are NOT being shown on the actual permit. If the named TRIP LEADER cannot go, the Alternate can take his/her place – with an ID. So the alternate is allowed to present the Ranger with the permit – but since the alternate’s name is NOT on the actual permit – we have a problem, Houston.  Click to enlarge.

Half Dome permit

My advice: 1. Do not print out the permits until you are positive everyone is going … like 3-4 days before. 2. Contact recreation.gov and cancel the unneeded permits for your $5 each refund. 3. Print out both the confirmation email (which DOES list the alternate name) and the actual permit. Copy both and give to each hiker. Then all arrive at the ranger at Sub Dome together and present your dossier. You are covered for all contingencies and in case the trip leader bails or anything happens to his/her copy of the permits.

By the way, don’t come down on the NPS – recreation.gov is a contractor company in NY state. Hint: It may be time to rebid the contract.

My new book has an error: On Pg 171 change the last word from 1871 to 1796. Sorry. Besides that If you like it, write a review comment on Amazon (you needn’t have bought it from them.) Go <here>.


Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” – John Muir

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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11 Responses to Half Dome Permits info update

  1. Fabian says:


    I just received the bad news that I was unsuccessful with my permit for this Saturday.
    Are there any other options, for example joining a group that is missing one or two hikers?


    • Yes, do that. Ask along the trail. Many will have extra unused, uncancelled permits. Be nice to them. You cannot pay them – it’s noty allowed to sell the permits.

      You will have to all arrive at the ranger at Sub Dome with their trip leader – who must have an ID. Saturday will be a bit harder than weekdays, but go for it.

      • Fabian says:

        Will try on Saturday. I anyone is reading this who is hiking Saturday early morning, please leave a message here. It’s my birthday 🙂

      • Espie says:

        Still looking for a half dome permit for my husband Randy for Wednesday, September 5th. Takes hours to get to Yosemite from where we live, so it’s not easy to be there and ask along the trail. Please let me know if you come across someone with an extra permit. Thank you, Espie

  2. Karen Cano says:

    Any one know how to print the permits once your in Yosemite? We apply for the mini lottery on Thursday to hike half dome on saturday, but leave friday am for yosemite. If we are accepted in the lottery we won’t know until Friday afternoon…Can the ranger station issue the actual permit or is there somewhere in Yosemite Valley to print the permit?

    • Karen,

      The park has been remiss is clairifying this. If you win the 2-day lottery, when you call recreation.gov or log into your account to see that you won… jot down the permit number, # of people. The Ranger at Sub Dome has a daily list of all approved permit holders.


  3. K says:

    I think that they must have fixed this. I got permits in the 4/12 lottery, but didn’t print them until 5/29 and the alternate leader is listed right under Group Size. Permit is for Monday 6/18…getting a little nervous.

    • Thanks for the update. I also will be hiking HD on the 18th…Come by Curry Buffet at 5:15 the 17th to say hi….and come to my HD talk at Le Conte Lodge (by housekeeping) at 8 pm….I’m in bed Zzzzz by 9:15….or see you on top.


  4. Andy says:

    Oversight or a good thing? If no alternate is listed can’t you make anyone the alternate? Or do they have the correct list at the Sub dome border crossing?

    • They have the list…but way better to print out the confirmation letter as well….bring with the actual permit and give copies to all in your party. All arrive together. Then no questions… and you may go thru the turnstiles.

  5. Jon says:

    I noticed the missing alternate name too and printed off the confirmation email as well. That’s a pretty big oversight, in my opinion. Yikes.

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