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Re: New guy/hiker, Half Dome under full moon in September?

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New guy/hiker, Half Dome under full moon in September?
July 24, 2014 12:47PM
Hello everyone! Found this forum Googling for Half Dome full moon hike info. Alot of good stuff here! So my story.....

I visited Yosemite the week of July 8th, won a lottery permit for Half Dome back in April and hiked Tuesday, July 8th. I did not get to the cables because of a storm in the distance. Ranger was at the steps of sub dome checking permits and warning of the storm and you could see it in the next valley over. Some of us went ahead and headed up the steps but I got 3/4 of the way up and the rain started so I turned back. That rock aint going nowhere! Some people were still going up but I just didn't feel it. This was my first hike of any kind, I was by my self and just wasn't confident enough to keep going. I ended up taking Mist up and JMT down, 12 hours, 20 miles, got a little lost at the begining in Happy Isles in the dark but once I found the correct trail head I was fine.

I live in Cincinnati, Ohio and had really looking forward to getting up them cables. Soooooooo much to my fiances dismay I am thinking about planning a trip back out to Yosemite the week of September 9 for a supermoon night hike up the cables. I will have to get in line for first come, first serve to get a permit for Half Dome but this time I am thinking hike to LYV around noon the day before, get some sleep and head towards Half Dome around midnight from LYV. I am hoping to find some other people doing the same thing at the same time so I am not alone. Then maybe hang around in the woods for a day or two and hit Liberty Cap, Clouds Rest and Diving Board. Just kinda go on how I feel and just get out on the trail.

I guess my question is, me not being a seasoned hiker but in pretty good shape and good on my feet for a fifty year old, if I had to do these alone would you seasoned guys recommend I didn't go to any of those areas by myself?

I was completely floored by Yosemite and the hike the first time. I think this really lit a spark in me to be out in the woods, relax and enjoy life!

Thanks for any info or advice you can give me!
Re: New guy/hiker, Half Dome under full moon in September?
July 24, 2014 01:30PM
Some may disagree--and my intent is not to be rude--but if finding the right trail at Happy Isles was an issue, I would probably recommend not visiting Diving Board unless you have previous off-trail navigating experiences. There are well worn use-trails, but not all of them lead a safe route. I would opt for Cloud's Rest and other maintained trails in the area.
Re: New guy/hiker, Half Dome under full moon in September?
July 24, 2014 02:08PM
The problem with the trail was when you are heading from Curry down that walk towards the first bridge at the JMT/river there is a sign that says hikers right and almost like a no trespassing sign at the junction to the parking lot so I ended up in the parking lot and took the trail from there to Happy Isles. I am a little unsure about the trail to Diving Board. I have looked at quite a few of the maps on here and it looks like there in a few different ways.
Re: New guy/hiker, Half Dome under full moon in September?
July 24, 2014 09:00PM
Ah, I see. Well if you're going to do it, this is the right place to be. When I did it, I approached it from Little Yosemite Valley (actually hopped over to the lake just east of Liberty where the trail splits) and followed use trail on south side of Lost Lake. The trail there is well worn and easy to follow. At the end of the lake the trail seems to become multiple routes some marked by ducks, which people dislike and knock down so don't rely on them being there. If there, don't necessarily rely on them to be pointing you in the right direction! Some people may have gps waypoints or routes they took, if you have a device I'm sure someone would be willing to share.
Re: New guy/hiker, Half Dome under full moon in September?
July 24, 2014 04:55PM
I admire your good judgment at the cables. That's no place to be in
foul weather. You made the right call.

As for hiking alone - I've been to most of the usual spots in/around the
Valley, and always hike alone. No whining kids. Nobody making cell
phone calls. No arguments. Nobody getting tired. And, nobody to
dispute the big stories you tell when you get home.

If you stay on marked trails and don't outkick your coverage,
you'll be fine.
Re: New guy/hiker, Half Dome under full moon in September?
July 24, 2014 06:33PM
What AnotherDave said. Also....If you plan on (solo) hiking a "use trail" or "off trail" (e.g. Tenaya Canyon beyond the bridge, the Diving Board, the Ledge trail etc.), let a responsible person know your itinerary and be sure to check in on your return. And have fun.
Re: New guy/hiker, Half Dome under full moon in September?
July 27, 2014 08:57PM
The trouble with the Diving Board is that it is rough hiking - if you dislike very steep slopes with loose soil/scree and shoving through brush, it's not probably going to be enjoyable. The climber's route involves a LOT of exposure - that would be the route if you follow the obvious use trails up the hill from the saddle - and walking out narrow cracks in steep slab, friction walking on steep slabs, and being comfortable with that is needed.

