Hello all. I thought it would be a nice break from the political BS to take a look at some of the photos I took during my hike to the top of Half Dome
in Yosemite National Park. I uploaded a ton of photos so it may take a while to load them all. They are a mix of photos from my phone and from my
Nikon. I am not a very good photographer but I thought they turned out well. Hope you enjoy!
My friend of 35 years had taken a trip to Yosemite about 2 years ago. It was then that he got his first glimpse of Half Dome. He called me up a week
later and said, "We half to climb it. It looks amazing!". I'm always down for an adventure so I told him to let me know when he would like to plan it.
Come to find out, you need a permit to climb Half Dome and they are not necessarily easy to come by. They only give out a limited number each year
using a lottery system. You basically give them three dates you would like and wait and see if you get one of them. We failed to get a spot last year
but this year we got lucky.
My friend lives in Yuba City, CA. I drove from Portland, OR all day Friday to his house. We packed up his truck and then drove to a campsite about
three hours from there. The closest available campsite we could get was in Groveland about a forty minute drive from Yosemite Valley. We got there
about 7:00pm and pitched the tent. Neither of us could sleep very well and we were up and ready to go by 5:00am.
We pulled into the park about 5:45am and found a parking spot. We prepared our packs, put on some mole skins (protect feet from blisters) and was on
the trail by 7:00am. Here is the route we would have to take.
The trail started out as a gradual incline but then quickly turned into a pretty steep climb. Soon it was mostly switchbacks made from carved stone
stairs or rocks.
Here is one of the first waterfalls we came across.
Top of the falls.
The terrain would flatten out here and there but it was mostly a grueling climb upwards. We moved at a pretty decent pace stopping when we needed to
catch our breath or let the burning muscles in our legs rest. Weather turned out to be perfect. It was about 80 degrees and clear. We avoided the sun
for a good part of the ascent.
Our first glimpse of Half Dome.
We are about halfway there and coming around the back. Here is a topographic map of the climb.
As we start making the turn to approach Half Dome, we first must climb up to the Sub Dome. The top of Sub Dome leads to the final climb to the top via
the dreaded cables. Here are some photos I took while resting. This was before the climb up to Sub Dome. The views were breathtaking. It almost seemed
fake, as if I was looking at a painting. All in all, we were in good spirits, but our bodies were starting to get a little sore. Unfortunately, one of
my mole skin patches had rolled off my right heel and I had developed o huge blister which had broke and was now bleeding. I covered it with a band
aid and stuffed some tissue in my sock. It hurt like hell.
Looking up to Sub Dome with Half Dome in the distance.
Before climbing to the top of Sub Dome, you must present your permit to the Park Ranger stationed there. From there, it is a very steep climb up
dozens of switch backs. The climb gets very dangerous here as there is very little room for error. It is mostly granite that is covered with tiny
pebbles making it easy to slip.
The views from the top of Sub Dome were even better.
Finally made it to the end of Sub Dome. Time for the final nerve-wracking climb.
So here are the cables.
The final climb is about 400 feet to the top via a series of cables to keep you from falling to your death. It was way steeper than I had planned on.
About every 10 feet our a series of metal poles holding the cables up. At the bottom of the poles are wood planks that are used to get a foot hold
when resting. It is recommended to wear gloves when climbing. It was a really scary experience to climb up this. The worst part was having to pass
other people coming down. There isn't much room to pass each other and usually you would wait to pass at one of the poles. The adrenaline was pumping
Made it to the top!
That's me in the red with my friend. This is how we celebrate our 40th birthdays.
Looking over the edge down the face.
The climb was supposed to take about 5 hours to the top. We did it in 4! We didn't even realize we were hiking at that pace. We stayed up there for
about 30-45 minutes and tried to get our minds right for the climb down the cables. We were both dreading it. Climbing up is one thing but going down
was much more dangerous for me. Here is a look at the cable before we headed down.
My trail shoes could not get a decent grip on the granite. I was basically using all of my upper body strength to hold on to the cables and slide from
one post to the next. To make matters worse, there was quite a few people on their way up which made the climb down much slower that I would have
Once down safely, it was a huge relief and sense of accomplishment. No time to reflect though, we still had to hike all the way back out! After the
adrenaline had worn off and we were about half way down, our bodies really started to hurt and get weak. We did finally make it and by the time we got
back to the truck, we could barely climb into it to drive back to the campsite.
All in all, this was an amazing experience we will never forget. The scenery was breathtaking. I've never seen something so awe inspiring. It was also
the hardest thing physically and mentally I have ever done. I was literally on the verge of collapsing by the end. I am fairly fit. I play basketball
and soccer 5 days a week while my friend is an avid runner. It was still a difficult hike for the two of us. If I were to do it over, I would
definitely take it slower on the way up.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my journey. The photos really can't do it justice but hopefully will give you an idea of what it was like. I hope to
hear from others experiences who have made this hike.
edit on 13-8-2016 by jtrenthacker because: (no reason given)
edit on 13-8-2016 by jtrenthacker because: (no reason
edit on 13-8-2016 by jtrenthacker because: (no reason given)