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Re: Half Dome permits

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avatar Half Dome permits
January 29, 2010 11:05AM
Day-use permits required starting May 1.

Beginning in May, 400 permits will be issued per day, 300 of these will be day-use permits and 100 will be included in wilderness permits.

The permits are free, although there will be a $1.50 service charge per permit. Up to four permits may be obtained under one reservation.

The permits will be available starting March 1 through www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. Each person climbing the Half Dome cables will be required to have their own permit.



Read more: http://www.modbee.com/local/story/1028158.html
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 29, 2010 11:32AM
I think the key is that it's only required for Friday/Saturday/Sunday/Holidays.

I went on a Thursday and didn't find the cables crowded at all.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 29, 2010 12:08PM
The Modesto Bee Article is unclear about when the permits apply. Here is info from the NPS:

Yosemite News Release
January 29, 2010
For Immediate Release
Media Contacts:
Scott Gediman 209-372-0248
Kari Cobb 209-372-0529
Yosemite National Park Announces Interim Program for
Half Dome Day Use Permits to Address Visitor Safety
Program to begin May 2010
Hiking to the top of Half Dome is one of the most popular hikes in Yosemite National Park. The
iconic granite monolith, at 8,842 feet above sea level, attracts people from all over the world who
attempt to climb to the summit. Most visitors ascend Half Dome via the cables, which are in place
from mid-May through mid-October.
Approximately 84,000 people climbed to the top of Half Dome in 2008. Although there are
several trailheads leading to the cables on Half Dome, the majority of visitors start their hike at
the Happy Isles Trailhead in Yosemite Valley.
The increase in popularity of the hike has resulted in large numbers of visitors using the cables,
particularly on weekends and holidays. During last summer, Saturdays and holidays averaged
840 visitors per day. On peak days, visitor numbers were estimated at 1100 to 1200. This
increase has resulted in significant safety concerns. Specifically, there was both a visitor fatality
and a visitor who sustained serious injuries on the cables during two consecutive crowded
weekends last summer. This increase in use has also impacted the resources and has
negatively affected the visitor experience. For example, visitors have had to wait up to an hour to
ascend the cables on a busy day.
In an effort to address these issues, the park will institute an interim program that will require a
Day Use Permit to hike the cables on Half Dome on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays
starting in May, 2010.
Four hundred permits will be issued per day, 300 of these will be Day Use
Permits and 100 will be included in wilderness permits. These permits are required for the use of
the trail from the base of the Subdome to the summit of Half Dome and include the Half Dome
cable route.
The Half Dome Day Use Permits will be available starting March 1, 2010 through
www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. Each person climbing the Half Dome cables
will be required to have their own permit. Up to four permits may be obtained under one
reservation. The permits are free, however, there is a non-refundable $1.50 service charge for
each permit obtained.
During this interim program, visitor use and impacts to the park will be monitored. Yosemite
National Park Rangers will be studying visitor use and safety, assessing the visitor experience,
and compiling data that will be analyzed by park managers. At this point, the interim program will
be in effect for the 2010 visitor season, as well as the 2011 visitor season. An Environmental
Assessment process for a long-term plan for the Half Dome Cables will begin public scoping in
spring 2010. (K Cobb 1/29/10)

(BTW isn't there a comprehensive report due or overdue on Half Dome?)

100 wilderness permits to include a Half Dome climb seems quite a few!



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
February 08, 2010 02:39PM
Quote
Frank Furter

(BTW isn't there a comprehensive report due or overdue on Half Dome?)

If I missed this discussion here, apologies, but the 2008 Half Dome study has been finished since spring 2009. I don't know when it showed up on the website and I don't recall a mention on this forum.

http://www.nps.gov/yose/naturescience/half-dome-cables.htm

http://www.nps.gov/yose/naturescience/upload/half-dome-study-2010.pdf



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 29, 2010 12:08PM
Same here, both times I've been up the cables were on weekdays other than Fri, plus both times very early in the season, and crowding wasn't an issue at all. I have to say tho that even having only a dozen people on the cables is scary enough!

Here's a question for you: If you can't get a day permit, what's to stop anyone from getting a wilderness permit and just doing the day hike? You could tell a ranger you left your overnight stuff down at LYV
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 29, 2010 12:18PM
Quote
Vince
what's to stop anyone from getting a wilderness permit and just doing the day hike?

Honesty would stop me. But the LYV quota fills up so I doubt that would work.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 29, 2010 12:35PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
Vince
what's to stop anyone from getting a wilderness permit and just doing the day hike?

Honesty would stop me. But the LYV quota fills up so I doubt that would work.

Well - the dishonest person would simply ask for another less-impacted permit trailhead (let's say Sunrise Lakes) and claim that the plan is to go up HD the next day and asking for the HD permit that day. I went up HD wearing a daypack - leaving most of my equipment at a base camp. I looked like I was doing it as a day hike.

