Half Dome | High Sierra Topix  

Half Dome

Topics related to peak bagging, rock climbing and bouldering in the foothills and high country of the Sierra Nevada. Be sure to also check out the Information Booth forum category to learn from / see if you can contribute to a profile for High Sierra 13'ers, 14'ers and cross country passes.
User avatar

Half Dome

Postby Jimr » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:24 pm

Well, I was invited to fill a half dome permit for Friday, so Off I go first thing in the am. It was never on my hit list, but can't pass it up. Cables or no cables :D
What?!



User avatar
Jimr
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1122
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:14 pm
Location: Redondo Beach
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Half Dome

Postby KathyW » Sat Sep 07, 2013 12:40 pm

Let us know how it goes. I may finally try Half Dome next weekend if Hwy 120 opens up.
User avatar
KathyW
Founding Member
 
Posts: 347
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:19 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Half Dome

Postby Jimr » Sun Sep 08, 2013 2:02 pm

This trip was never something I had even thought about doing, but I went to see Roger Hodgson at the Orange Co. Fair and we met a nice couple next to us and started chatting. The gentleman, John, mentioned his affinity for backpacking and the conversation was on. He mentioned he had permits for Half Dome and invited me along. I don’t think I’ve ever said yes so fast.

After reading the best burger thread, I decided to try out Eureka burger in Fresno on the way up. It was a good decision. Excellent burgers. I made it to the valley floor around 2:30, found a parking spot in the trailhead parking area and walked over to Curry Village to meet up with my partner. I no sooner got there, than I noticed John walking right past me. His son was with him as well. We acclimated to each other in the lounge and swapped hiking stories. It was good to be conversing with people who enjoy listening to other’s stories as much as telling their own. A lot of people have too much of a need to hear their own voice.

We hung around the trailhead lot, had something to eat, swapped more stories, then jumped into the vehicles about 9pm for a few hours of rest before the 2am wakeup call. We were awoken a couple of time by rangers educating us on the illegality of sleeping in the parking lot, but they let us slide once we told them we were planning on being up at 2 and out by 3am, then produced the permits. It’s also nice to have reasonable people working for NPS.

We hit the trail at 3am. This was the first time I’d hiked by headlamp and I must say, I liked it. I had a tank top and tee shirt on, but quickly doffed the tee shirt in the warm night air. We made Vernal falls quickly, averaging 2.7 mph, then to Nevada Falls avg. 2.4 mph. Once there, John filled his water bottle. It was much colder at Nevada falls. I was freezing in my sweat soaked tank top, so I traded it in for a dry tee shirt. We hit the trail fork to Little Yosemite Valley at dawn, ate lunch for breakfast, and continued on our way in the growing light.

We hadn’t seen a soul on trail except for a couple of deer just past dawn. Once we finally reached the sub dome, we notice it was marked by a little old Japanese lady of about 70 years of age. She was fresh as the day is long. I couldn’t help but scratch my head and wonder when she started up. There was one person going up the cables at that time and the little lady spoke just enough English to inform us that it was her guide going up. The view of the cables was awesome. It looked straight up, not the 45-degree angle we knew they were. We didn’t dawdle too long there. As we moved to the base of the cables, marked by another little old Japanese lady, the true pitch was clear and accurate. This lady spoke even less English, but her smiling face communicated well. She proceeded to do as I guess most traditional old Japanese women do; she started housekeeping. She pulled all of the gloves out from between the rocks and began sorting and pairing them up.

We spent very little time looking at the vacant cables before my excitement level hit peak and I was on my way. The first few steps, I noticed I was using too much arm, so I positioned myself above my feet to allow my legs to do the work, two boards, a couple of breaths, then two more, etc. About ¾ of the way up the cables I was met by a younger Japanese man, the same one we saw moving up the cables when we got to the sub dome. He had been swinging up the cables like a monkey sliding from branch to branch, obviously using too much arm energy. The only word he uttered was “slowly, slowly”. He said this several times. I knew he was intimidated by the down climb and wanted to communicate to us that he had to move slowly. I kept repeating “slowly” back to him and shaking my head up and down to let him know he was understood.

I made it to the top quite quickly and let out a shout upon completion, ‘cause that’s what you do, isn’t it? Jeff (John’s son) was right behind me. Once he hit the top of the cables, he sat down to wait for his dad, so I sat down as well. When John made the top of the cables, he encouraged us to go ahead and not wait for him, but neither of us moved. I told him we would walk to the summit together; we’re in no hurry.

