Your chances of getting a permit.

*Go to the Jan 30 Blog to read about the Half Dome permit process*

Half  Dome – Yosemite Musing

S    o let’s see – what are the odds that YOU will get a permit to hike Half Dome under the new rules set in place by the NPS? Any statistic majors out there? So these are just some thought to put the challenge in perspective. You only need to get permits for a hike on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Federal Holiday. If my calendar and math are close, there are 21 3-day weekend days and 3 holidays in the window for 66  “Half Dome hiking days in the 2010 poles up” season. (21 x 3) +3 = 68 (Cables elevated and boards put in place – about the 3rd week in May – weather depending.)  With an estimated 800 doing the hike each day on average each year on those dates, that makes 68 x 800 = 54,400. This rings close to the previous estimate of 50,000 a year who do thehike (not the 80,000 in the permit packet of info).

    Follow me?  So the NPS will have 400 available permits a day. But this 400 permits includes 100 set-aside for those backpackers who get wilderness permits. So the average “hiker” Joe or Jane will be trying for only 300 “hiker permits” since they will not be getting a wilderness permit. The good news –  those 100 need not be on the phone/internet ,but the bad news – there will only be 300 permits for any given day. Since a huge number take off work Friday and drive up to do the hike on Saturday then drive home Sunday, Saturday will be the worst odds … with Friday and Sunday less, but not by a huge margin. (Some come from afar and are not weekend warriors… they tend to stay a few days.) But when you log on to the reservation system March 1, you have no idea what dates people will be shooting for – other than for June and July dates. Oh boy, that leaves only 28 possible dates in the June/July block that people are competing for. And we’re not counting those who will do it more than once in a given window. Or those who will try to get one for June/July to be sure they get a permit rather than wait to try for a later summer day. And if a party of 4, for example, is trying for 4 permits, they would be wise to have everyone attempt getting 4 simultaneously with the hope that one of them gets through.

    Conclusions? It’s going to be a long wait to connect. In a similar scenario, I bought 2010 Burning Man tickets (the free expression festival in Nevada over Labor Day).  They offered 9,000 tickets for sale via internet. The doors opened at 8 am recently. I hit the website at 1 second after 8 and I was #2300 in the queue. With that it took me a good 35 minutes in the queue to finally get “served.” So plan on camping out on your keyboard. And get all your friends and relatives to log on and try for permits for you. They are transferable. If anyone “hits”, call the others and tell them to back off. Whew. Anther thing to stress about. Oh, and don’t forget to train and be prepared. I hear there is only one guidebook that covers the hike from A to Z. See my website link below.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty.  She’s ninety-three today and we don’t know where the hell she is.” – Ellen DeGeneres – stolen fr0m Rodney Dangerfield
*Mr. Half Dome – 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 Your chances of getting a permit.

  1. mrhalfdome says:

    Thanks Eiken,

    All in a day’s work for Mr Half Dome. Pay ain’t much but the ego trip is pretty high!

    Rick

  2. Your posts always show me that you really have some indepth knowledge about this. Quite a valuable read i must say.

  3. andy says:

    This is an old argument they keeps getting replayed over and over. The Population Bomb, now Global warming. Oh yeah don’t forget about global cooling. That was the end all about 25 years ago.
    The only thing keeping some populations from eating are political problems not the earth. Anyway, none of this has anything to do with the cables at Half Dome.

    Hopefully it will all work out

  4. mrhalfdome says:

    Not 7 billion. I took a USC masters course years ago that said that a computer model showed that with the number of mouths to feed, the amount of arable land, the water supply, pollution and scores of variables, the planet indeed had “Limits to Growth.” The book is available and the data refined by other studies. Old info, but they said by about NOW, 2010, the fertilizer would hit the ventilator. Historic means of “culling the herd” have not kept up with the birth rates. (War, plague, pandemics, earthquakes, etc.) Medicine is prolonging life so the balance of 2 people to replace parents is not valid anymore. I was pretty happy at 3 billion.

  5. andy says:

    So what is the “right” amount of humans Rick?

  6. mrhalfdome says:

    Let’s be gentle here. Pleae no CAPS..it’s like you are yelling. The source of overcrowding is too many humans. When a good restaurant gets crowded and requires a 2 hour reservation wait… people still come back. With almost 7 billion people on the globe and 300 M in the USA…

  7. six timer says:

    I SAY THIS GINGERLY, BUT FOR THE STUPIDITY OF A FEW, THE ONES WHO FELL. I.E. NOT PREPARED. OUTSIDE THE WIRE, UP THE CABLES IN BAD WEATHER ETC. WE THE MANY, HAVE TO SUFFER THEIR CONSEQUENCES. PERMITS STINKING PERMITS. I AGREE THE WEEKDAYS ARE GOING TO BE HELL NOW. THANKS TO THE NPS PARKS FOR THE “SHOTGUN” APPROACH IT LOOKS LIKE THE STINKING ENVIROMENTALISTS ARE STARTING TO GET THERE FOOTHOLDS INTO WHAT WAS A NICE HIKE UP THE CABLES. NEXT THING YOU KNOW YOU WILL HAVE TO HAVE A STINKING PERMIT TO HIKE PAST VERNAL FALLS BRIDGE.

  8. Mark F says:

    “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” — Yogi Berra

  9. Justin L says:

    I wonder if the midweek hikes will become crazy crowded because of the permit system. People will show up on the weekdays to 1. avoid the permit 2. because they couldn’t get a permit. 3 too many in their group to obtain a permit. The weekends might become the coveted time to hike.

  10. BellaBike says:

    So what do you think would work better? The overcrowding is famous, and frightening, and the park needs to do something to control the flow, but if this is too restrictive, what would be better?

    I’m curious as to how they intend to manage this system. Do the rangers get a heli-ride to Sub-Dome? Do they get to eat, drink, sit or pee? Do they come armed, to deal with the gate crashers? Will they receive a pay premium for pulling “Half Dome Duty”? Are they there 24/7?

    I’m relieved that I’ve chosen to do my first – and only – attempt on a Wednesday. 🙂 I like it when the rules do not apply to ME!

  11. mrhalfdome says:

    The first line will be forming at Happy Isles trailhead …”Hey buddy, got an extra permit?”

  12. Justin L says:

    I see a new chapter for your book in the next few years. How to obtain a permit.

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