Half Dome Trip Report 7/7/12

Upon arriving at the park I was surprised how light traffic was on Friday. Although signs warned of delays at the park, there was none at the Arch Rock entrance. I later heard that last weekend was a zoo with up to 2-hour waits just to get into the park.

Curry Village tent cabins were mellow and while I insisted that my hiking mates be on time for dinner at the Curry Village Buffett, we had no trouble getting in. Usually, on a Friday night, there are lines out the door at 5:30. Oh, dinner is now over $18 each with tax – yikes . . .but I like to fill ‘er up there and drink about 5 glasses of Cranberry juice.

I sleep with earplugs in the refugee camp, er, Curry Tent cabins and did not hear my phone alarm go off at 0500. My pals did but they did not get up. So we were pretty late hitting the trail – like 6:20 am because they insisted on getting coffee. The access road and Merced River bank route was empty. Even on the hike to the Vernal Fall Footbridge, it was almost deserted. Boy, this is weird. Permits’ are holding the crowd down. Vernal and Nevada Fall were both running good. Considering the low snowpack, I was surprised to see them flowing at all.

300 ft Vernal Fall

After pumping water in at Little Yosemite Valley, then again at the Little Spring (with the new look thanks to a tree that dropped on it), we continue to the Sub Dome. This is the first time I have ever seen a person camping at the flats at Sub Dome.

Camping at Sub Dome? Hmmmm

The Ranger said it was OK, even though the sign at LYV reads “No camping above 7600 ft.” He said the Supervisors Compendium has been changed but not the sign. Huh? This is not very good communication.

The climb up was cables was pleasant and the crowd up top was thin.

Half Dome cables and my right knee

On the way back to the valley, I met some folks from Georgia who were totally out of water without a filter. I gave them a quart to hike back with me to the Little Spring, then pumped about 1.5 gallons for all 4 of them. They had about 10 little 10 oz bottles. Sigh

The sun got brutal at about 3 pm. A very hot afternoon. My mates had enough and we opted for the shorter Mist Trail down vs the gentler but longer John Muir Trail. It was a solid 12-hour day capped off by a large pepperoni pizza at Curry.

That night at about 3 am I got my usually hamstring cramp. I have no clue why that always happens. I worked the hams pretty hard in training but the 2 minutes of sheer pain gradually subsided and I slept until  8.

I’ll have more info on news I picked up this week. I saw a lot of friends and will post pix. My next one up is August 22. Holler if you will be there. August is Thunderstorm month, so be careful – hike early and be heading down about noon.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: It’s amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper. – Jerry Seinfeld

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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10 Responses to Half Dome Trip Report 7/7/12

  1. Rick,

    Thanks for stopping by our Half Dome Hiking Trip summary at http://www.escapetraveler.com. Keep in touch and read some more of our other trip/article in the future. Also, many thanks for the tips on how to get down the cables, it was an awesome advice. Read your comments above and yes we hide 2 quarts of water in the forest as well, to lighten up our bags! Yes, with Education, Preparation, and Motivation, anyone can do Half-Dome (ofcourse many people didn’t do the 1st two!).

    • Thanks for the note. Glad you also promote WATER. Too many should go shopping instead of hiking Half Dome. Nitrile coated garden gloves are best for the cables…dunno if you saw mine.

      To other readers – they did the hike the same day I did on July 7. Gorgeous day.

      Carpe Diem,
      “The old man”

  2. Jeff Mathews says:

    Greetings Rick: It’s Jeff. We met Sunday morning in Curry Village. I was the guy who suffered an ankle sprain Saturday night walking back from the Ahwahnee. Thanks to ice, Advil, and expert ankle taping (my hiking partner is a basketball coach, we hit the trail for LYV on Monday morning as scheduled. We set up camp at LYV Monday afternoon. We left LYV at 0330 Tuesday and summited at 0545. Enjoyed a hot cup of coffee and watched the sunrise! An amazing experience. I highly recommend that my hiking friends carry along a little athletic tape in their first aid kit and learn how to tape an ankle.

    By the way, be careful on the trail to Curry Village from the Ahwahnee-so much to see that it is easy not to watch your step and nearly ruin a trip that had been planned for 5 months.

    “The mountains are callying and I must go” – John Muir

  3. Kelley W. says:

    Hi Rick, the Wrights from Morgan Hill here. We met you on top of Half Dome on Saturday afternoon and you were kind enough to chat with us about features of Yosemite and other hikes. I am looking forward to checking out the revised edition of your book. We have the first one and it definitely helped us with not just this hike, but hiking in general.

    • Hi Kelley! It was a great day for a hike. But it sure did get HOT about 3 pm. Congrats on the hike! Thanks for the kind words. Give me a few minutes, I’m posting pix of all the HD lovers on tonight’s blog.

      Let’s do El Toro!!

  4. Maureen L says:

    You were on the trail before the shuttlebuses started running, so maybe that’s why the trail to Vernal Fall was a delight.

    I’ve never seen the Merced River stop flowing completely. In the photo, you can “see through” Vernal Fall and notice it’s a couple of separate streams. I wonder what it will look like in September!

  5. Janice says:

    Hello !! It’s me, Janice, from the picture above. I have to say that Rick totally saved the day with me and my family. We actually thought that we had enough water but ran out coming down from Half Dome. I have never been so thirsty and so grateful to anyone in my life. I do not think that we would have made it out of there on foot if it wasn’t for Rick. I think that he saw the desperation on my face coming down. It took us 14 hours from start to finish and as I am sitting here in my bed, my body is screaming. But, I have to say that it was a thrill of a life time.
    Hats off to Rick, you are the best ever and I advise reading his book before you go hiking up there (I didn’t and look what happened). Take care…..

    • Janice,

      You guys were a hoot. When you asked on Sub Dome where the next water was – I KNEW you were in trouble. I was glad to share and get you down safely. I hide 2 quarts in the forest before Sub Dome to make sure I have enough to get back to the Little Spring. Heat stroke is no fun and Giardia isn’t either. I hope to see you up Half Dome next year. Anyone can do this hike with Education, Preparation and Motivation. You guys are welcome back – but bring a filter next time and real hiking bottles.

      Congrats on doing the hike – it is a monster! But worth it. A goal attained! Thanks for the feedback.

      Carpe Diem,

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