What I'm thinking might happen is that it pushes more people to attempt this on weekdays where they won't need a permit.

I really don't think instituting an additional permit for wilderness permit holders makes much difference. It messes with a lot of people's plans to climb HD by reserving the wilderness permit well in advance and then hoping that they can get the additional HD permit when they pick up their wilderness permit. Wilderness permit holders are a small fraction of those who do HD. However - I'm guessing that the additional HD permit for wilderness permit holders is meant to discourage applications for wilderness permits meant only for HD hikers who want to attempt it as a day hike.
Re: Half Dome permits
January 29, 2010 01:18PM
Thanks Vince for posting this. I have done half dome and don't have alot of desire to do it again. BUT, my brother in law wants to do it, so i told him i would show him the way this June. Hope i can get a permit now that i have a curry village reservation. How does this work when a group of say boy scouts wants to go since you can only get a reservation for four. How am i going to get a permit, when i drive up at 4am to hike the trail. Now i am going to have to go the day before. I see the reason for this, but this kinda sucks.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 29, 2010 01:27PM
Quote
Roadrash
Thanks Vince for posting this. I have done half dome and don't have alot of desire to do it again. BUT, my brother in law wants to do it, so i told him i would show him the way this June. Hope i can get a permit now that i have a curry village reservation. How does this work when a group of say boy scouts wants to go since you can only get a reservation for four. How am i going to get a permit, when i drive up at 4am to hike the trail. Now i am going to have to go the day before. I see the reason for this, but this kinda sucks.

Great question, perhaps one Yosemite didn't anticipate?

I'm curious if unused or unclaimed permits will be available, something like what the Mt Whitney permit process does
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 29, 2010 02:12PM
Quote
Vince
Quote
Roadrash
Thanks Vince for posting this. I have done half dome and don't have alot of desire to do it again. BUT, my brother in law wants to do it, so i told him i would show him the way this June. Hope i can get a permit now that i have a curry village reservation. How does this work when a group of say boy scouts wants to go since you can only get a reservation for four. How am i going to get a permit, when i drive up at 4am to hike the trail. Now i am going to have to go the day before. I see the reason for this, but this kinda sucks.

Great question, perhaps one Yosemite didn't anticipate?

I'm curious if unused or unclaimed permits will be available, something like what the Mt Whitney permit process does

It's through Recreation.gov - just like campsite reservations. I think you just print out the receipt and that serves as your permit. They also say that once you get four you can try again for another four. I'm thinking it's going to be like a zoo though - just like the campgrounds on the 15th of the month.

However - I'd think that the ideal solution would be not to try it on a weekend. If we're talking scouts, then they typically have summer vacations.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/29/2010 02:15PM by y_p_w.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 29, 2010 02:15PM
Quote
Roadrash
Thanks Vince for posting this. I have done half dome and don't have alot of desire to do it again. BUT, my brother in law wants to do it, so i told him i would show him the way this June. Hope i can get a permit now that i have a curry village reservation. How does this work when a group of say boy scouts wants to go since you can only get a reservation for four. How am i going to get a permit, when i drive up at 4am to hike the trail. Now i am going to have to go the day before. I see the reason for this, but this kinda sucks.

I think you would be ill-advised to wait until the day of climb in summer to get a permit. If the numbers can be kept to 400/day that should be GREAT. Enforcement could be tough however. It seems obvious to me the actual permits used will be far short of 400 as there will be many requested but never used, especially if they can be obtained months in advance.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/29/2010 02:21PM by Frank Furter.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 29, 2010 02:40PM
Quote
Frank Furter
Quote
Roadrash
Thanks Vince for posting this. I have done half dome and don't have alot of desire to do it again. BUT, my brother in law wants to do it, so i told him i would show him the way this June. Hope i can get a permit now that i have a curry village reservation. How does this work when a group of say boy scouts wants to go since you can only get a reservation for four. How am i going to get a permit, when i drive up at 4am to hike the trail. Now i am going to have to go the day before. I see the reason for this, but this kinda sucks.

I think you would be ill-advised to wait until the day of climb in summer to get a permit. If the numbers can be kept to 400/day that should be GREAT. Enforcement could be tough however. It seems obvious to me the actual permits used will be far short of 400 as there will be many requested but never used, especially if they can be obtained months in advance.

That's the thing. Several of the announcements state that they will ONLY be available through the Recreation.gov website or through the NRRS phone system, and that the latest one can be reserved is a week in advance. They WON'T be issuing HD day use permits at Yosemite NP.

The other thing that was stated is that they will station NPS personnel at the base of the cables to enforce this. However, time of day could be an issue if some people arrive really early or really late.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 29, 2010 02:54PM
I think there will be a ton of no-shows. There doesn't seem to be a way of getting your hands on an unused permit.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 29, 2010 03:48PM
Quote
mrcondron
I think there will be a ton of no-shows. There doesn't seem to be a way of getting your hands on an unused permit.

