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Re: Half Dome Cable Width

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avatar Half Dome Cable Width
July 19, 2011 11:05PM
Does anyone know the exact width of the Half Dome cables? I have been searching online and the only measurement I could find was "just under the size of a quarter" and that found on a few blog sites.

Any assistance would be much appreciated (trying to resolve a carabiner size issue).

Thanks!

Robin
avatar Re: Half Dome Cable Width
July 20, 2011 02:52AM
Seems to be aprox. 5/8" diameter.
avatar Re: Half Dome Cable Width
July 20, 2011 05:40AM
Quote
beardbuster
Seems to be aprox. 5/8" diameter.

My guess would be closer to 1 inch.
avatar Re: Half Dome Cable Width
July 20, 2011 07:32AM
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Frank Furter
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beardbuster
Seems to be aprox. 5/8" diameter.

My guess would be closer to 1 inch.

I measured it... and using math it is exactly 13/16".

*don't quote me on it though



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Half Dome Cable Width
July 20, 2011 07:02AM
You don't need a carabiner for the cables. It will just slow your (and your fellow hikers) progress. It is also doubtful if you will gain any extra safety. Half Dome is not a technical hike whatsover. Be prepared (shoes, water etc.) and bring some sturdy gloves for the cables. Just my two cents.

There's a website with tons of infos regarding hiking Half Dome. Google "Half Dome Hike" and you should find some results.
avatar Re: Half Dome Cable Width
July 20, 2011 08:51AM
I've done half dome before, but am hiking with a gawky 13 year old who is determined to do the hike. The trade off is wearing the harness.

Thanks for the replies!
Re: Half Dome Cable Width
July 20, 2011 10:06AM
One thing to think about: if you were to "clip into" the Half Dome cables and slipped, the carabiner would slide down the cable to the next pole until it abruptly stopped the fall. It seems that this very well could result in injuring the hands of everyone holding onto the cables between you and the next lower pole. Also, unless you are using a dynamic device specifically made for this kind of use (such as those made by Petzl or Camp for the "via ferrata" that are common in Europe) the forces encountered when the carabiner is stopped by the pole could cause significant injury--most climbing hardware isn't designed for use without a long dynamic rope to help dissipate forces. (The "via ferrata" gear is specifically designed to dissipate forces within its comparatively short length.) The Half Dome cables were not designed for people to clip into, and I don't believe that this is necessarily a safe approach, either for the person clipping in or the others below this person...
avatar Re: Half Dome Cable Width
July 20, 2011 10:22AM
I agree with basil. The equipment is not intended for this specific use.

However, if it eases your fears, allows you to complete the climb, and doesn't inconvenience others, it's better than nothing.
avatar Re: Half Dome Cable Width
July 20, 2011 10:32AM
Don't the carabiners "bite" into the cables in a way that would tend to leave sharp areas or damaged cable filaments that could injure other hikers?
avatar Re: Half Dome Cable Width
July 20, 2011 12:36PM
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Frank Furter
Don't the carabiners "bite" into the cables in a way that would tend to leave sharp areas or damaged cable filaments that could injure other hikers?

No bite, they just slide
avatar Re: Half Dome Cable Width
July 20, 2011 12:45PM
Quote
qumqats
Quote
Frank Furter
Don't the carabiners "bite" into the cables in a way that would tend to leave sharp areas or damaged cable filaments that could injure other hikers?

No bite, they just slide

Yes, of course! I had a senior moment, my error!
Re: Half Dome Cable Width
July 20, 2011 04:00PM
Quote
basilbop
One thing to think about: if you were to "clip into" the Half Dome cables and slipped, the carabiner would slide down the cable to the next pole until it abruptly stopped the fall. It seems that this very well could result in injuring the hands of everyone holding onto the cables between you and the next lower pole. Also, unless you are using a dynamic device specifically made for this kind of use (such as those made by Petzl or Camp for the "via ferrata" that are common in Europe) the forces encountered when the carabiner is stopped by the pole could cause significant injury--most climbing hardware isn't designed for use without a long dynamic rope to help dissipate forces. (The "via ferrata" gear is specifically designed to dissipate forces within its comparatively short length.) The Half Dome cables were not designed for people to clip into, and I don't believe that this is necessarily a safe approach, either for the person clipping in or the others below this person...

No. That's not the point. This is not an overhang, and people who are having problems don't suddenly let go. They just can't hang on tight enough, and slide down to the next crossbar while fighting it all the way. A person with a carabiner rig is not much more dangerous to others than the guy without one who can't hold on tight enough....less so, since he will stop at the next pole and not keep sliding down through the crowd below that.

I actually have a via ferrata rig, and have used it with a Downs kid who went up Half Dome with us. It does have a foot or two of dynamic braking, which is very helpful in a vertical fall, but not so important as its having two carabiners, so that you are never fully unclipped while passing a support point. If you haven't seen one of these, they consist of a short rope with a carabiner on each end, that attaches to you in the middle. While you are moving, only one end is clipped to the cable. If you fall, when the attached carabiner hits a stop on the cable, the middle gizmo that is clipped to you is a dynamic brake as it slides along the rope to the unattched carabiner. When climbing, as you get to a cable support, you clip in the unattached end above the support before unclipping the other one below it.

