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Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers

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Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 05, 2011 01:17PM
I read this on the Half Dome permit page.

"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."

Can someone tell me how this works? When I go into the permit office to get the permit I just pick a day during the trip and get a guaranteed permit?
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 05, 2011 03:18PM
Quote
traildad
I read this on the Half Dome permit page.

"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."

Can someone tell me how this works? When I go into the permit office to get the permit I just pick a day during the trip and get a guaranteed permit?

Yeah - I think that's how it works. They say they have 100 slots per day for wilderness permit holders, but not everyone does Half Dome, and not everyone does it the first day. There doesn't appear to be any separate way to reserve a spot in the quota for HD, and of course there are those getting walk-up permits.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 06, 2011 11:26AM
Went up last yr. with my day pass permit... so can't tell you exactly what they do...

But I wouldn't worry about it. Even if they give you a specific day if you look at the
quota numbers it's very highly unlikely you won't get the day you want.
(HI->LYV is 30, GP->LYV is 10) A bunch of others you gotta go far to get to HD
so even if all of LYV take a permit there is still a lot to go around.



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 06, 2011 01:58PM
Quote
chick-on
Went up last yr. with my day pass permit... so can't tell you exactly what they do...

But I wouldn't worry about it. Even if they give you a specific day if you look at the
quota numbers it's very highly unlikely you won't get the day you want.
(HI->LYV is 30, GP->LYV is 10) A bunch of others you gotta go far to get to HD
so even if all of LYV take a permit there is still a lot to go around.

I think it all depends. I've heard that on a really busy night, LYV can have up to 200 campers - most of which would have started elsewhere or some who stayed at LYV multiple nights. I actually worked in my HD visit starting from Tenaya Lake. The family I met up with started from TM and did HD the next day. What might happen would seem to be random though.

You're probably right that 100 might be a hard number to reach. However - if you have to declare what day, I could see all sorts of scenarios where it could be possible to reach the quota. Personally I think there shouldn't be a quota for wilderness permit holders. It's not enough numbers to make a huge difference. It's the day hikers who make up the large bulk of HD visitors. If they're really enforcing a quota of 100, I could see some people who can't reserve HD specifically leaving disappointed if they don't pick up their permit in time before the quota is filled.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/06/2011 01:59PM by y_p_w.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 06, 2011 02:25PM
Quote
y_p_w
I think it all depends.

Doood.... of course it all depends. It's not guaranteed. It's a quota.

I had typed in all sorts o information about how much the quota was on each trail that
gets traffic typically to HD... Sunrise, Cathedral, Rafferty, Mono Mdw, etc.
But... it doesn't matter... there's really not much traildad can do about it just like
not much you can do about getting a regular permit if they're all gone when you get there.
I was just saying he shouldn't worry about it. He'll prolly get what he wants.
And even if he doesn't there's a fair chance he can just go to the subdome and
be let through b/c of no shows.
Just saying.
Have a nice day



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 06, 2011 02:33PM
Quote
chick-on
Quote
y_p_w
I think it all depends.

Doood.... of course it all depends. It's not guaranteed. It's a quota.

I had typed in all sorts o information about how much the quota was on each trail that
gets traffic typically to HD... Sunrise, Cathedral, Rafferty, Mono Mdw, etc.
But... it doesn't matter... there's really not much traildad can do about it just like
not much you can do about getting a regular permit if they're all gone when you get there.
I was just saying he shouldn't worry about it. He'll prolly get what he wants.
And even if he doesn't there's a fair chance he can just go to the subdome and
be let through b/c of no shows.
Just saying.
Have a nice day

Yeah - I still think going quota-less for wilderness permit holders wouldn't make much of a difference. That they don't allow someone to reserve a quota slot along with wilderness permit reservation would seem to be a flaw. I'm thinking there might not really even be an enforced quota on wilderness permit holders.

The "no additional reservation required" makes it sound like its a given that you'll get it if requested. It almost sounds like the recommendation on staying at one of the backpackers campgrounds that "no reservation is taken nor necessary".
Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 06, 2011 02:35PM
The 100-person number for wilderness users is an average based on historic use by wilderness permit holders and is not a fixed quota. Any person with a wilderness permit appropriate for hiking to Half Dome will get a Half Dome permit for any day of their choosing (within what makes sense with their wilderness permit).
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 06, 2011 02:42PM
So I WAS right. He didn't have to worry. wink

Thanks for the reply



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 06, 2011 08:24PM
Quote
rje
The 100-person number for wilderness users is an average based on historic use by wilderness permit holders and is not a fixed quota. Any person with a wilderness permit appropriate for hiking to Half Dome will get a Half Dome permit for any day of their choosing (within what makes sense with their wilderness permit).

