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First time Half Dome..

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Re: First time Half Dome..

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:57 am

What the majority don't have is climbing gear. It's already slow enough going up the cables that you're going to be standing there in a long line waiting.

People have only fallen off the cables a handful of times out of the many thousands (50,000 average every year previous to the permit system) who've done it. The vast majority of the 90 (I think, didn't keep count last year) folks who have died on this hike did so on the trail on the way, for various reasons that have nothing to do with the cables.



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Re: First time Half Dome..

Postby neil d » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:49 am

Most folks here have covered the basics. With the right mind-set and the proper gear, you will have a great time.

IMO, your biggest barriers are weather and crowds. Can't do anything about the weather, but you can avoid crowds by leaving early. You mentioned 5 AM at the trailhead...good strategy if you can make it happen. Even earlier would be better. Bring a headlamp! Also increases the adventure factor.

The payoff will be climbing the cables while everyone else is just getting to LYV.
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Re: First time Half Dome..

Postby Tollermom » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:39 pm

Thanks...feeling better and better about this!
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Re: First time Half Dome..

Postby oleander » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:13 pm

Definitely Mist Trail up and JMT down.

I've been up twice. The two things that most threw me off were two items nobody had warned me about:

1. Need for GOOD gloves. Those wool work gloves with bumpies on them are good. Great friction makes a BIG difference. I had to use some gloves from under the rock at the bottom of the cables; none of them were adequate.

2. There is a short (12-foot?), very steep section early on, less than 5 minutes into the climb on the cables. The first time I did it it really freaked me out because I thought it meant that much of the route would be exactly that steep. It's not. It eases off almost immediately.

- Elizabeth
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Re: First time Half Dome..

Postby Tollermom » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:19 pm

oleander wrote:Definitely Mist Trail up and JMT down.
There is a short (12-foot?), very steep section early on, less than 5 minutes into the climb on the cables. The first time I did it it really freaked me out because I thought it meant that much of the route would be exactly that steep. It's not. It eases off almost immediately.


Thank you Elizabeth! This is good info to watch for!
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Re: First time Half Dome..

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:35 pm

The point about clipping not being safe has to do with the forces involved in a fall. I recall that the cable stoppers (circular bolts) are quite a ways apart. If you were to fall, the force of hitting the lower stop could exceed the strength of the sling or caribiner, particularly if the sling is not a "screamer" type. If you clip, buy a "screamer". A screamer is a nylon sling that has been pleated with stitching that tears to reduce the force of a fall. In a real climbing situation, the rope is very dynamic and the stretch reduces the forces on all parts of the safety system. When just clipping, you no longer have the dynamic rope so you MUST build in a dynamic component in your clip sling.
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Re: First time Half Dome..

Postby ndwoods » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:27 pm

I still remember my first time too. It was 4th July weekend. We camped in LYV. We got up early and were the 1st ones on top...and did not see another soul for about 2 hrs!!!! YEP, 2 hrs on top of Half Dome all by ourselves! And on 4th July no less!!!!!
I think camping either at LYV or coming in from Tioga and going up early is best way to have solitude....in any case, you will have a memorable experience!:)
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Re: First time Half Dome..

Postby Tollermom » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:28 am

Thank you WD for the clarification. I initially thought you were saying if I were afraid, I had no business trying this. Heck, I'm afraid of freeways but I still...oh, bad example, I don't drive freeways! lol
On the serenity of being alone at the top, oh I wish!!! I remember the first time I climbed Mt Tallac at Tahoe. Didn't see another soul on the trail, but when I crested the summit it was like Grand Central Station up there. Hardly a place to sit and eat lunch!
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Re: First time Half Dome..

Postby kingofthemountains » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:53 am

Sounds like a great 60th bday to me! I hope I am still in good enough shape / my body is still functioning well enough that I can climb half dome at 60!
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Re: First time Half Dome..

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:59 pm

Being afraid on the cables can be a problem to the safety of others. When there is a crowd on the cables, and IF you were to freeze with fear, others (who I agree would be stupid to do this) may want to get by you and divert to the outside of the cables, which is unsafe for all on the cables. The clip-in would be mostly a psychological thing -and if that helps,OK. Given your concern, and potential to "freeze", it would be a LOT better if you were to do it early AM on an overnight trip. That way you would not feel pushed to go faster than you feel comfortable and you avoid holding up others. And do not grip the cables so hard that your arms literally give out before you get up or down. Going down actually is more scarey than going up. Everyone should be a little scared when they first look at the cables. Good fear keeps you alive. Extremely serious fear of heights is another matter. We took some friends of ours up years back. One person opted out and stayed at the saddle. Nothing wrong with that. Do not ever feel forced to do something you really do not want to do.

Honestly, if I were afraid of the exposure, I would not go up the cables, simply because I do not find being scared very fun. That is too masochistic for my taste. I have done alpine and technical rock climbing for more then 40 years, and there have been times when it just did not feel right, and I insisted to retreat, to my partner's dismay. I never regret these times. A great deal of rock climbing is mental - some days you just are not up for it. The rock is not going anywhere. It will be there for another day.
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Re: First time Half Dome..

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:15 pm

Don' t fall prey to peak fever. too many injuries and deaths occur because someone MUST do something. you do not have to do things you are afraid of. there are other wonderful things to do.
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Re: First time Half Dome..

Postby Tollermom » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:31 pm

It may be more of a riding the roller coaster kinda fear, screaming and laughing at the same time!
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