More on George Anderson

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

    A lot of historical information about the park is found in archival copies of the monthly known as Yosemite Nature Notes. It ran from 1922 thru 1961 but then went defunct. It surfaced in 1985 as a quarterly called The Yosemite. Although now that I think about it, it’s been a while since I’ve gotten one. It’s put out for Yosemite Association members. Maybe it got lost in the Yosemite Conservancy shuffle.  Today the name Yosemite Nature Notes is used for videos describing park phenomena such as frazil ice. That one has been mailed to me by about a dozen people who know I’m a Yosemite fan. The source for tonight comes from one of thoseold YNN  issues.

     Anyway, I’m here today to continue some stories about George Anderson

     After he got up Half Dome he began hauling people up to the top. A small group of British Tourists were first. In November of 1875 both he and John Muir summitted.  George worked in the park and in 1881 he got a contract to build what we know today as the Mist Trail. The Mariposa Gazette wrote a short article about it. He unsuccessfully asked for more state funds when he wasn’t finished in the agreed time. He continued on with his own money and reached the Vernal Fall wall.  Poor George died on May 8, 1884 after he got pneumonia. He’s buried under a humble rock in the Yosemite Cemetery.

     Since this is OUR Park, let’s do something to get George Anderson the notoriety he deserves. Who’s with me?

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Camping:  The art of getting closer to nature while getting farther away from the nearest cold beverage, hot shower and flush toilet.” – A wise old man

*MrHalfDome – 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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0 Responses to More on George Anderson

  1. Kathy says:

    I am for getting the Man the credit he deserves.

  2. Maureen Lahiff says:

    Perhaps an historical sign could be added about Anderson and the first folks to go up his ropes near the “entering Yosemite Wilderness” and the grand sign with all 211 miles of the JMT (John Muir Trail) that’s right after crossing the bridge at Happy Isles..

    I’d be happy to see Sally Dutcher’s name on it, too! She was one of the first to go up after Anderson put in the ropes.

    Something in the Visitor’s Center or the Happy Isles Nature Center could also be proposed, but since the vast majority of those going to Half Dome go up the Mist Trail, a sign just after crossing the bridge over the river seems like it would reach those who would like to hear the story and see some old photos.

    It is the sort of thing YC funds, “cultural and historic” being a tag line on their “our work” link.

  3. Norman S says:

    When Anderson’s trail at Happy Isles was built, as an alternative to Snow’s horse trail on the south side of the Merced, it was intended to avoid the perils and discomfort of the spray from Vernal Fall. It never fulfilled that mission and his legacy may’ve suffered as a result.

    But when the Valley Commissioners authorized the Register Rock Bridge connecting his trail with the south side of the river, those traveling the lower section of the Lower Mist on the north side of the Merced, it offered the opportunity for visitors to gain access to Vernal Fall without sharing a corridor with horses and mules. In 1882, many expected this portion of the trail would be named after Anderson. Perhaps it still can and should be.

    Norman S
    2/22/11

  4. Dean says:

    I recall pausing on my first Half Dome hike, part way up the cables, at about the steepest section – I was feeling the exposure a bit. It was quiet that day and the folk who were in front of me had disappeared from view while there was nobody on the cables below – other than a few folk milling about on the sub-dome far below, I was alone.

    There was a very slight breeze and I felt a little drained by the experience. I remember looking to my left out across Little Yosemite Valley, then to my right over the edge of Half Dome’s north face. I could see the curvature of the rock which seems to be angled perfectly to deliver you into one of the valleys below.

    I recall thinking it was typical that a Scotsman should be the one to come up with an adventure such as this.

    Thinking back it’s worth remembering that I was protected by steel cables, stabilised by a wooden slat, and was wearing space age materials on my feet.

    What it must have been like for George with his old tools, eyebolts and his rope (I imagine a frayed old bit of rope, knotted together), his feet covered in pine needles for a little extra grip…I wonder what went through his mind as he clung to the granite a hundred feet or so from his goal?

    How about renaming the sub dome? Anderson’s Rest?
    Or the trail from Little Yosemite Valley campgrounds – George Anderson Trail?

  5. Kathy says:

    What’s your proposition for making it happen?

    • mrhalfdome says:

      I’m tryig to gauge response. So far we are up to 2. If there is no interest in our “community” – the couple hundred people who are “into” HD, then I’m not going to swim upstream.

      I know some rangers there and might be able to present a “petition” (if that is what’s needed) to get YC to erect an interpretive sign or such in OUR park. But oooo ahhhhh, it’s in the sacred Wilderness. YC doles out the money in the summer and projects have to be sponsored by an NPS group. Why? Seems if we are members, WE can submit. Hmmmm There is already an idea to have Anderson’s “holes” made a national historic registry item. Perhaps this could be piggy backed. Lots of issues, but the wilderness starts above Nevada Fall so at least a sign on the Mist trail or higher. If there is support here, I can poke around at the Spring Forum.

      Hello – anybody out there??

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