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Re: Half Dome Diving Board Route

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Half Dome Diving Board Route
July 05, 2005 09:20PM
Climbed in early June to the "Diving Board" on the NW shoulder of Half Dome and wanted to give you our route (thanks to Bernardo at the Curry Village Mountaineering Shop for route instructions). Depart from the Happy Isles Trailhead for the top of Nevada Falls. You can take either the Mist Trail (2.5 miles) or the John Muir Trail (4 miles), the latter trail being slightly less steep and drier. Continue over the footbridge at the top of Nevada Falls on the JMT toward Little Yosemite Valley. Approximately 1/2 to 3/4 miles further, look for a climbers use trail veering left (north), marked by a pile of rocks where it departs from the JMT. The trail climbs over a small ridge and is easy to follow. This is the trail that rock climbers use to access the Snake Dike route up the south face of Half Dome. The trail winds to the west and slightly north, and skirts the south side of Lost Lake (6200'). Past the lake the trail becomes slightly harder to follow and you have to keep your eye open for rock cairns on top of open rock ridges. At about 6300' the trail steepens significantly, and becomes even harder to follow, although we were able to pick up cairns here and there. Basically, you will be climbing up manzanita-covered rock with some loose gravel and heavy underbrush, although signs of a fire in the past appear to have made the amount of thrashing through manzanita much easier. The trail continues to climb for another 2 miles from Lost Lake to the Diving Board area (7500'). As you climb above your view begins to open up and you can direct yourself to the final location without difficulty. The view of Half Dome from the Diving Board is absolutely awesome! No picture can capture the sheer expanse of the profile of Half Dome,although Ansel Adams did a great job with "Monolith: The Face of Half Dome". The views straight down were staggering, as was the view up Tenaya Canyon. Have climbed to the top of Half Dome before on the cables, and found this route and views far more worthwhile! Mainly because HD is not in your view when you are on top of it. Took the Mist Trail down on the way home and was happy for the cold shower. Many would recommend taking the Mist up and the JMT down for easier footing. Our route was about 7 miles up to the Diving Board by way of the JMT (5.5 hours with lunch/water break at the top of Nevada Falls), and 5.5 miles down by way of the Mist Trail (3 hours with photo stops). A FANTASTIC climb requiring no special climbing or orienteering skills. Highly recommended!!

avatar Re: Half Dome Diving Board Route
July 05, 2005 11:19PM
I really need to do that route someday. It has always had my interest and your description just makes me want to try it all the more.

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