How to get up the cables

CIMG8868CIMG8870Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

Most people you see going up Half Dome’s cables use both hands on the left and right cables. I’d bet 97% do. I don’t think this is the best way. Why? Well, think about what primary muscles you are using. The pectorals. Not the largest ones in the body. As much as you should use your legs, the steep slope makes it tough. Try my method. As shown in the shots above, I get on the right side of the cables, crouch down like Groucho Marx and put my feet flat on the rock at about a 45-degree angle. This gives me maximum boot-to-rock contact. Then with my bicycle gloves, I kinda of “rappel” up the rock. Reaching with my uphill arm, then following with a pull up with my downhill arm. Over and over. The advantage is that you are now using your bigger muscles– the back, lats, shoulder and arms. If you get there early enough, you can scoot right up. Even if it is crowded, you can still use this method. Tomorrow we talk about going down.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Pretty woman, won’t you pardon me. Pretty woman, I couldn’t help see – Pretty woman, That you look lovely as can be; Are you lonely just like me?” – Roy Orbison*

Mr. Half Dome -Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

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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2 Responses to How to get up the cables

  1. mrhalfdome says:

    Yes, there are a couple of slack cable areas. Just reach down and grab the slack one, then pull it tight and continue. I keep my feet as flat as I can (you feel more comfortable on your toes, but lose friction through less surface contact area). The steps are no big deal. just grunt and push up and over. Pull on the cable like a rope.

    The cables are slack because they are not one continuous run of over 600 feet. They are in sections. One is anchored in and is replaced by a fresh run. This occurs about 3 times.

    Rick D
    MrHalfDome@gmail.com

  2. Dean says:

    I was thinking about a 1 cable technique but my memory of 2007 was that the cables were possibly a bit too slack?

    One thing I do remember is the step, about 2/3rds or 3/4s way up the cables. I found this particularly tricky as there was a risk of not getting enough shoe/ friction on the rock…any tips for ascending this step…maybe it’s easier with your 1 cable technique?

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