Hike: The Half Dome

Quick Summary

Difficulty: Hard
Distance:
Elevation gain:
Time Taken: 9hrs
Cool points: Good view from top. Great fun getting there, esp. the chains up
What it's Not: for the timid
Date of Hike: Spring 1998
Recommendations:
Notes: Still have more pictures to scan in

No Map avail

How to get to the trail head

Sorry, my buddy was driving, you will have to get a map.

Ramble on about the hike

This hike was the hi-light of my summer in 1998. A co-worker (Rich) and I were sent from the great white north to Sunny California for some training, cool even without a hike. We managed to weasel a weekend of of it (it was cheaper for the company). Rich who is an avid hiker recommended the half-dome as a premo hike, and boy was he right.

While back home, about 3 weeks before the hike, we tried to book a camp site in Yosemite. Rich was told by a fairly unfriendly lady that there was nothing available for our weekend in Yosemite. Finally, after asking for any campsites outside the park, she told him of something called Crane Flats (in the park) She told him that it was primitive.... He asked if it had out houses ... No!!, it has flush toilets, he asked if it had drinking water, yes it had running water, cold or hot no less. However it did not have a store, or showers... God help us. I think we got the best campsite in all of the park, the others were crowded to the point they seemed like shanty towns.

The first day we setup camp and went on a 1/2 day hike up the ____ falls (as recommended by on of the park people) It was a good hike, and I will have a homepage for it.

The dome The valley we came up

The next day we embarked on the purpose of our 6 hour drive to Yosemite. We started off around 9:30, we knew it was going to be a long hike, so with the late start we set out at a pretty good pace. The first portion of the hike winds through a valley, along a large fast flowing creek. The trail is a well traveled path which start on one mountain, and then crosses the creek to the East side of the other mountain. It is on this side of the mountain that you first see the set of falls that the path leads to. These falls alone would be a good destination for a hike. I imagine that many people do make the falls there destination, as it is a fair walk there and back.

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The falls View towards Halfdome from the falls
If memory serves, a small portion of the trail to the falls, is along the face of a cliff(?) perhaps not a real cliff, I do remember at least one point where we were along a cliff, with water seeping down the face and across the trail. You reach the falls at the top, you feel the cool mist float up and soak your body, It is a great refreshing break from the California heat. We to a bit of a break at the falls, but not much, as we knew that we had a good distance to go to get to the top. It was nice to look out over the small valley, and to watch and listen to the river flow off the cliff.

The second portion of the hike is totally different from the first, just because you are no longer in a valley, but now starting the ascent to the top of the half dome. The trail circles from the south side of the mountain, around the West side, and then begins the real portion of the climb as it eventually comes to the North side of the mountain. During the first part of this loop it is through a semi-forest/plain like terrain. Quite a bit different from what I am used to, in that the trees at the elevation are still huge, and not the normal spruce that is in the Alberta Rockies.

Chains up Chains down

As the trails begins to climb again, it does the standard traverses, eventually, the trail is once again heading in a northern direction. It is here that you come to one of the oddest things I have ever seen on a hike. The Chains, or The Ladder, what ever you want to call it, is a man made 'ladder' going up the North side of the Half dome. With this ladder, the Half-dome had gone from what once was a unclimbable mountain (early 1900's) to a mountain that was probably climbed by 200 or more people the day I was there. This ladder, consists of 2x4's strung together with cables, complete with hand rails. But make no mistake, it is not a easy climb up. allot of people seemed unwilling to make the final climb of about 300m on this latter. It was pretty interesting going up, with people coming down at the same time. (remember, the folks coming down have the right away by hiking/climbing common courtecy when met anywhere on the trial).

The Cliff View View 2

Once at the top of the Ladder, you are now at the top of the half-dome. complete with a Huge cliff on the one side, and a rounded cliff on the other three sides. Makes for some great pictures, to bad for us it was a bit foggy at the time.

Lessons Learned on this trip.

Make the best of a business trip when ever possible

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