Further info at http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hdpermits.htm

See questions about the permits at:

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hdfaq.htm

(I am posting the entire text as it is in public domain for public distribution)

Yosemite National Park
Frequently Asked Questions about Half Dome Permits



Why is the National Park Service implementing this permit system now?
We are implementing this permit system now in order to increase safety. In 2009, one near-fatality and one fatality occurred on consecutive Saturdays on the Half Dome cables during inclement weather. These two incidents, plus others in recent years, brought to park management’s attention the potential for other serious situations on the Half Dome cables.


How long will this interim program continue?
This program is being implemented as an emergency safety measure for 2010. If significant crowding or other major issues are observed, modifications to the program will be effected during the 2010 and 2011 seasons.


How will the NPS develop a long-term plan?
The National Park Service will initiate an environmental assessment process for a long-term plan for the Half Dome cables beginning in spring 2010. This plan is expected to be implemented in the 2012 season. The plan will benefit from maximum public involvement. Please visit www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/halfdome.htm to learn how you can get involved.


Who needs a permit to hike to Half Dome?
All people hiking to Half Dome on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and federal holidays while the cables are up must have a permit. (The cables are usually up from the third weekend in May through Columbus Day, conditions permitting.)

Technical rock climbers ascending Half Dome without entering the subdome area do not need a permit to descend the cables.

Backpackers will receive a Half Dome permit with their wilderness permit if their wilderness itinerary includes Half Dome (no additional reservations are necessary). (Wilderness permits are already subject to a quota system.)


How can I obtain a permit to hike Half Dome?
Visit www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvist/hdpermits.htm for details about Half Dome permits.

You can obtain a permit to hike Half Dome by visiting www.recreation.gov or by calling 877/444-6777. (We recommend using the website.) You can get up to four permits per web session or phone call. Each permit has a service fee of $1.50.

Permits are only available in advance and will not be available in Yosemite.


Why aren’t permits available in Yosemite on a first-come, first-served basis?
The very high demand we would expect for the relatively few first-come, first-served permits available would lead to a frustrating experience for visitors and would be difficult to manage. However, we may consider offering some permits on a first-come, first-served basis (one day in advance) in the future, as well as other changes to the permit system, based on our experiences this year.


Why can I only get four permits at one time?
We have made this limit in order to prevent people from purchasing an excessive number of permits. We chose this number because 90% of Half Dome hikers are in groups of four or fewer.


What if my family/group has more than four people?
If your group has more than four people, you will need to go through the permit process more than once.


Why is the quota 400 people per day?
Free-flowing conditions prevent additional fatigue to hikers waiting on the cables and allow an orderly evacuation down the cables if a fast moving storm approaches. Free-flowing conditions generally occur on weekdays, during which time, an average of 390 people per day use the cables. The quota includes 300 day hikers and 100 backpackers.


Are the permits transferable?
Yes. You can give a permit to anyone else, but each permit can only be used once. Permits cannot be resold or auctioned.


Is there any benefit to canceling a permit if I know I won’t use it?
The Half Dome permit is non-refundable. However, if you cancel a permit far enough in advance, someone else may be able to use it. Once a permit is cancelled, it becomes available again via www.recreation.gov or 877/444-6777.


If someone with a permit does not show up, can I wait at the base of the subdome and take their place?
No, you must have a valid permit in possession to show the ranger.


Can I stay at the base of the cables and wait for other members of my group to hike to the top of the cables and back?
No—hikers without a permit cannot go beyond the base of the subdome.

What is the penalty for not having a permit? If you attempt to hike beyond the subdome or up the cables without a valid permit, a ranger will turn you away at or near the subdome. Additionally, you could face misdemeanor charges—up to a $5,000 fine and/or six months in jail.

The ranger may not be stationed 24 hours per day, however, other rangers will be patrolling the corridor and rangers may be stationed at the subdome at any time. Regardless of whether a ranger is present, you must have a permit in possession in order to hike beyond the base of the subdome (including the Half Dome cables). The ranger checking the permits will be stationed in the area of the subdome and will not allow any person without a permit beyond the base of the subdome.


What happens if it is storming on the day of my permit?
Permits are only valid for the date specified and are non-refundable.


Instead of requiring permits, why not station a ranger at the base of Half Dome only when a storm is threatening?
There are other factors that can make the Half Dome cables dangerous besides storms. We cannot mitigate all potentially dangerous situations that could occur in wilderness. Additionally, storms are often difficult to predict and it’s not practical to rely on a ranger to be available to respond to the Half Dome area in a timely manner every time there is a storm.


Isn’t part of the wilderness experience taking and assuming risks associated with outdoor activities such as climbing Half Dome?
When we install and maintain a structure or facility, such as the Half Dome cables, we have a responsibility to ensure that structure or facility is safe. The number of people hiking to Half Dome, and thus using the cables, has steadily increased over the last 20 years. The cables constrain the flow of hikers both up to and down from the summit more than any other part of the route to the top. Having this limit is similar to ensuring that the safe capacity of our theater or busses is not exceeded.


