The Flag on Half Dome

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

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Today I feature a guest blog by reader Ryan S. In memory of the tragedy and heroism of the Sept 11, 2001 attack on our soil, he told me 2 week ago that he was going to take a HUGE flag up to the top of Half Dome and try to get someone to photograph it from the valley.  Look at the photo and read his story. Proud to be an American.

 The weather outlook didn’t look ideal, so the alarms were set for 3 am.  Our permits were locked in for September 9th, and myself and two of my old college roommates from Ball State University wanted to do all in our power to have the opportunity to stand on the top of Half Dome.  The reports and rangers indicated that there was a chance of isolated thunderstorms in the afternoon.  Our group did not want to sacrifice safety, so we figured that our only shot to get up to the top was to do it early.  Headlamps illuminating the trail, we started around 4:30am.  Two hours up the Mist Trail and the sun came up just as we could see the water cascading over Nevada Fall.  We pushed on, only taking breaks when we really felt we needed to (our pace being set by an avid marathon runner).  It was great being able to take advantage of the low temperature, and even when we reached the cables around 10 am, the sun was shining brightly, but the heat was tolerable.  Before heading up we scanned the skies to see what the cloud situation looked like.  A few whispy white spots here and there, but otherwise, bluebird skies.  We mounted the cables and only looked back a few times to take in the sights before reaching the top of Half Dome.  There were only about 5 to 10 others up there and we got right to work with what we set out to do at the top.  We each got our pictures taken out on the famous “Diving Board”, then came the moment I had been waiting patiently for over days and about 8 miles of hiking.  Out of my backpack, I pulled out a rustic, 10′ x 5′ American flag.  As we stood on the diving board, it was hard not to feel patriotic as the wind waved the red, white, and blue over Yosemite Valley.  While a few days premature of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I wanted it to serve as a tribute to those who lost their lives that day, and those who fight so that all of us may enjoy our freedom.  GOD BLESS AMERICA!


Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Hey Ricky….Hey Ricky…You’re so fine you blow my mind…Hey Ricky.” – “Weird Al” Yankovic 

*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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3 Responses to The Flag on Half Dome

  1. Scott Baines says:

    A beautiful and inspiring photo. Many thanks to Ryan and his buddies.

  2. Maureen Lahiff says:

    I was delighted with this story.

    The only question I have is — I thought the “Diving Board” was another feature, close to Half Dome, but reachable only by going off trail and doing a lot of climbing.

    The wonderful site of this photo is what I thought is known as the Visor?

    thanks, Ryan

    • Mr Half Dome - Rick Deutsch says:

      You are correct….Ryan and his buddy are indeed on the Visor. This is a very common mistake.

      Others that often come up—>

      * Sub Dome is NOT the shoulder, Quarter dome or Devil’s Staircase.
      * It’s Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall…not Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls.
      * It’s Clouds Rest – not Cloud’s Rest

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