I wonder if I will have to specify the the day when I pick up my permit. I would hate to have bad weather keep me off the dome, only to be unable to go the next day without a permit.
Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 06, 2011 09:03PM
They'll probably give you a few days (although you can only use the permit once). But, if it's a seven-day permit, they aren't going to give you all seven days, for instance.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 06, 2011 09:27PM
Quote
traildad
I read this on the Half Dome permit page.

"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."

Can someone tell me how this works? When I go into the permit office to get the permit I just pick a day during the trip and get a guaranteed permit?




From the YNP Wilderness Permit webpage:
"Phone: ... 209/372-0740. The phone is staffed Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm."

Suggest that you call them and find out rather than agonizing about it.
Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 06, 2011 10:12PM
Yea I figured to give them a call. There is so much Yosemite expertise on this site I thought I could get the answer here. No agony, just anticipation. Plus having this topic might help others with the same question in the future.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/06/2011 10:13PM by traildad.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 07, 2011 03:25AM
I got "drawn" for a wilderness permit for entry on June 20th @ Happy Isles>LYV. I e-mailed them in regards to your question and they told me that I could enter trail-head the day before and stay over-nite and stay past the 20th for multiple nites for the "low cost" of $5 per nite per person in my party. When I pick up my WP's just let them know the date you want to do Half Dome.They said they would offer HD permits at time of pick-up, no extra charge! Just watch the weather in advance as much as possible and go with it!!?? Oh yea , Jan. 3rd. was the day I had to enter for the drawing for the WP. 24 weeks in advance to apply for these permits. H.I.>LYV. go fast as well as the others. http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wpres.htm. Hope this helps?!
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 07, 2011 04:57AM
Quote
beardbuster
I got "drawn" for a wilderness permit for entry on June 20th @ Happy Isles>LYV. I e-mailed them in regards to your question and they told me that I could enter trail-head the day before and stay over-nite and stay past the 20th for multiple nites for the "low cost" of $5 per nite per person in my party.


It's not obvious to what you are referring here.
The Wilderness Permit reservation cost is $5 plus $5/person. The number of nights which one camps does not enter into the reservation fee calculation.

The only $5/person/night fee that I know of in YNP is that charged for staying at Camp 4.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/07/2011 05:12AM by szalkowski.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 07, 2011 06:24AM
Just to clear up the air: The person that I also talked to by phone as of last Wednesday said these extra nights camping in backpackers camp at LYV. would be an additional $5 per person per nite besides the fee to be drawn for the wilderness permits. Could put the extra nites on at time of permit pick-up. There is a trailhead entry date and exit date. Exit date could be modified but would be an additional $5 per person per nite extra. 209/372-0740 Wilderness Permit info # if this will help explain!! I guess the NPS person could have been wrong?? It's happened before.
Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 07, 2011 06:45AM
Quote
beardbuster
Just to clear up the air: The person that I also talked to by phone as of last Wednesday said these extra nights camping in backpackers camp at LYV. would be an additional $5 per person per nite besides the fee to be drawn for the wilderness permits. Could put the extra nites on at time of permit pick-up. There is a trailhead entry date and exit date. Exit date could be modified but would be an additional $5 per person per nite extra. 209/372-0740 Wilderness Permit info # if this will help explain!! I guess the NPS person could have been wrong?? It's happened before.

If this is so, it's news to me.

Never had a charge for LYV before. Just Camp 4 and backpacker campgrounds. For LYV you just need a permit with LYV for the first night, if you are staying on the first night of your trip, no need for anything on subsequent nights if you want to stay there. Same as the HSC backpacker camps - no charge for backpackers camping there, just a permit indicating you will be there your first night out, if that is the case. Only 5/per person charge applies in backpacker camps, which are only available the night before you leave and the night after you come back.

