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Half Dome from Valley floor at night

PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:48 pm
by roxyk
I'm going with a group of people (read: not much influence over the plan) to hike Half Dome over Labor Day. To avoid the crowd madness the plan is to start out from Valley floor (we don't have wildnerness permits) at midnight and get to the base of the Dome by daybreak in time to catch sunrise from the top.
Questions are: is this a totally stupid plan since we'll be going up the Mist steps in the dark (full moon is Aug 31 so will have some moonlight, and I've heard the flow is low this year), and does the rockface get "dewy" in the AM?
I can always bail on the plan and do Cloud's Rest, but is it wise to do that alone?
thanks.

Re: Half Dome from Valley floor at night

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:29 am
by Fly Guy Dave
From my experience, the stairs on the mist trail are always wet, mostly due to the spray from the waterfall. It is a steeper trail than the alternate, but a bit shorter and cooler way to go. However, with the minimal snow this year, perhaps the spray might not be much. It is a very well maintained trail, so I wouldn't worry too much about that. If you have a headlamp with high lumens, you should be OK if you start before sunrise. If you do have a problem, I'm certain that MANY other people will be along to help before you know it. The trail to Half Dome is not known for its solitude or lack of people.

Re: Half Dome from Valley floor at night

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:50 am
by AlmostThere
Don't forget your day hiking permit. They will check it at night, too.

When we did the hike at night we took the JMT switchbacks instead.

Getting wet may not be so much of an issue this year, but would be in most conditions on that trail. The other concern I would have is the steps and the steep dropoff into the river. Even though it is a low water year, the fall into the boulders itself could be dangerous if you take a wrong step and plunge down that slope.

Re: Half Dome from Valley floor at night

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:51 am
by maverick
As AT mentioned you do need permits. Also if I had the option would prefer
Clouds Rest, much more open views, but it is 11 miles one way from the
valley, done from Tenaya Lake its 7 miles, might be an option for you.

Re: Half Dome from Valley floor at night

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:25 am
by ManOfTooManySports
Take the JMT switchbacks up and the Mist Trail down. You still have to be careful on the JMT. Good headlamps are crucial for this trip. As is common sense beyond what the group is providing.

Re: Half Dome from Valley floor at night

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:43 am
by roxyk
yeah I feel the same way, doing the Mist Trail in the dark is just kinda bone-headed, strongly prefer taking the JMT up even if it adds 1.5 mi.
I think if the group doesn't listen to common sense then I will bail and do Clouds Rest, but 22 mi is pretty hard-core even for me...anybody need a hiking partner? ;-)

Re: Half Dome from Valley floor at night

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:24 am
by ManOfTooManySports
The JMT and the Mist Trail join near the top of Nevada Falls. So long as you can convince someone to go with you, you all can meet at the junction.

Don't get to hung up about the difference in distance. It doesn't seem that different when you're on the trails. There are a lot of stair steps up the sides of Vernal and Nevada Falls on the Mist Trail. That steep terrain can be slow going. Unless you're a group of youngsters, of course.

Re: Half Dome from Valley floor at night

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:52 pm
by overheadx2
I just got back on Sunday. Hiked from Tuolumne to Yose valley via the mist trail. Absolutely no moisture from the falls on the trail (not even a little). That said, I would still go the long route. The steps up are brutal and dangerous in the dark. I think you would make better time on a more gradual yet longer route. Also, there is no water at all past the Merced, so fill your bladder before you head away from the Merced.

Re: Half Dome from Valley floor at night

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:30 pm
by roxyk
thanks for all the tips & advice! I'll just have to convince someone else to go via JMT.

This is a great forum, love it. Would you guys skip the insanity of HD in favor of CR, even if say you were kinda scared of heights and the idea of having cables to grip quells that fear a tiny bit vs the exposed fin of CR?

Re: Half Dome from Valley floor at night

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:58 am
by ManOfTooManySports
I've done both. The exposure aspect--real and imaginary--is greater on Half Dome. If you have done neither and have a shot at Half Dome, do that. You can do Cloud's Rest any day.