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Contrary Opinions of not doing Half Dome trail in one day.
This 60-year-old gentleman took issue with me on my position that the Half Dome hike is better spread out over two days. It's presented here unedited:
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"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 get 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 upset 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!!!!

Sincerely,

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."

Marsie

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)

 

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