What is the safe capacity on the Half Dome cables?
There is no safe maximum occupancy established for the Half Dome cables. However, our preliminary research shows that travel on the cables becomes inhibited when use is more than 400 hikers per day. When use exceeds 400 people per day, the cables become congested and travel up and down takes significantly longer.


Why not redesign the cables to accommodate more people?
Any long-term solutions or permanent changes will be addressed in the planning process that will be initiated in spring 2010 and all reasonable and feasible options will be evaluated in the environmental assessment.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan




Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 01/29/2010 04:50PM by Frank Furter.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 29, 2010 04:12PM
Quote

Why aren’t permits available in Yosemite on a first-come, first-served basis?
The very high demand we would expect for the relatively few first-come, first-served permits available would lead to a frustrating experience for visitors and would be difficult to manage. However, we may consider offering some permits on a first-come, first-served basis (one day in advance) in the future, as well as other changes to the permit system, based on our experiences this year.

There's what I was looking for.

I expect the current system to be modified several times. The permit system is a great idea and a long time in coming.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 29, 2010 05:09PM
Is there an answer to the question of how I'm supposed to do Half Dome if I get a first-come-first-served wilderness permit?

I need to be able to pick up the HD permit at the time I pick up the W permit at the office in the valley! Or is the wilderness permit sufficient?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/29/2010 05:09PM by qumqats.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 29, 2010 05:26PM
Quote
qumqats
Is there an answer to the question of how I'm supposed to do Half Dome if I get a first-come-first-served wilderness permit?

I need to be able to pick up the HD permit at the time I pick up the W permit at the office in the valley! Or is the wilderness permit sufficient?

The answer is here:

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hdpermits.htm

Quote

Note: Backpackers with an appropriate wilderness permit can receive a Half Dome permit when they pick up their wilderness permit with no additional reservation required. Rock climbers who reach the top of Half Dome without entering the subdome area can descend on the Half Dome Trail without a permit.

However - I'm hearing that it's 100 permits per day for wilderness permit holders. I think it's just declaring your itinerary with the specific date you intend to to go up HD, and they only approve it for the first 100 permits that request going up HD on any particular Fri/Sat/Sun/holiday. Still - it hasn't been fully clarified how this is going to work.

In any case, you can get around it by not going up HD on a weekend or holiday.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 30, 2010 12:17AM
Quote
y_p_w
However - I'm hearing that it's 100 permits per day for wilderness permit holders.

I wonder how well that fits with the trailhead quotas.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 30, 2010 09:13AM
Quote
eeek
Quote
y_p_w
However - I'm hearing that it's 100 permits per day for wilderness permit holders.

I wonder how well that fits with the trailhead quotas.

Not everyone would do Half Dome the same way. I could imagine going up HD the same day as the trailhead entry. Maybe the tail end of a 7 day trip starting at Wawona. The quota is 40 for permits that allow someone to stay at LYV (common for HD hikers) on the first night, but there can be well over 150 people there on a good night. I'm not sure exactly how well the trailhead quotas line up with HD trips, since a lot of people work Half Dome into their backpacking plans from all over Yosemite.

Again - I'd think the big thing they'll find is that the number of people doing this on weekdays will go up.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 30, 2010 09:26AM
It would be interesting to clarify the difference between "enforcement ranger" and "interpretive ranger" duties and powers. Anyone actually know about this subject for sure?



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 30, 2010 11:50AM
Quote
Frank Furter
It would be interesting to clarify the difference between "enforcement ranger" and "interpretive ranger" duties and powers. Anyone actually know about this subject for sure?

Well - I was thinking the reference was to law enforcement rangers. They're the ones vested with law enforcement responsibilities, and they carry guns. They travel in white vehicles with green stripes that are marked "PARK RANGER"; the are pretty much police vehicles and usually come with light bars. They also wear these oversized badges with an eagle. I once looked up the starting salaries of NPS park rangers, and LE rangers start much higher. I've even seen some LE rangers wearing "battle dress uniform" pants like some police officers wear. It's my understanding that some NPS park superintendents have been LE rangers at some point. In Yosemite, I've seen LE rangers do things as basic as running winter tire chain checks and take photos for visitors. Once I talked to one after he took a photo of visitors, asking him "They don't seem to realize you're law enforcement". He smiled and answered that it was part of the job for anyone wearing the hat.

Here's the LE badge on the left and standard ranger badge on the right:



There's also a small unit of the NPS with law enforcement duties called the U.S. Parks Police. They've got primary LE duties around Washington, D.C. (especially the National Mall), New York City, and Golden Gate NRA in San Francisco.

http://www.nps.gov/uspp/
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 30, 2010 10:46PM
I sent off an email using the NPS web site email form, and have already gotten a response that seems to imply the wilderness permit automatically enables you to do Half Dome.

