John Muir on Half Dome

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing


     John Muir, the great naturalist who we love, was reportedly the 9th person up Half Dome. He scrambled up George Anderson’s rope in November 1875. In his writings he described his trip to the summit. As we enter the era of everyday permits it’s fun to reflect on what he envisioned for the monolith. After Anderson’s ascent George intended to charge tolls to get up and to actually build a wooden staircase. In those days “South Dome” was the popular name. Read Muir’s words: 

     “I have always discouraged as much as possible every project for laddering the South Dome, believing it would be a fine thing to keep this garden untrodden. Now the pines will be carved with the initials of Smith and Jones, and the gardens strewn with tin cans and bottles, but the winter gales will blow most of this rubbish away, and avalanches may strip off the ladders; and then it is some satisfaction to feel assured that no lazy person will ever trample these gardens. When a mountain is climbed it is said to be conquered — as well say a man is conquered when a fly lights on his head. Blue jays have trodden the Dome many a day; so have beetles and chipmunks, and Tissiack will hardly be more conquered, now that man is added to her list of visitors. His louder scream and heavier scrambling will not stir a line of her countenance…”   

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “I wish Google Maps had an “Avoid Ghetto” routing option.” – A wise old man

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch –

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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