Half Dome, CA

In June 1999, I went with my friend David Hung to Yosemite to hike Half Dome. We drove there in my 1969 MGB and nearly froze to death, but not once did Dave complain. Tough guy.

We met some of his friends there and camped overnight at Wawona in sleeping bags out in the open. Then, we hiked to the top and back, including ascending the final stretch which entailed clinging onto steel cables to pull ourselves up. Fortunately there were leather gloves available in this area just for this purpose. At the top of the rock, we had lunch and waited for the others to come up.

The whole hike was about 16 or 17 miles and I seem to recall it taking 9 hours. Or maybe it was 12; I forget. In any case, it was great to hike up an icon of one of the seven natural wonders of the United States.

Late to bed, early to rise... camping in Wawona.Here comes those clouds!At last, Half Dome is in sight! To the top!Diving Board, Half Dome, YosemiteAlas, the area with the cables up to the very top of Half Dome was rather congested. Being rather impatient at this point, Dave and I would blaze around these people by climbing on the outside of the cables...Woohoo! The summit long at last!The start of a happy hike from Happy Isles!A pretty rainbow. No, this pic was not digitally altered in any way! The manager of Ritz camera liked it so much that he is making a poster out of this pic for himself (wow!) Another pretty rainbow overshadowed by the towering cliffs of Yosemite.That's Scott, Dave, and I after taking an hour's nap at the top of Half Dome! Mike was up there too, somewhere...This was taken from the lip right below the top of Half Dome and before we were entirely engulfed by clouds.One of the many waterfalls we saw on the way to the top. I left the shutter open for a little while for this one...

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  • Kyle Samuels says:

    Blazing up outside the cables is a better idea than most think. I didn’t do it. I was scared. I was even more scared on top about the prospects of descending. Then a miracle happened. Half way down I got tired of waiting,and most important my vertigo and fear just vanished, so I decided to descend outside the cable. A professional climber friend of mine said that the rock isn’t as slick on the outside. So true. Your boots adhere to the granite better. People all the way down kept commenting how “dangerous it is outside of the cable. But I didn’t have to sit between hanging on and waiting. Actually, I can’t think of one rational reason why hanging on to one cable between the two-no reason to hang onto both-with people running into each other is better than a outside, unless you think the boards are a big help.

    The climber friend recommended approach shoes for the cables. They are quasi climbing shoes, best on slab climbs less than 60 degrees. Since he was more right about everything else than the guy who gave a lecture on climbing half dome at REI, although they both agree implicitly on outside the cable, I assume he is probably right about this too.

    Only problem with approach shoes is the possibility of a twisted ankle. On the other hand they are lighter, hence quicker up the trail, and leave you less tired. You have to make the trade off decision. If I weighed less, and was under 50 I would definitely go with the approach shoes.

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