>
>If you get an appropriate wilderness permit (a Little Yosemite Valley permit
>would qualify), you won't need to do anything extra in order to hike to Half Dome.
>
>Jeffrey
>
>National Park Service
>Yosemite National Park
>http://www.nps.gov/yose/
>
>Follow us on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/YosemiteNPS
>
>----qumqats@XXXXXXXXXXXX wrote: -----
>
>To: XXXXXXXXXXXXX@nps.gov
>From: qumqats@XXXXXXXXXXX
>Date: 01/29/2010 10:21PM
>Subject: From NPS.gov: Half Dome permit system
>
>Email submitted from: qumqats@XXXXXXXXXXXXX at /yose/planyourvisit/hdfaq.htm
>
>What is the intended system for Half Dome permit issuance for those
>backpackers who use the walk-in first-come-first-served wilderness permits
>issued at the wilderness permit office in the valley?
>
>Is a walk-in wilderness permit issued for Little Yosemite Valley sufficient?
>


I envision much longer lines forming much earlier at the wilderness permit offices! smiling smiley
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 30, 2010 12:13AM
Quote
Frank Furter
Enforcement could be tough however.

Having a ranger at the base of the cables isn't unusual. That makes enforcement quite easy.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 30, 2010 06:38AM
Quote
eeek
Quote
Frank Furter
Enforcement could be tough however.

Having a ranger at the base of the cables isn't unusual. That makes enforcement quite easy.

Agreed. However, I have never seen a ranger in that area. Sounds like the personnel commitment has been made. Seems like a big expense to have an enforcement ranger on site for those hours. Maybe will be safer in the long run however. I wonder if that is going to be a choice job or the thing they will give to the "new guy" to do!



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/30/2010 06:40AM by Frank Furter.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 30, 2010 08:53AM
It would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall during the discussion of this whole permit process. It seems to me that this is a major change in policy that changes many issues with regard to the Half Dome cables---
if someone falls or is injured during the ranger supervised interval, is the NPS to blame?

will the permit include a waiver of liability?

if someone is injured on weekdays when the cables are not supervised, is the NPS to blame for not providing the oversight?

if someone complains about the condition of the Half Dome cables and the ranger does nothing to ameliorate the situation, is the NPS liable?

will the NPS now have to provide oversight on other "dangerous" hikes throughout the locations at other National Parks?

is the ranger at Half Dome going to prevent those wearing unsafe equipment (flip-flops) from climbing?

will the glove pile be removed from the base of the cables?

will the ranger shut down the cables during lightning and rain? if so, how will the ranger make that decision?

will the ranger intervene in every emergency on the cables (the people that freeze in route, for instance) as many of these get resolved without dramatic intervention?

The plaintiff lawyers are going to love this new protocol!



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 30, 2010 09:03AM
Quote
Frank Furter
Quote
eeek
Quote
Frank Furter
Enforcement could be tough however.

Having a ranger at the base of the cables isn't unusual. That makes enforcement quite easy.

Agreed. However, I have never seen a ranger in that area. Sounds like the personnel commitment has been made. Seems like a big expense to have an enforcement ranger on site for those hours. Maybe will be safer in the long run however. I wonder if that is going to be a choice job or the thing they will give to the "new guy" to do!

I don't think that an enforcement ranger needs to do that. Even an interpretive ranger can write tickets. I've been at various NPS sites where an interpretive ranger saw something that he thought might be a violation, and was talking about perhaps issuing a ticket. I went to HD with a family camping in the the same area, and they told me they were visiting their daughter, who was a college student working as a seasonal ranger. Their description was that she was a stickler for rules and was eager to write up violators.

They could just station a bunch of seasonal rangers there. I think there might even be a place for rangers to sleep near LYV so they wouldn't have to do the full 16 miles every day.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 30, 2010 12:06PM
Quote
y_p_w
I think there might even be a place for rangers to sleep near LYV so they wouldn't have to do the full 16 miles every day.

There's a ranger station at Little Yosemite Valley.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 07:21PM
I believe there are seasonal LE rangers. Ones that have completed training but do not yet have a full time position.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
February 04, 2010 05:15PM
Quote
Roadrash
How does this work when a group of say boy scouts wants to go since you can only get a reservation for four.

You could have several leaders get permits. But I'd think twice before taking a large group of boy scouts up those cables.

Quote

How am i going to get a permit, when i drive up at 4am to hike the trail. Now i am going to have to go the day before. I see the reason for this, but this kinda sucks.

Yes, crowding sucks. The way to deal with it is exactly what they are wanting: shift your hike to Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
February 04, 2010 05:58PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
Roadrash
How does this work when a group of say boy scouts wants to go since you can only get a reservation for four.

You could have several leaders get permits. But I'd think twice before taking a large group of boy scouts up those cables.

Quote

How am i going to get a permit, when i drive up at 4am to hike the trail. Now i am going to have to go the day before. I see the reason for this, but this kinda sucks.

