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Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

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Visit on 24 July

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Visit on 24 July
July 06, 2008 11:13PM
I'm after some quick advice. I'm planning a passing-through visit to Yosemite on the 24th July with a group of fit people who are after a challenging walk. The Half Dome hike looks perfect, but I'm unclear whether we can just turn up and walk it, or whether we need a permit. Can anyone clarify this?

Getting a permit will be impossible for us, as we are on a tight schedule and won't be able to get there the day to queue up in the morning. If this means we can't do the walk, what else would you suggest for us? Would prefer to walk far and get away from the crowds a bit, rather than doing a bunch of short little walks to lookouts!

We're coming from Santa Barbara on the 23rd, then heading back to San Fran on the next day (25th), so will be staying outside the park somewhere probably. Any suggestions?

Thanks for your help.
avatar Re: Visit on 24 July
July 07, 2008 01:10AM
As a day hike you don't need a permit. But you do need to start early, it's a long hike with a lot of altitude gain.

Re: Visit on 24 July
July 07, 2008 04:43AM
Best of luck on the accomodations. You may be staying WELL outside the park.

I'd suggest googling "yosemite lodging" or the such. See if you can luck out and find something reasonably near the park. After the Half Dome day hike you won't feel like driving too far no matter how fit everyone is!

I found a place in El Portal, CA just outside the park about a week earlier, but it is a one star for $160/night.

avatar Re: Visit on 24 July
July 07, 2008 08:54PM
no permit is needed to hike the trail to Half Dome, but like eeek said, you really need to start early, i suggest morning. it will take you all day! be sure to bring plenty of water too, it's hot in Yosemite right now, and probably will continue to be.

if it were me, i'd bring a water purifier.
Re: Visit on 24 July
July 07, 2008 10:26PM
If you don't get a VERY early start to Half Dome (6AM or earlier) you can expect it to be crowded from the granite steps of sub-dome to the top, and back down, which is not generally fun. The trail itself isn't bad though, as people are somewhat spread out over the miles.

A couple of alternatives; park at the base of the 4-mile trail, head up to Glacier point, then down the Panorama trail to the John Muir and mist trails back to Happy Isles, where you can take a shuttle to your car at the 4-mile trailhead. That's more than I really like to do in a day, but it's feasible if everyone's in good shape, and it's a fantastic hike. Probably about 13 miles, but the first 4.5 are very 'up'. The mist trail back will give your knees a workout, and you'll be ready to call it a day, I'd guess.

The other would be the Upper Yosemite Falls trail and on to Eagle Peak, then back. The Upper Yosemite Falls trail is a toughie, but the nice part is that if you get to the top and everyone still feels like they're in good shape 8^), you can continue on to Eagle Peak. If not, you can head back down, and I've never known anyone to do the upper falls trail and back and not be beat by the time they're back. Eagle Peak and back to the valley are about 12.5 miles, very strenuous. The upper falls trail itself is only 7-8 depending on where you go at the top, but it's not easy. Another fantastic hike though.

The Half Dome trip is great, but if you can't get to the trailhead early, may not be so wonderful, which is why I suggested the alternatives. For the Falls trail, you might have to park near the village at day use parking, and take the shuttle to Camp 4/sunnyside where the trail begins. Or possibly park at the Swinging bridge picnic area, cross over via the walkway to the Lodge and over to Camp 4.

Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Visit on 24 July
July 08, 2008 12:14AM
We did half dome last Monday. We started at 5:00 a.m. and the cables were too crowded for my taste when we started our ascent (10:30 ish). It was worse coming down, but easier to do so I guess it balanced out. We each had a gallon of water with us and drank every drop. It took us 12 hours total which is probably average, but it was our first time. What I want to know is how the marmot got up there!

I'd add pictures, but I am just not that technologically savvy.

avatar Re: Visit on 24 July
July 08, 2008 07:58AM
If you go for Half Dome, I highly recommend bringing a water purifier - it is almost in the 'life saving' category IMHO - you will see many many folks desperate for more water, and you won't be burdened by carrying a gallon or two from the start.

Post Edited (07-08-08 07:59)
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