We spent about 2 or 3 hours on the summit. I’m not sure how long because I don’t have much use for time in the mountains that the sun cannot provide. We took the usual pictures from the usual spots but I’m not posting any here because there are about half of a billion on the Internet already. The same shots with different faces. As we reached the overhang opposite the diving board (where the camera man stands), we could hear voices below. On the uppermost ledge of the face, there was a climber and another about 40 ft below on belay. I heard him recording that they hit the summit just before midnight. When it was my turn for an obligatory shot on the diving board, I asked him how long it took them to summit. He said they had taken their time; they started last Tuesday. Holy crap! This was Friday.

We hung out, explored the top, watched the well fed and fat squirrels for some time, then one of the climbers asked if we had any Motrin. We were all feeling good, or at least, nobody was complaining, so I gave him the 5 Motrin I had brought as an afterthought. Big mistake.

As time went on, more and more people showed at the summit. It was fun talking to the young couples and watching them hug and kiss on the summit. Although I wouldn’t trade my 21 years of marriage for anything, there’s just something about young love and young lovers that kind of makes me wish I could experience that again. I remember when my wife and I were young and in love, and in Yosemite! Maybe that’s it.

As more and more were reaching the top, we decided it was going to get pretty crowded very soon. It was time to leave.

The cables were getting pretty crowded and we could see many more on the sub dome. We made it down quickly. I chose the one cable approach and moved quickly down. I moved to the outside of the cables a couple of times to pass a few iffy up climbers. Moving down the stairway to heaven from the top of the sub dome was very crowded and I was glad we were leaving with all of those people moving upward.

We kept a slow pace going down, about 2.5mph to try and save the knees, but it was to no avail. The farther down we went, the more the knees started protesting, then screaming. As we rested at the LYV trail junction, the Japanese threesome passed us up. One lady bid us sayonara. It was now clear that they day hiked up the whole way. What the heck time did they leave and why do the women look so fresh? Every step down became more and more painful as my left knee protested louder and louder. Wish I had them Motrin. What I found most interesting was that the closer to the trailhead we got, the more I could smell the hikers coming up. They smelled like soap. An old work partner who had done some time in Vietnam in the day told me once that they didn’t use soap because the Vietnamese soldiers could smell it and locate them. Whether or not it was true, is one thing, whether or not it is possible is in no doubt.

We hit the parking lot at 3:30pm and I doubt any of us had another step in us. We drove to Curry Village for pizza, then on to a 6 hour drive home.

Although I’ve hardly been able to walk the last two days, it was well worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip. And the views, well, they’re earned one step at a time.
What?!
User avatar
Jimr
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1122
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:14 pm
Location: Redondo Beach
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Half Dome

Postby Hobbes » Tue Sep 10, 2013 7:59 am

Excellent write-up. We're thinking of returning to the Valley next June (1st time in probably 5+ years), and I'd like to do the HD day hike.

I talked a ranger, who indicated that even if we're not able to get permits, we can hike all the way to the base of cables. (Unlike the Whitney zone which starts 2.5 miles from the TH @ Lone Pine lake.)

I really liked your miles per hour notes; my 14yo son & I hike about the same speed going up hill. I had come up with similar calculations in terms of total time, so it's nice to see support for those estimates.

If we can pull this off (ie get permits), then he'll have his N America trifecta of walk-up peaks: Angels Landing, Whitney & HD.

As for Motrin, I stopped using vitamin I after I read some accounts of how it can effect your kidneys when combined with possible dehydration conditions from running and/or hiking:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-steroi ... drug#Renal

I now use Tylenol, and yearn for the days of sweet comfort - Tylenol doesn't do jack for me, but it's not a NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug).
User avatar
Hobbes
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 678
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:09 am
Location: The OC
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Half Dome

Postby Jimr » Tue Sep 10, 2013 10:27 am

Hi Hobbes,
The ranger at the dome stands vigil at the base of the sub-dome to check permits. You may not be able to get to the base of the cables.
Both Motrin and Tylenol have their issues. So does Aleve. Best to keep any of that sort to a minimum, IMHO
What?!
User avatar
Jimr
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1122
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:14 pm
Location: Redondo Beach
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Half Dome

Postby Tollermom » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:38 am

when I did Half Dome this summer, the ranger wasn't at the trailhead below the subdome when we passed about 9:00. She was there when we came down. We saw several people heading down who obviously didn't have their permits checked by anyone. Maybe she slept in?
User avatar
Tollermom
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 71
Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 4:49 pm
Location: Carson City, NV
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Half Dome

Postby Vaca Russ » Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:17 am

Jimr,

Great story! Keep up the great work!

Tollermom wrote:when I did Half Dome this summer, the ranger wasn't at the trailhead below the subdome when we passed about 9:00. She was there when we came down. We saw several people heading down who obviously didn't have their permits checked by anyone. Maybe she slept in?