Yes, crowding sucks. The way to deal with it is exactly what they are wanting: shift your hike to Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.

Those days in August can be quite busy also. Without permits, I can conceive of a Monday or Thursday being busier than the controlled weekends. Time will tell.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
February 04, 2010 06:19PM
Quote
Frank Furter
Without permits, I can conceive of a Monday or Thursday being busier than the controlled weekends. Time will tell.

Busier than weekends were last year?
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
February 04, 2010 06:28PM
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eeek
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Frank Furter
Without permits, I can conceive of a Monday or Thursday being busier than the controlled weekends. Time will tell.

Busier than weekends were last year?
Dunno. But it seems likely that there will be shifting around if there is a cap on the weekends.
Last time I went up was in August 2006 and it was painfully crowded, I don't think it was on the weekend.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
February 04, 2010 06:35PM
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Frank Furter
Last time I went up was in August 2006 and it was painfully crowded, I don't think it was on the weekend.

So imagine how much worse the weekend must have been.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
February 04, 2010 08:35PM
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eeek
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Frank Furter
Last time I went up was in August 2006 and it was painfully crowded, I don't think it was on the weekend.

So imagine how much worse the weekend must have been.

I'm trying to understand the numbers. So it averaged about 840 on weekends/holidays with a peak of 1100-1200. So they cap the permits at 400 per day, although 100 seems to be some strange number attached to wilderness permits. So for argument's sake let's say it is up to 400 members of the public climbing HD on weekends/holidays.

I've been doing some reading, and apparently they average something like 394 people on HD for Mon-Thu weekdays. A lot of people have been noting that it's likely that the permit process is going to push more people into trying this Mon-Thu - at least until they extend the permit days. So until that time, they're probably going to average more than 400 a day on Mon-Thu. With the permit and non-permit days, I'm thinking that weekday HD traffic is likely to be higher than weekend HD traffic.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
February 04, 2010 10:39PM
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eeek
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Frank Furter
Without permits, I can conceive of a Monday or Thursday being busier than the controlled weekends. Time will tell.

Busier than weekends were last year?

I'm thinking we might be able to classify many Half Dome hikers into several groups.

1) People who do it as a spur of the moment thing with a few days preparation. I think that might be more likely on weekends when people are off from work or school. Occasionally that might be someone taking a weekday off, but how often would that be? It does change the dynamic of preparation.

2) Backpackers who reserve their permits in advance and typically have the itinerary laid out. It doesn't sound like that's changing.

3) Backpackers going for FCFS permits. I think it was hinted that some day hikers might claim one in order have a permit for a HD day hike.

4) People who have planned trips and reservations for lodging/camping in or around Yosemite and work an attempt at Half Dome into their plans. Personally I'm thinking some of the people who made weekend reservations well in advance (like last year) in anticipation of a summer HD hike are now pissed that they'll need to secure the day use permit.

5) People who have planned well in advance for the hike and are travelling from someplace nearby like Fresno.

It might not push weekdays to 1100 person levels. I would think the spur of the moment weekend HD hikers wouldn't shift to weekdays in large numbers. The backpackers tend to be spread out throughout the week fairly evenly since backpacking trips tend to require days off from work. Those who already planned a HD hike around a weekend lodging reservation are probably worried right now about whether they can get the permit, although I'd think a lot of people with longer reservations might just change the HD plans to a Monday or Thursday.

If I were to guess, there will be a lot of permit no shows - with maybe 320 trying Half Dome on permit days. There might be a little bit of overflow to weekdays for people who couldn't get permits, and that 396 average (I think) from last year might bump up to 450-500 a day on the weekdays. It's going to be interesting. It's likely to discourage a few people from trying it at all if they can't do it on the weekends, and encourage someone people to shift to the non-permit days. The overall number of HD climbers is bound to go down.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
February 04, 2010 11:41PM
The way I r ead it the permit is only required if you go past the warning signs at the base of the subdome. No use checking for a Halfdome Permit anywhere before that as it's not required. I think there will be lots of education along the trail in the way of signs stating a permit is required to summit Halfdome and Rangers along the way may tell you the same if you look like you are trying to summit. Expect a Ranger to be parked at the base of the subdome where the granite stairs start right next to the waring sign.

avatar Re: Half Dome permits
February 05, 2010 02:54PM
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losthillsguy
The way I r ead it the permit is only required if you go past the warning signs at the base of the subdome. No use checking for a Halfdome Permit anywhere before that as it's not required. I think there will be lots of education along the trail in the way of signs stating a permit is required to summit Halfdome and Rangers along the way may tell you the same if you look like you are trying to summit. Expect a Ranger to be parked at the base of the subdome where the granite stairs start right next to the waring sign.

I get what the suggestion was - that it might work better to prevent people from continuing if they don't have their permit and/or aren't wearing proper footwear at an earlier point. That way they've only traveled maybe 4-5 miles from Happy Isles rather than being turned away when they've completed almost the entire 8 miles to HD.