From the website: "If you have a wilderness permit for Happy Isles to Little Yosemite Valley or Glacier Point to Little Yosemite Valley, you can camp in Little Yosemite Valley campground on the first night (and subsequent nights) of your hike. If you have a permit for another trailhead, you will probably have to camp elsewhere your first night, but you can stay in Little Yosemite Valley on subsequent nights. If you have a permit for Happy Isles to Merced Lake or Glacier Point to Illilouette, you can not camp in the Little Yosemite Valley area on the first night of your hike.

No other permit or reservation is required to camp at Little Yosemite Valley.

Little Yosemite Valley Campground
The campground is minimally developed and there are no check-in or check-out procedures. You may leave your tent up during the day while day hiking."


I think someone is confused, might be the ranger, no charge mentioned anywhere, as it has always been.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/07/2011 06:47AM by AlmostThere.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 07, 2011 07:19AM
That is kind of what I was thinking. They word things on their web pages that seem to contradict what they say. I like what you have to say about the issue even better!! Hope all turns out well for us all this year!!
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 07, 2011 07:30AM
Quote
AlmostThere
Never had a charge for LYV before. Just Camp 4 and backpacker campgrounds. For LYV you just need a permit with LYV for the first night, if you are staying on the first night of your trip, no need for anything on subsequent nights if you want to stay there. Same as the HSC backpacker camps - no charge for backpackers camping there, just a permit indicating you will be there your first night out, if that is the case. Only 5/per person charge applies in backpacker camps, which are only available the night before you leave and the night after you come back.

Well - the backpackers campgrounds are technically also available for people who arrive in Yosemite on foot, bicycle, bus, or (I think) motorcycle. I don't know what the limits are though. It's in the Superintendent's Compendium but isn't well published.

One can also stay at LVY w/o a Happy Isles-LVY or GP-LVY permit as long as it's not the first night.

It sounds to me as if the reservation operator made a mistake.
Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 07, 2011 10:37AM
I think the caller was confused. People can stay the night before and after their backpacking trip at the backpackers' camp in Yosemite Valley (or Tuolumne Meadows, White Wolf, Hetch Hetchy). The stay limit is one night at a time (one before, one after each backpacking trip). LYV is free. Must have a wilderness permit or arrive by bike or bus (in which case, the limit is simply one night).

The compendium is at http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/lawsandpolicies.htm.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 10, 2011 08:33PM
Quote
rje
I think the caller was confused. People can stay the night before and after their backpacking trip at the backpackers' camp in Yosemite Valley (or Tuolumne Meadows, White Wolf, Hetch Hetchy). The stay limit is one night at a time (one before, one after each backpacking trip). LYV is free. Must have a wilderness permit or arrive by bike or bus (in which case, the limit is simply one night).

The compendium is at http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/lawsandpolicies.htm.

I've read that part of the compendium, which of course I referenced earlier. However - the compendium doesn't make it clear what the limit is for someone who arrives via bike, bus, or foot. I was wrong about motorcycles. I do remember being at the Valley backpacker campground my first night, where there was a huge tent set up near the restrooms. It was a massive multi-room tent and not anything like the small backpacking tents that were being used in the rest of the campground. Not only did it stick out, but it was still there when I returned three days later at the end of my wilderness trip.

Quote

• Backpacker camps are intended for use by visitors in possession of an overnight
Wilderness Permit or for visitors arriving in the park by foot, bicycle, or bus.
• Wilderness permit holders may stay in a backpacker camp the night prior to
departure and the night after returning from an overnight Wilderness trip.

I'm thinking if there is a limit, it might be the 7 days total in Yosemite Valley (and 14 days elsewhere in Yosemite NP) allowed between May 1 to Sept 15, although I'm sure it's not all that well enforced. I've heard of people well overstaying the limits at Camp 4 - especially the climbers who might spend much of the summer there.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 11, 2011 07:22AM
Do you have the current copy from that link? Here's what I see when I downloaded the compendium after reading this discussion:

Quote
2010 Supervisors Compendium
• Backpacker camps are intended for use by visitors in possession of an overnight
Wilderness Permit or for visitors arriving in the park by foot, bicycle, or bus.
• Wilderness permit holders may stay in a backpacker camp the night prior to
departure and the night after returning from an overnight Wilderness trip.
• Visitors arriving by foot, bicycle, or bus are limited to a single overnight stay in
each designated backpacker camp.

