Winter in full force at Yosemite | Hwy 120 closed inside the Park

The storms just keep rolling in at Yosemite. This week was a damaging one. Highway 120 – aka the Big Oak Flat road is closed below Crane Flat to the Big Meadow view area at the Foresta turnoff.  The crews will be fixing damaged to the roadway.

It will be closed until Feb 17, from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am. You can still get in, but it will be tough going. Follow the road crew’s instructions.  Keep tuned as to the actual opening date. The work may be extensive and go beyond the 17th.

Other roads may be closed as more damage is detected. This weekend will be bad…so call 209-372-0200 for road conditions. You wanted snowpack? – You go it!

Men hiking in snow

Winter trekking at Yosemite

Winter is a great time there.  The Horsetail Fall light show is in full force. It was been seen already, so after the storms and the sun gets thru, it might be visible again. Or not.

Read: Don’t hike Half Dome in winter

In other news, there are three items that have not been in the news:

  1. The status of hiring a new superintendent.
  2. The progress of the Wilderness Plan.
  3. The status of the trademark lawsuit.

For your calendar:  The Half Dome lottery is during the whole month of March. See the Permits tab for more info.  Apply anytime during march – no rush to get in March 1.

Carpe Diem!
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy. Lighten up while you still can, don’t even try to understand. Just find a place to make your stand and take it easy. The Eagles
Read “One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome

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Wolverines as search and rescue “dogs”: good idea for YOSAR?

large wolvering

The wolverine is an aggressive hunter

Here’s a story that is very different.  How about training wolverines to perform search and rescue?

Wolverines?   What are they? Wikipedia sez:

It is a stocky and muscular carnivore, more closely resembling a small bear than other mustelids. The wolverine, a solitary animal, has a reputation for ferocity and strength out of proportion to its size, with the documented ability to kill prey many times larger than itself.

Mustelids??   Whatever.  So are we are going to trust them to help people in distress? Read on.

I saw this article in Outside magazine. Oh, I get it free by trading in American Airlines miles for magazines. I only had 8,000 miles – so I’d never get a free trip and before they expired. AA is clearing their books. I guess. Why not just let them expire?

Anyway, there is a man in Anchorage who takes captive-raised wolverines and trains them. They can smell things (like dinner 20 feet below the snow).Why not sniff out people? From birth they are subjected to “operant conditioning“…do and get a reward. Just like our Yorkie!

A downside: when they mark their territory, they let out a pungent odor. Some folks all them “skunk bears.”

Their sense of smell is better than dogs. Wolverines in nature have to be good at detecting prey. Rover just sits around the house waiting for puppy chow.

The breeders are talking to the Alaska Fish and Game department for potential use in avalanches. Maybe Yosemite Search and Rescue, aka YOSAR, may one day employ them. Dogs are used now – but who knows?

Learn more about dogs in search and rescue.

Carpe Diem!
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Rescue me. Take me in your arms. Rescue me, I want your tender charm. Cause I’m lonely Rescue me” – Fontella Bass
Read “One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome



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Half Dome Permit Process – How to improve your odds.

March is THE month to apply for permits for ALL 2017 for the honored right to ascent the famous cables at Half Dome. They have been up since 1919 and are beckoning.

Here’s the way it works. Anytime during March, you apply with up to 7 prioritized dates…you can ask for up to 6 permits. manages it – not Yosemite.

Men on mountail

Only one way to get up – with a permit

The leader HAS to be on the hike. This prevents scalping. You cannot sell or buy permits. They will tell you in April if you won. Weekdays in June are the highest demand. In fact, over 5,000 people ask for permits then.  So be flexible and go later in the summer.

There is NO advantage to applying early in March – 2 chimpanzees draw the winner from all who  submitted an entry. It’s $4.50 to apply.

The odds are very low of getting a permit. About 40,000 a year go up…..remember 4 million visit Yosemite! 350 are allowed up each day. WAY better than in 2009 when over 1,000 hit the cables on weekends. (Permits began in 2010).

Learn more about it. See our PERMITS tab.

Is there a way to have a better chance?

YES. I’ve been up 41 times and broke the code.  2 summers I did it 5 times each year. Knowledge is good.  So I created a “seminar” video where I spill the beans.

If you missed the 2016 seminar I did on “How to improve your odds of getting a permit,” I recorded it and you can learn the best ways to maximize your chances of snagging a Yosemite Half Dome Permit.  There are no guarantees, but last year MANY used these tactics and won.

If you’d like to see it, send me an email with YOUR email and I will reply with the link. I’ll ask for $5.00 to  help pay for my Ferrari (not).   Use MrHalfDome @

Want a I made it to the top  Shirt?   Read on!

Go for it.

Half Dome is calling and YOU must go.

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