Of course that's not the intent of the permit process. There is no day use quota anywhere else, and if a ranger is stationed at LVY, all it takes is someone claiming to be day hiking to somewhere else even if the intent is Half Dome. Not to mention it wouldn't be covering people trying this from north of the JMT/Clouds Rest Trail junction. Having it at a trail junction could also be tricky to enforce the quotas since off-trail travel is legal.

Certainly - put a ranger at the subdome and enforce the quota without trying to police other things that aren't handled by the quota.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
February 05, 2010 02:56PM
You might see a ranger reminding people about the permit requirement on other parts of the trail. But, as you say, that won't work to enforce it.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 01:18PM
They're going to have to check permits. Where will they do this, at the base of the cables or at the split from the JMT?
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 01:43PM
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Vince
They're going to have to check permits. Where will they do this, at the base of the cables or at the split from the JMT?

They often have a ranger near the base of the cables. I suspect they'll be checking permits there. Might have somebody talking to hikers in the early morning at Happy Isles too.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 07:23PM
A permit is needed to go over the dome thingy with all the stairs. The ranger would probably be stationed there.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 08:04PM
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mrcondron
dome thingy

Subdome?



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 08:12PM
Yeah, that's it.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 08:23PM
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mrcondron
A permit is needed to go over the dome thingy with all the stairs. The ranger would probably be stationed there.

And more to the point: Yes, they'll be enforcing the permit requirement. Unless you are planning on cheating it won't matter how they do it.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 08:38PM
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eeek
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mrcondron
A permit is needed to go over the dome thingy with all the stairs. The ranger would probably be stationed there.

And more to the point: Yes, they'll be enforcing the permit requirement. Unless you are planning on cheating it won't matter how they do it.

I think it is long overdue, although it will change the dynamics of the Half Dome hike (fewer impetuous and callow youths trying to do it by starting off at 3pm from Happy Isles). Apparently, even if permits are still uncommitted, none will be available less than 1 week before the permit date. I suspect that Craigslist and Ebay will see some of these, in spite of the regulations. Also, maybe we will be seeing some covert scalping near Happy Isles by guys with trenchcoats: "Rolex watches" "Half Dome Permits"



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 08:43PM
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Frank Furter
I think it is long overdue,

Indeed!


http://yosemitephotos.net/main.php/v/carlos49er/HD060907.jpg.html
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 08:52PM
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eeek
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Frank Furter
I think it is long overdue,

Indeed!


http://yosemitephotos.net/main.php/v/carlos49er/HD060907.jpg.html

That picture is the best evidence I've seen yet that another cable is needed so that there can safely be a simultaneous up line and down line.

I hope there's not much resistance to that idea during the upcoming planning process.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 10:17PM
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qumqats
That picture is the best evidence I've seen yet that another cable is needed so that there can safely be a simultaneous up line and down line.

I hope there's not much resistance to that idea during the upcoming planning process.

The fact that the cables exist is a product of another time where doing such a thing (drilling large holes into the granite) wasn't thought of as a permanent scar as it is now.

I really can't imagine that in this day an age that Half Dome would have 2" wide holes drilled if the cables as they stand weren't already in place. The only reason we have cables to climb now is that it was done 90 years ago when "resource protection" wasn't the concern it is now.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 10:25PM
Yet, there are other parks with climbing assist devices in place (Moro Rock, Angels Landing come to mind). I suppose if it is considered "trail maintenance" it could be approved.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 01:18PM
Wow, all great thoughts and comments...as always, the devil is in the details

I was up the cables on the last Sunday that they were open in 2009...early October. Started at Glacier Point with a buddy who had never done Half Dome and wanted to do it for his 50th birthday. It was the first time I had been up mid-day on a weekend in probably 30 years. It was ugly, and I would never want to do it again under those circumstances. Lowlights included:

1 being at a standstill on about the third rung up the cables for probably half an hour waiting for somebody further up (who had freaked out) to work his way down
2 many, many people who were going up the outside of the cables, including me at points
3 listening to a debate about whether some guy's dropped blackberry, visible on an exfoliated slab bench about 40 feet outside of the cables and about halfway up, was worth the risk of scrambling out to get, including the possibility of a human chain of people outside the cables to be his "protection". We talked them out of it.
4 meeting a family from Fresno, at 5pm (dark at 7pm!) near the top of Nevada Falls, going towards the summit, who had driven up that day and were planning on topping out and getting back to their car and driving home that night. Said that their friends had done it the previous weekend, took 5 hours under a full moon and didn't need flashlights (I think that I talked them out of it by reminding them that the moon does stay full from one week to the next, and telling them that they were looking at a round trip likely at least twice what their friends claimed).

As many potential permit problems and frustrations that this new and evolving system will cause, it will no doubt prevent many more!
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 02:24PM
Bearproof,

Your story about the late starting family really frightens me about some people's planning and expectations. Not only would there be no full Moon, it would not even have risen by the time they hoped to be heading back down. Had they continued on I have no doubt they might have seen the waning quarter Moon on their way back down at 3:00 in the morning, given their rate of progress.