Anyway, the principal use of a carabiner rig is to clip in and and sit down to rest on a crossbar (if you are terrified or exhausted) while others can safely pass over you in either direction. Even a single carabiner works for that. This is a big safety plus compared to situations that I have seen where people just hang on the cables and scream....

So: Yes, if you see someone using a carabiner rig, don't follow too close. Or be prepared to shift to the other cable. But that applies to anyone above you who seems to be having trouble hanging on. Always try to stay one support pole back.
avatar Re: Half Dome Cable Width
July 20, 2011 04:40PM
When did this harnessing to the cables thing start?
I've never saw it the years I was up there, but that was a while ago.

I can see it for kids that the parents have brought up. But any reasonably able adult, NO!

False sense of security. Hold on for dear life and you're not going to get distracted. Instead you're busy clipping on and off to get around the posts.
avatar Re: Half Dome Cable Width
July 20, 2011 04:42PM
Quote
qumqats
When did this harnessing to the cables thing start?
I've never saw it the years I was up there, but that was a while ago.

I saw it in the 80s.
Re: Half Dome Cable Width
July 20, 2011 05:20PM
Quote
qumqats
When did this harnessing to the cables thing start?
I've never saw it the years I was up there, but that was a while ago.

I can see it for kids that the parents have brought up. But any reasonably able adult, NO!

False sense of security. Hold on for dear life and you're not going to get distracted. Instead you're busy clipping on and off to get around the posts.

I have only used them for kids. Though the Downs "kid" I was talking about is in her late thirties.

What I actually carry, when I do the cables, is a couple extra pairs of el cheapo rubber-faced gloves from the dollar store. I have numerous times aided ladies who just couldn't hold on tight enough...but the reason for that was that someone had talked them into using suede leather gloves, which have almost zero coefficient of friction on steel.

I first give them just one of the ones that I am wearing. After they can feel the difference they beg me for another and I get a pair out of my pack.
avatar Re: Half Dome Cable Width
July 20, 2011 06:22PM
Thanks for all the input! I would never condone/use a harness/carabiner setup if it endangered others or Half Dome. We purchased a simple harness with two extensions. The original carabiners that were suggested by REI seemed too small to another employee there so the search for thr actual width was on. We ended up purchasing the biggest locking twist release ones they had - just over the width of a quarter. I've seen websites and blogs that suggest a harness for anyone doing the hike. Personally, I've done the hike before and don't feel the need to use one but can see how children and some adults might.

I didn't mean to stir the pot with my question but it sure made for a great discussion. We are off to Yosemite tomorrow and hiking Half Dome next week.

Thanks again all!
Re: Half Dome Cable Width
July 20, 2011 09:18PM
Have a great time.

One additional comment. When I mentioned the rubber-faced gloves, I meant the ones with a soft rubber coating on the front. Kitchen rubber gloves work well also, but they hold in the sweat and sort of disintegrate by the time you get to the bottom. What you must not use are the garden gloves with the "rubber" dots on them. The dots are actually hard plastic, and the result is more slippery than suede leather!

It's easy enough to test your gloves at home on a smooth glass bottle.
avatar Re: Half Dome Cable Width
July 20, 2011 09:52AM
I have used a harness/caribiner system on the Half Dome cables on my last three visits. It is very easy to do and adds a nice level of safety to the climb. I am not so much worried about myself, but others on the cables above me.

You will need to detach and re-attach at each post that holds the cable in position. Most people will use these spots to rest on the cross-boards, so it will not slow you down too much. However, there are a bunch of spots where there are no cross-boards and those spots became tricky. I recommend free climbing these sections and attaching at the next rest spot.

In the end, I use it to attach when I am resting, and not much else. Others in my hiking party were thankful, and it allowed them to fight their fear of exposure and go for it!

In my humble opinion, it will be fear and fatigue that will slow you down on the cables...not your safety equipment.

Enjoy!
avatar Re: Half Dome Cable Width
July 20, 2011 10:15AM
The last time I did Half Dome, the family hiking in front of us all had harnesses. They said it was the only way they would let their kids do the hike. They didn't slow up the line at all and went at an average pace. I thought it was a smart idea, espeically for the kids. $100 harness/caribiner for peace of mind is a great investment.

I know my own abilities and limitations and I too am not worried about myself, but about the others around me. I had people passing outside the cables and were not very friendly about it either. I was going at the same pace as the people on the cables were, but it isn't fast enough for some.

My understanding from reading the message boards is that due to the permit requirement it won't be crowded at all and using harnesses shouldn't impact other people. I'll report back and let you all know how it goes (if she makes it that is).
Re: Half Dome Cable Width
July 20, 2011 04:31PM
Quote
robinjayp
Does anyone know the exact width of the Half Dome cables? I have been searching online and the only measurement I could find was "just under the size of a quarter" and that found on a few blog sites.

Any assistance would be much appreciated (trying to resolve a carabiner size issue).

Thanks!

Robin
Some people I hiked with a few weeks ago harnessed and used biners on the cables, they actually used quickdraws so nothing oversized is needed
Re: Half Dome Cable Width
July 22, 2011 11:39PM
You could always go with an industrial lanyard. The ones with rebar hooks look big enough. This one says the hook opening is 2 inches.
OSHA approved double lanyard
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