If you want to try the hiker route, instead of going up from the saddle, head down and right - it doesn't look like a route but there is a trail along the granite apron under oak trees. Follow the granite ridge along until you are starting to descend instead of traverse, and cut right - look for ducks/cairns that mark the use trail that crosses the creek bed through boulders and it will traverse along steep forested slops for another 1/4 - 1/2 mile to the bottom of the route. You may see pink flagging. There is a sawed off stump of about six inches tall x six inches in diameter, looks not unlike a stump of a fence post, that I always confirm that route with - there are zillions of use trails around and some of them lead you off into manzanita hell. This one takes you up steeply to a short hands-and-feet climb with good holds, and from the top of that climb you bear right and up until you gain the top of the ridge and walk over to the Diving Board. Some routes are better than others. Bearing more right than up leads you to tiny pools and green meadow - there is a spring on the slope that may dry late in summer.

I've also gone from the bridge down to the Silver Apron, along the river, and then up the hill between Broderick and the ridge - also very steep, but we ran into some pink flagging along the way. Someone flagged a route from there to the sawed off stump I mention above.

The saddle is a flat-ish area in the open sun, a little brushy, after you navigate the use trail along Lost Lake and up through some trees - you emerge from the trees and see to the right a marked trail that goes straight up the hill to climber's ducks and the climber's route. Either hike left along the granite or along the base of the granite as described to avoid the slabs. I had someone experience a full panic attack on the slabs. You have to really trust your shoes.

This is not a walk in the park but a full body experience... I don't take the balance challenged or people who don't like dirt. There are ways to walk up it but it's real easy to find the ways that end you in manzanita on a cliff top.
avatar Re: New guy/hiker, Half Dome under full moon in September?
July 28, 2014 07:27AM
If you are really set on Diving Board go the Lost Lake / Shrub Gully route.
It is by far the safest and easiest route up. Especially since you are going to be
in LYV. But honestly... imo you should go up Clouds Rest & Half a Dome first.
If still spry... then maybe the others.
There are many cairns along the route... but best best is GPS nowadays imo.
If you have one and need a track just hollar.
Been up to da board many times always with backpack... and gone every way up
there Silver Apron / variations / Lib Gully / Climbers Route / Non Climbers / Lost Lake
blah blah blah... and seriously.. Lost Lake is the best for first time... and imo
it is actually an easier hike than Half a Dome. .... just look at the elevation diff.
But, as they say... YMMV
Half a Dome Fun out der
Chick-on is looking at you!



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: New guy/hiker, Half Dome under full moon in September?
July 28, 2014 02:26PM
I am gobbling up all the Diving Board info that this forum
has to offer. Hoping to get there IF this years trip actually
happens in September. 33 days and counting. Maybe.
Re: New guy/hiker, Half Dome under full moon in September?
July 29, 2014 07:02PM
After sifting through all the routes and info I could find I am thinking lost Lake route as well. Looking at doing diving board, half dome under the super moon, clouds rest and liberty cap if I have the energy over three days. Seems like being based out of lyv this are all in the general area.

Right now I am looking into equipment and just general info on spending 3 days, 2 nights in the wilderness for the first time.

I am a sponge here, tell me anything you think might help a rook. One thing I am starting to be concerned with is food and nutrition. Not looking into any type of cooking just cold ready to eat food. Maybe lots of pbj sandwiches, granola, energy bars?
Re: New guy/hiker, Half Dome under full moon in September?
July 29, 2014 08:28PM
Don't be afraid/feel like a loser to backtrack and leave if it feels wrong. Better to be safe than SARry.

As for food, trailcooking.com is helpful and got me well on the road past "tired of these freaking bars" into variety and sanity. There is absolutely nothing better than a hot meal at the end of a dirty tired day - except of course for pizza on the way home to a hot shower.
avatar Re: New guy/hiker, Half Dome under full moon in September?
July 31, 2014 06:07AM
Just for the record (yes, you can find it elsewhere... ) ...
but this is the Lost Lake / Shrub Gully route:


If you are adept at reading topo maps... you can plainly see the gully on the topo.

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: New guy/hiker, Half Dome under full moon in September?
July 31, 2014 01:02PM
Great, thank you Sir! That is the route I was looking for. Probably the safest for my experiance level.

Thanks everyone, I will let you know how it goes.
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