Looks like they added that third bullet to clarify this point
Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 11, 2011 07:50AM
They may have a slightly different approach too for Tuolumne Meadows, where the thru hikers visit - PCT hikers I spoke to had been there for two nights while I was staying there for one.

Last summer I stayed a night in TM, did a short backpack to Parker Pass, followed by a night at TM, followed by a GCT backpack to White Wolf - the two nights in the backpacker camp at TM I noticed a group of folks had a more or less permanent campsite. Apparently they let survey groups or researchers stay the season, just as the YOSAR folks have a season-long setup in the main campground.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 11, 2011 07:54AM
I guess the PCT thru-hikers are staying the day after one hike and the day before their next hike... :-)

I think it's also possible they don't spend excessive time worrying about this at TM. I've camped in the Backpackers Camp there and talked w/ people there who were spending three days or so doing climbs during the day.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 11, 2011 08:45AM
Quote
AlmostThere
They may have a slightly different approach too for Tuolumne Meadows, where the thru hikers visit - PCT hikers I spoke to had been there for two nights while I was staying there for one.

Last summer I stayed a night in TM, did a short backpack to Parker Pass, followed by a night at TM, followed by a GCT backpack to White Wolf - the two nights in the backpacker camp at TM I noticed a group of folks had a more or less permanent campsite. Apparently they let survey groups or researchers stay the season, just as the YOSAR folks have a season-long setup in the main campground.

I've seen the camp hosts often have a pretty cushy setup (practically mobile homes), and if course they're staying for an entire summer..
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 11, 2011 01:03PM
Quote
y_p_w
I've seen the camp hosts often have a pretty cushy setup (practically mobile homes), and if course they're staying for an entire summer..

I just wish they'd do their jobs. <sigh>
Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
March 26, 2011 11:26PM
Yeah, I have seen some with satellite tv's. I have always wondered what it will be like to just "camp" there all month. Wish I had the time.
Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
April 02, 2011 01:00AM
What are their jobs anyhow? Are they the same people that check us in?
Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
April 02, 2011 10:36AM
Like hosts or Mom/Dad? That's what I always assume. Just in case I need help. Not really sure.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 11, 2011 08:41AM
Quote
ttilley
Do you have the current copy from that link? Here's what I see when I downloaded the compendium after reading this discussion:

Quote
2010 Supervisors Compendium
• Backpacker camps are intended for use by visitors in possession of an overnight
Wilderness Permit or for visitors arriving in the park by foot, bicycle, or bus.
• Wilderness permit holders may stay in a backpacker camp the night prior to
departure and the night after returning from an overnight Wilderness trip.
• Visitors arriving by foot, bicycle, or bus are limited to a single overnight stay in
each designated backpacker camp.

Looks like they added that third bullet to clarify this point

Sorry - mine was the 2009 version. I guess the limit makes sense.

I'm still thinking that enforcement is spotty.
Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 10, 2011 07:06PM
Ok I called them today. It was a little difficult to understand with my cell phone, but I think I heard him right. I asked about getting a Half Dome permit to use on my week long Wilderness Permit. I said I was concerned that lightning could prevent me from doing Half Dome on the intended day. He said that the Half Dome permit was good for the entire time of my Wilderness Permit. So it seems that I can use it for any of the days my Wilderness Permit is valid.

As a side note, I asked about making a first and second choice for the Cathedral Lake trail head. He said if I was starting on a weekend I could make a second choice for Sunday and submit that on what really is a day before the 168 day limit. So I can fax in my request 168 days before the Saturday start and put down a Sunday start as my second choice even though it would be 169 days before. He said that could only be done when starting on a weekend and not on weekdays.
Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 12, 2011 01:40PM
Well I for one am glad that we are allowed the flexibility on when to summit Half Dome during a backpacking trip. I would not want to get two or three permits just to cover all possibilities.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
February 12, 2011 04:06PM
Quote
traildad
Well I for one am glad that we are allowed the flexibility on when to summit Half Dome during a backpacking trip. I would not want to get two or three permits just to cover all possibilities.

Lack of flexibility could also cause people to go up the cables when they shouldn't (e.g. bad weather).
Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
April 04, 2011 03:09PM
Can they get another set of cables up there? Seems very limited for only 300-400 persons per day.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
April 04, 2011 03:13PM
Quote
DanPJ
Can they get another set of cables up there?

