Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Since the 2 falls off the cables in June (1 fatal), there has been a lot of interest in using a harness and clipping to the cables. I’d like to spend a few minutes and give you my thoughts. The first photo is of a woman who is using a home-made harness. Basically, the wound a nylon cord around her waist thru a loop and on to a carabineer. Not a good idea. Here’s why. In her case, if she fell she would garrote (strangle) her waist. She is facing down and her center of gravity is asking her to fall forward. She also has oversized gloves on. And she only has 1 carabineer. She should have 2 carabineers in case she slips while being unclipped as she goes around a support pole. Plus her oversized gloves would make it difficult to open a close the beener about 70 times. Home-made harnesses may actually be more dangerous than none at all. In my book I have an archival photo of scouts going up using straps and clips. They had a box at the base that you could grab a strap from. Now look at the 2nd photo. This woman is doing it right. A real climbers harness. Support around her thighs and hips/waist. Also note her 2 carabineers. Real harnesses also have “give” in the retaining straps so it dampens the shock in case of a fall. People have been going up down the cables for 90 years without harnesses. If you feel more comfortable with a harness system – the decision is up to you. You will take forever doing the unclip/clip dance for length of the cables (70+ times twice up – then the same down).
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease.” – John Muir
*Mr. Half Dome -Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com