When we bagged HD last year we saw no ranger at all. Maybe she does a lot of sleeping? :)

Jim, this is to show you that going early was a very good idea.

Cables2[1].JPG


Also, according to Almost There, there is no diving board on HD. It is called the visor. :)

Thanks for the report!

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
User avatar
Vaca Russ
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 661
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:12 pm
Location: 1060 West Addison Street, Chicago, Ill
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Half Dome

Postby Jimr » Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:47 am

All I can say is when we went up, there was no ranger, when we came down, we were asked to produce our permits at the base of the sub-dome. He checked them via what looked like an iPad.

That pic and many more like them is exactly why we started at 3am :nod:

Google up (or Bing up) diving board at half dome and you'll see the "visor" is also known as the diving board. Enough to get many hits. Perhaps like the trail going from Roads End to Simpson Meadow being called "the B!tch" :D Aptly named, but not necessarily official.

O.K. one pic
Half Dome 2013 122.JPG
Looks empty here, but there were about 20 up climbers just down below
What?!
User avatar
Jimr
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1122
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:14 pm
Location: Redondo Beach
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Half Dome

Postby longri » Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:30 am

Vaca Russ wrote:Also, according to Almost There, there is no diving board on HD. It is called the visor. :)

There is a Diving Board just to the right of the Northwest Face. It's where Ansel Adams took that iconic close-up shot of the face. One might quibble over whether it is actually part of the dome or not. You can see it on this map: http://www.closedcontour.com/

The Visor is the large brow that overhangs the Northwest Face. Sticking out from the Visor is a plank of stone that many hikers unofficially call the diving board. It's easy to see why: http://www.mountainproject.com/images/1 ... 7b1f67.jpg

Setting aside the crowd factor and its overuse as an icon for the park, Half Dome is pretty cool. You have to admit it.
User avatar
longri
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 505
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:13 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Half Dome

Postby Vaca Russ » Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:54 am

longri wrote:
The Visor is the large brow that overhangs the Northwest Face. Sticking out from the Visor is a plank of stone that many hikers unofficially call the diving board. It's easy to see why: http://www.mountainproject.com/images/1 ... 7b1f67.jpg

Setting aside the crowd factor and its overuse as an icon for the park, Half Dome is pretty cool. You have to admit it.


Yes, Longri...That is a picture of what I called the diving board and she correctly identified as the visor.

Russ%20%26%20Tim%20Diving%20Board[1].JPG
Tim and I resting on the "Visor"


Half Dome is pretty cool! :)

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
User avatar
Vaca Russ
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 661
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:12 pm
Location: 1060 West Addison Street, Chicago, Ill
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Half Dome

Postby Jimr » Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:56 am

Hmmm, I guess I would quibble over whether that diving board was really on Half Dome, but I wouldn't put much energy into it.

The second picture is where we took photos from. The ledge visible below is where one of the climbers was standing. Whatever you call it (the spot?), here's the spot I was talking about. Both your second picture and this spot is probably all considered the visor.
Half Dome 2013 096.JPG


Regardless, it is cool. I found, walking out to the edge in your second picture, that I got a bit wishy washy on my feet. I'm not usually affected by heights, but here and walking to the edge of Mt. Langley, I experienced it. What I did notice is that if I concentrated only on my feet, then stopped and looked over, the feeling went away and I felt very stable and comfortable 8" from the edge. A mental note for next cliff face I find myself on.
What?!
User avatar
Jimr
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1122
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:14 pm
Location: Redondo Beach
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Half Dome

Postby longri » Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:40 pm

Jimr wrote:Hmmm, I guess I would quibble over whether that diving board was really on Half Dome, but I wouldn't put much energy into it.

Regardless, the named Diving Board is a great destination. It isn't that hard to get to and the view will blow your mind. A very worthwhile day hike. I have a bunch of photos but they don't really capture it that well.

Jimr wrote:The second picture is where we took photos from. The ledge visible below is where one of the climbers was standing.

Here's a shot looking down from that diving board rock on the Visor. That long skinny ledge is the Thank God Ledge, part of the regular route on the face. Further down are blocky ledges where people often spend the night.

Image

Here's the view looking up from those blocky ledges below the Thank God Ledge:

Image

Jimr wrote:I found, walking out to the edge in your second picture, that I got a bit wishy washy on my feet.

Me too! When it came to venturing out on that diving board rock on the Visor I could only do it by slowly worming my way out on my belly.
User avatar
longri
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 505
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:13 am
Experience: N/A

Next

Return to Peak Bagging / Rock Climbing / Bouldering



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot] and 1 guest