I'm sure they could install another set of cables. But it isn't going to happen.
Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
April 04, 2011 06:22PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
DanPJ
Can they get another set of cables up there?

I'm sure they could install another set of cables. But it isn't going to happen.

And, given that at least a few folks on this list have advocated that the current cables be removed, I don't think you'll get much support for that notion here. tongue sticking out smiley
--David
Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
April 04, 2011 08:27PM
The only reason Half Dome is what it is - is because of those cables.

It would never be anything other than just another rock most people can't climb, otherwise.

Even with the cables, it's just not that awesomely wonderful that I'll ever go there again. Sorry.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
April 04, 2011 09:53PM
It's Half Dome, it's Mt. Whitney, it's the Four Corners. Not necessarily spectacular but indeed unique.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
April 05, 2011 07:59AM
As is typical of Yosemite, you have people who passionately embrace both sides of the cables issue.

As embittered as I am about the planning issues and decisions at Yosemite I have some compassion for the Yosemite staff who present the public face of the process. No matter how hard they work, and no matter how much they care about Yosemite, they're still going to get yelled at and hated by some members of the public who don't like how things end up.

I'm on the side of another cable. If safety is the issue, the only solution is another cable. The current implementation of a Permit process is only pissing off people and might in the long run increase the danger to the public.
Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
April 05, 2011 08:06AM
There are always other solutions! If safety is an issue, TAKE THEM DOWN. All solved.

Anyone left over wanting to go up there bad enough, there are mountaineering schools and outfitters who will gladly rope you up and drag you up there.
Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
April 12, 2011 06:02PM
OK, as if there's not enough insanity around Half Dome already, please tell me this nonsense is not legal:


Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
April 12, 2011 06:15PM
Bungee jumping, or any other activity involving jumping off the valley's edge, is not legal.

There's actually a spotter in the meadow that watches the climbers and looks out for that sort of thing. Some people do it anyway and pay the fine, considering it the "fee."
Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
April 12, 2011 06:17PM
Quote
DavidK42
OK, as if there's not enough insanity around Half Dome already, please tell me this nonsense is not legal:


OK, so how'd he get back up ?
Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
April 13, 2011 10:08PM
Ha!!!

I used to always think the most dangerous Yosemite-related activity I know of from all my years backpacking … year in and year out … was the actual drive to get there from the Bay Area! Not the least of which are those seemingly endless horseshoe switchbacks up, up, and up s’more that monster hill into the Groveland area on 120 … but I gotta say, bungee jumping off of HD takes the cake .. yeah I’d say that’s a scosh riskier …

I have one word of advice for that guy seeking those thrills: “decaf” …
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
April 13, 2011 10:44PM
Quote
Anvanho
. . . snip . . .I used to always think the most dangerous Yosemite-related activity I know of from all my years backpacking … year in and year out … was the actual drive to get there from the Bay Area!
ditto on that!
The drive THERE is bad enough. At least you're fresh and not likely to be tired.
I'm more worried about the drive home. There have been many a drive home that I don't really remember! It doesn't help that I'm almost always returning long after the sun has gone down after a long and exhausting ( but fun ) trip. I've gotten in the habit of not starting the return trip until I've had a full meal somewhere in the valley. Gives me a change to re-hydrate/re-caffinate/re-sugarize. It also means I end up traveling late at night and have the road to myself without any crazies other than myself to worry about.
Quote
Anvanho
Not the least of which are those seemingly endless horseshoe switchbacks up, up, and up s’more that monster hill into the Groveland area on 120 . . . snip . . .
Sounds like you're taking NEW Priest Grade instead of OLD Priest Grade. Turn right instead of left at the bottom of the hill! Half the distance, half the turns, twice as steep!. Just don't take it coming down unless you know what you're getting yourself into and have excellent brakes in the car. no, stop, enough!
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
April 14, 2011 01:21AM
Quote
qumqats
Quote
Anvanho
Not the least of which are those seemingly endless horseshoe switchbacks up, up, and up s’more that monster hill into the Groveland area on 120 . . . snip . . .
Sounds like you're taking NEW Priest Grade instead of OLD Priest Grade. Turn right instead of left at the bottom of the hill! Half the distance, half the turns, twice as steep!. Just don't take it coming down unless you know what you're getting yourself into and have excellent brakes in the car. no, stop, enough!

