"Love this website. Regret not having found it until
After visiting Yosemite.
I must however, take issue with your remark concerning the day hike to
the top of Half Dome. Last year, and in the company of two close friends, I
flew to (San Francisco) in late September and drove to Yosemite. We tried to
accommodations in Curry Village, but waited too long. We found a nice lodge
outside the park and in the two days leading up to our attempt of Half Dome,
did two acclimation hikes. Not having brought a lot of back country gear, we
knew that we would have to do the whole hike in one day. We dithered about
whether to take the longer John Muir spur or to tough it out on the shorter
Mist Trail segment. Decided we would wait until we got to the trail split.
We left the parking lot near Happy Isle at 4:00 am. At the point where
we should have turned right toward the trailhead, we instead turned left and
followed a trail that lead us up the valley and along the base of Half Dome.
We walked about an hour and I kept expecting to see something going off to
our right that would lead us up toward Little Yosemite Valley. Finally, along with the dawn came the realization that we were heading up the main
valley and had badly missed the trail. By this time, we had logged a couple
of miles. Dumb, dumb, dumb. My friends had never been in Yosemite and had
not looked at the map (or the distances) too closely. The abstraction of
eight miles distance to Half Dome in Yosemite did not have a lot of meaning
to them at this point. I knew we were in for a long day and with this
screwup, the day had gotten a lot longer.
Finally, we got to the proper traihead. Our time advantage was gone and
we were now starting in at 6:30 am. We made good time, took the Mist Trail,
and were glad to see the level trail across Little Yosemite Valley. However,
we were getting somewhat separated as one of our number was fighting an
stomach and a headache. We had lunch and then pressed on to the base of the
large dome of rock that leads up the the shoulder and the "col" just before
the cables. This past late September was HOT and people were spread out
across the rock begging water from other people heading down. At about 2:00 pm, we started up the cables (excepting our ill friend who
sat in what passed for shade) and topped out about 10-15 minutes later.
Gad, what a view!! We posed on the usual sphincter-tightening ledges,
ate granola, and then headed down. Face-first is a thrill on the descent as
well as watching the faces of the panicked and near-panicked as they pass on
the left. The walk out was pleasant although the steep down on the Mist
Trail was more
challenging than the ascent. By this time, we were approaching 20 miles
(adding in our early morning warm-up hike) and the prospect of level ground
and a cold beer were nothing less major life goals. We made it to the car
and made plans for the next hike in Yosemite.
I am bringing my wife, my oldest son, and his
fiancee out this September
to do the hike to Half Dome again. I can't wait to get back. While it is a
strenuous hike, the sheer beauty, the personal challenge, and knowledge that
one does something very special by climbing Half Dome, is compelling. So
mark me as an exception. I would do Half Dome again in a heartbeat.
By the way, you do have the best Yosemite website!!!!
James Brigham (Age 60)"
And, on 8/12/03 I got this email from another
person who disagreed with me:
"I must agree
with the the guy who took issue with your half dome hike info. I've done it
2x and want to go back and do it again! LOVED the challenge of it."
And, on 3/12/04 another contrary opinion:
"Just a few notes. At my husband's instance, we
did the hike, and we did it in one day. Neither of us were up to any
kind of formal backpacking, but we do love to hike. We are not in great
shape, but did "train" a bit in the months leading up to the hike,
trying to increase the difficulty and altitude gain with each training
hike we did. We acclimated ourselves to the altitude of Yosemite ahead
of time, arriving on Monday and tackling smaller hikes on Monday and
Tuesday (Taft Point & Yosemite Falls). We took Wednesday to rest up
(swimming in the Merced was the only activity that day) and then started
out early on Thursday morning for H.D. We chose to begin our hike at
Glacier Point and hike across the Panorama Trail to the top of Nevada
Falls. This eliminated some of the elevation gain at the beginning of
the hike. We finished at Happy Isle by way of the John Muir trail.
Total time was 12 hours which included an hour rest at the top (6am to
6pm). We are both 51 and as I said not real avid hikers. I
would not have done this hike if the only option was to do it in two
days. I am so glad that my husband insisted that we would be OK. We
are both anxious to do it again. By the way, the most amazing thing I
saw while on the top of Half Dome was a couple in their 80's who had
successfully made the hike (don't know if they did it in one or two
days). You are never too old.
Thanks for a great site. It has been very helpful
and very interesting."
Carol (age 51)