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Re: Half Dome Hike - what are my chances

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Half Dome Hike - what are my chances
May 26, 2008 12:15PM
I'm flying in from Europe on Wednesday. After weeks of weather developments I had hoped for I'm a bit stunned by the last couple of days.

We will stay in El Portal and our initial plan was to "warm up" on Thursday with a couple of hours light hiking (e.g. Taft Point, Sentinel Dome, maybe Fern Ledge) and then hike Half Dome on Friday.

I've checked about every weather forecast for the region and it looks like that Friday still might be the best chance we get during our stay (arrival late PM Wednesday and scheduled to leave Sunday morning to continue our trip to Utah). However I'm very concerned that the trails might be still in a very difficult condition on Friday due to the snow and rain. And let's not forget about the cables. I've done Half Done before - so I know what to expect.

Hiking Half Dome on Saturday would be another option but if possible we would like to avoid the Saturday's crowds.

So what are your opinions: is there a chance we will be able to do a successful hike to the top of Half Dome on Friday or Saturday?!

Thanks!

PS: Obviously we want to take every chance we have as we have prepared for this hike a couple of months but I'm mature enough not to take high risks just to make it to the top.
avatar Re: Half Dome Hike - what are my chances
May 26, 2008 12:39PM
Good weather forecast. Your chances are 100 percent.

Not sure how fast you hike, but if you keep a decent pace I would recommend you leave your car at about 8:30 a.m., by the time you get to the cables they won't be so crowded.
Re: Half Dome Hike - what are my chances
May 26, 2008 12:53PM
I like the chances you quoted. smiling smiley

Actually I'm planning to be at the Happy Isles trailhead at around 5:30am to be at the cables as early as possible (last year I started around 5:45am and there wasn't too much traffic at the cables and an overall very pleasant hike up with very little trail traffic).
Re: Half Dome Hike - what are my chances
May 26, 2008 02:12PM
Actually, Friday looks pretty good...I'd have gladly traded last Monday's miserably hot weather for your predicted '51 to 61 at 8000 feet'. It may only have been 80 or so up in the 7000' approach area, but we were packing snow inside our hats just to be able to cross the sunny areas, and hating every one of them.

I like your prospective time to leave...it should get you up there (figuring average hiking speed and pausing to enjoy things) before the cables get too busy, though you may have a crowd as you go back down.

We usually stay at Upper Pines, and I've noticed that Friday has significantly more 'obvious' Half Dome hikers leaving than Mon-Thur, so if anything, leave earlier rather than later, but 5:30 should work. I'd check out the 140-120 intersection the day before so you know if there's any delay.

There was plenty of patchy snow around 7000' and above last week, nothing to interfere with the hike though, and I'd have welcomed some more around the evil granite steps. I doubt this week's snow will have much sticking power; looking at the Sentinel Dome webcam, the snow is already gone from there.

I would certainly plan on Friday with that weather prediction...it's a great hike, so there's not much to lose.

I assume the rivers may not be raging quite as much as during the hot spell, but just keep in mind that the mist trail is wetter than I've ever seen it, and I'd expect to get drenched. We all used ponchos, but even at that pantlegs etc. were drenched, and a spare pair of dry socks saved the hike for one of us who had shorts on (socks got wet from the top). Quick-dry convertible pants/shorts are perfect for this situation.

Enjoy your hike, and be glad for the mild weather.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Half Dome Hike - what are my chances
May 27, 2008 04:46PM
Sierrafan wrote:

> We usually stay at Upper Pines, and I've noticed that Friday
> has significantly more 'obvious' Half Dome hikers leaving than
> Mon-Thur, so if anything, leave earlier rather than later, but
> 5:30 should work. I'd check out the 140-120 intersection the
> day before so you know if there's any delay.

I agree. When I did Half Dome last June (on a Thursday as part of my backpacking trip) it wasn't terribly crowded from 10 AM when I got there to about noon when I got down.

The next day I hiked to Clouds Rest, where I took lots of pictures of Half Dome. The long lines were extremely noticeable from about 11 AM to about 1 PM.

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