Ahh, going down Old Priest Grade isn't that tough. Just put your car in either first or second gear (including cars with automatic transmissions), and basically coast your way down. I rarely need to apply my brakes, and I keep my vehicle at or below the 25 MPH speed limit going down the hill.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
April 14, 2011 01:44AM
Depends on the gearing of the car.

It doesn't work too well on my car.
It's an automatic.
First is so low that I'm going 10 to 15mph, second is too high and i go zipping down the grade riding the brakes.
I make sure there's no one behind me as I approach the grade turnoff, otherwise I end up having to pull over to let them pass while I'm on OPG. I use 2nd for the straights, brake HARD to get down to 10mpg and downshift into 1st for the corners.
I have a great deal of respect for downhill OPG. I just about totaled a car in a wreck on it.

respect the road
and REALLY respect the wet road!
Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
April 14, 2011 06:49AM
It just takes practice.

We drove that road all the time. My dad worked out there and we went to Yosemite at least six times every summer. I remember looking down the slope for new cars that went over the side as we went up the old road.
Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
April 14, 2011 06:23PM
Quote
qumqats
Depends on the gearing of the car.

It doesn't work too well on my car.
It's an automatic.
First is so low that I'm going 10 to 15mph, second is too high and i go zipping down the grade riding the brakes.
I make sure there's no one behind me as I approach the grade turnoff, otherwise I end up having to pull over to let them pass while I'm on OPG. I use 2nd for the straights, brake HARD to get down to 10mpg and downshift into 1st for the corners.
I have a great deal of respect for downhill OPG. I just about totaled a car in a wreck on it.

respect the road
and REALLY respect the wet road!
Once I discovered it, I've always used OPG up and down. I did have quite a scare once about 5 or 6 years back, however. I currently live in NJ so my trips to Yosemite always involve a rental car. On this particular trip, we got some model of Korean car by a company that only sold cars here for a brief time. Whether it was a transmission problem or just a completely non-intuitive design, I discovered as I was coming down OPG that I couldn't shift in to a lower gear. I ended up riding the brakes as lightly as I dared all the way down. I was shitting bricks for the whole two miles but was trying to play it cool so as not to panic my wife who was busy soaking up the view with only occasional comments about "aren't you going a little fast?" As we were approaching the stop sign at the bottom of the hill, she asked "what's that awful smell?" It was, of course, the brake fluid boiling away like mad. no, stop, enough! It took me practically standing on the brake pedal in conjunction with using the parking brake (which, IIRC, was one of the foot-pedal ones on this car) to come to a halt with out tearing in to the traffic coming off the bottom of NPG. Bowing to his greatness I pulled in to the first turnout on 120 to let the car rest and only then did I tell her what had happened. Needless to say, shifting in to low gear is now one of those things I try out before I even leave the airport garage.

I still love this road, though...partly for it's historical connection as part of the original Big Oak Flat Road, partly because of the huge savings in time (it's not just much shorter, you won't find any terrified "I never knew there'd be roads like this when I rented my first double-wide RV" people in front of you) and partly because it's just fun to drive!

--David
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
April 14, 2011 09:14PM
I'm amazed how often I'm following someone downhill, downshifted into an appropriate gear, occasionally tapping the brakes when the speed goes up a bit, and watching the brake lights of the car in front of me, that don't go off! What do they teach drivers these days? I'm surprised there aren't more accidents from brakes going out.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
April 14, 2011 10:19PM
I always look in my rear view mirror at the stop sign at the bottom checking for those that have no brakes left. I don't know what I would do other than brace myself for the rearending.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
April 15, 2011 11:09AM
Quote
mrcondron
I always look in my rear view mirror at the stop sign at the bottom checking for those that have no brakes left. I don't know what I would do other than brace myself for the rearending.

I do the same too, but my collision avoidance plan would be to make a quick right (or left) at the stop sign, traffic permitting, to prevent the impact if I notice a vehicle about to rear-end me at the stop sign. When I'm going down OPG, it's usually at a time when most people traveling Hwy 120 are heading west back to civilization, so most of the time there will not be any traffic heading east up NPG, so a quick right turn would usually be a safe option to avoid a rear-ender at the stop sign.
avatar Re: Half Dome permits for backpackers
April 14, 2011 10:16PM
You'd be surprised how many time OPG has been closed because somebody in a motor home or trailer tried to use it and got stuck.



Old Dude
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