Jim
Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 04:45PM
Perhaps they should have "inside" & "outside" permits?

Seriously, if they could deny access to the center "Tombstone Trail", traffic flow would be doubled.

Port Up Starboard Down would prevent collisions & panicking.

Risk would be reduced, because climbers wouldn't be hanging for a long time.

The "Freezers" would wait at the bottom.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 02:33PM
After seeing so many people who can barely hike across the street making it to the top of NV Falls, barely, I think checking at the HD turnoff would be the best place since it's close enough to the LYV area. Turning people back at the cables seems a bit a waste of a rangers time, unless they require permit violators to take back a pair of gloves (which would be littered later on)
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 02:35PM
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Vince
I think checking at the HD turnoff would be the best place since it's close enough to the LYV area.

Why is being close to LYV an asset?
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 03:19PM
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Vince
After seeing so many people who can barely hike across the street making it to the top of NV Falls, barely, I think checking at the HD turnoff would be the best place since it's close enough to the LYV area. Turning people back at the cables seems a bit a waste of a rangers time, unless they require permit violators to take back a pair of gloves (which would be littered later on)

Not everyone goes to HD from the south. It's possible to do it in a day from the north. A lot of backpackers approach HD from the north.

They're merely enforcing a quota on the cables, and not judging whether or not people are prepared. It also wouldn't be illegal to hike to below the subdome without a permit, so what's to stop a day hiker from saying that he's going somewhere else from LYV?

My best analogy would be that it would be like placing the Bay Bridge toll plaza in Berkeley.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 02:41PM
It's just easier on the rangers, all I was thinking. Since the area between LYV and HD cables isn't really patrolled anyway, at least not till now. I've not seen a ranger between the two.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 05:03PM
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Vince
Since the area between LYV and HD cables isn't really patrolled anyway

What makes you think that?
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 04:40PM
No one climbs half dome from "the north" as you say, you mean via the JMT from the east to YV.

So check permits at the split between JMT and Half Dome and not at the base of the cables.

Or just not check permits at all, just say you need them just in case we check.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 05:57PM
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Vince
No one climbs half dome from "the north" as you say, you mean via the JMT from the east to YV.

So check permits at the split between JMT and Half Dome and not at the base of the cables.

Or just not check permits at all, just say you need them just in case we check.

I did. I came in from Tenaya Lake and didn't get to LYV until after I'd already done HD and Clouds Rest.

It really only makes sense to institute the permit check where permits are required. The NPS isn't going to be placing personnel to discourage people from doing the hike. They'll be there to enforce the quota.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 04:42PM
Another fun part is this: The cables might not go up till sometime in June. So if you decided on permits in May and everything's all snowed, do you get your $1.50 back (no you won't, nor a rain check)
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 05:06PM
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Vince
Another fun part is this: The cables might not go up till sometime in June. So if you decided on permits in May and everything's all snowed, do you get your $1.50 back (no you won't, nor a rain check)

It already says the fee is not refundable. Why does this worry you?
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 06:13PM
Anyone find amusing that the NPS press release describes free permits that cost $1.50?

Quote

The Half Dome Day Use Permits will be available starting March 1, 2010 through
www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. Each person climbing the Half Dome cables
will be required to have their own permit. Up to four permits may be obtained under one
reservation. The permits are free, however, there is a non-refundable $1.50 service charge for
each permit obtained.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 07:11PM
It's poorly worded.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
February 01, 2010 03:09PM
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Frank Furter
Anyone find amusing that the NPS press release describes free permits that cost $1.50?

I don't think the NPS is getting anything out of it. The reservations are being handled by the Recreation.gov contractor (ReserveAmerica - owned by TicketMaster and ironically based in Canada although they don't make that well known) either by phone or through the website. I'm thinking they're calling it a service fee since the bulk of that $1.50 likely goes to pay for the costs of processing the reservation. I'm guessing that with a normal $20/night campsite reservation, there's generally enough there to pay ReserveAmerica for the costs of operating the reservation server and paying for their human phone operators.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 08:34PM
The NPS Playhouse thanks everyone concerned for their input, comments, suggestions, etc. and wishes to inform you that they will all be incorporated as a subplot in its upcoming production:
http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/muchado/summary.html
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
January 31, 2010 10:16PM
Typical weekend day on the Dome -- quotas, anyone?



Photo Curtesy of Steve C http://www.whitneyzone.com
avatar Re: Half Dome permits
February 01, 2010 02:26PM
I think it would be most likely the rangers would be checking permits rather close to the cables or in the sub dome area where they are often posted anyway. They need to be in close proximity to areas most prone to safety and emergency issues and one would suspect that concern might prevail when choosing where to check permits. It's not like they have a lot of extra people to throw around. The same rangers just got a workload increase.
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