Half Dome – Yosemite Musings
I have gotten some inquires as to the age requirement for kids on Half Dome. There are NO rules on the Half Dome hike other than – you can’t camp on top and you need a permit for Fri, Sat, Sun and Holidays. Of course you cannot do anything normally viewed as improper, but you are free to hike the dome any time of year and hour. The trail gates at Mist and Clark’s Point must be open. Also, there is no ranger or authority figure to “assess & approve” your ability to make it up the cables. Checkpoint Charlie rangers will only ask for your permit. Nor is there an age limit. True American freedom at work! As far as the youngest age, my informal survey of kids on the dome … i.e. “How old are you?”…yields an unscientific “10” as the bottom age. I have seen a 7-yr old girl with her dad on sub dome, but I was going down and don’t know if she made it.
And I met Shane O. of Benicia who did the hike when he was 7. I really feel that 12 is the reasonable lower age. Kids are not small adults and they have their own issues … the length of the hike, (training), water, strength, shoes, etc. They need ankle-high boots as well. The cable route up has been there since 1919 and is very smooth. Tennis shoes are a dumb idea. Tight gloves are a good idea. Only you know your kids and their ability. It is a great accomplishment and helps them set a goal and enjoy reaching it. But they are YOUR kids, use prudence.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “There is a house in New Orleans, they call the Rising Sun. And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy, and God I know I’m one.” – The Animals
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com