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Re: The Diving Board

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avatar The Diving Board
May 06, 2012 07:21AM
High on my bucket list of places to see is to reach the Diving Board; the location from which Ansel Adams took his iconic photograph of HD. In 2003, Backpacker magazine published 5 hikes to classic photos. The directions were: "Hike up the Mist Trail to the top of Nevada Fall. Follow the Merced River upstream for a quarter mile, and then head left into the brush looking for an old social trail, climbing a small ridge and then skirting the left side of swampy Lost Lake. From there, it's only half a mile to the Diving Board but it's a gnarly scramble up 1,200 feet of steep scree and manzanita covered hillside." 9.5 miles round trip. While Adams had a mule to haul his equipment, age and stamina may prove to be my undoing. I doubt finding this location has become any easier since the publication. We've not hiked from the bottom of the valley preferring Toulome Meadows and Glacier Point THs so I'm unfamiliar with this location. Is the "social trail" even discernable as mentioned after hiking a quarter mile up the Merced river? For that matter, is there any bench mark that could be used to determine where the "social trail" may be? Are any permits required to reach this vantage point? Or shall I cross this one off my list? Cry baby



www.pbase.com/caesar77
Re: The Diving Board
May 06, 2012 08:16AM
avatar Re: The Diving Board
May 06, 2012 06:05PM
My 22 year old son and I followed bill-e-g's excellent description referenced above, doing it last year. As we worked over from the Lost Lake area we did not go as high on the base of Half Dome as bill-e-g, preferring the tree and brush covered slope/slight ravine due south of the Diving Board. It's a serious hump getting up that 800 feet or so before the slope gets less severe, in many places hauling one's self up by tree roots, branches, and rock outcroppings. If you want to try it, I would suggest doing Sierra Point first as it has not-disimilar route finding, scrambling, and elevation gain similar to the cross country portion of the Diving Board hike. If you like Sierra Point, and could do the eqivalent of that climb AFTER hiking from the valley floor to the top of Nevada Falls, than you can probably make the Diving Board.
Another way to look at it...even though the Diving Board is about 1400 feet lower than the top of Half Dome...I would say that given the cross country nature of the scramble...its getting close to the same expenditure of energy to do the Diving Board as Half Dome.
Re: The Diving Board
May 06, 2012 08:13PM
Quote
Bearproof
... I would suggest doing Sierra Point first as it has not-disimilar route finding, scrambling, and elevation gain similar to the cross country portion of the Diving Board hike. If you like Sierra Point, and could do the eqivalent of that climb AFTER hiking from the valley floor to the top of Nevada Falls, than you can probably make the Diving Board.
Another way to look at it...even though the Diving Board is about 1400 feet lower than the top of Half Dome...I would say that given the cross country nature of the scramble...its getting close to the same expenditure of energy to do the Diving Board as Half Dome.

Absolutely right. If you are coming in on the climbers' access trail past Lost Lake, then the farther west you go the easier the scramble gets. When I show some camera buddy the way up there, I always go well past the place where the climbers go up the rock.

Rememeber that there is no water at all after leaving the tourist trail. It's in the afternoon sun, and gets very dry. Take twice as much water as you expect to need....
Re: The Diving Board
May 08, 2012 09:09AM
Another several links for the Diving Board:

Little Yosemite Valley Snow Level

And my own set of pictures and a description of the route: Half Dome Diving Board, Sept 20, 2008

There is a Guano Route variation, where you leave the trail between the top of Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall -- where the trail first meets the Liberty Cap apron. This is a quicker shortcut, but requires a little third class scrambling -- especially through a tree. Pictures are #103-131 in this set: Yosemite Valley, 10/10-12/08

The first picture of the set, where you leave the trail and head for the bat guano piles is here:
avatar Re: The Diving Board
May 08, 2012 01:11PM
Thanks for information about this alternate route. I've thought about taking it in the past. Good beta.
.
Re: The Diving Board
May 08, 2012 02:41PM
Quote
SteveC
Another several links for the Diving Board:

Little Yosemite Valley Snow Level

And my own set of pictures and a description of the route: Half Dome Diving Board, Sept 20, 2008

There is a Guano Route variation, where you leave the trail between the top of Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall -- where the trail first meets the Liberty Cap apron. This is a quicker shortcut, but requires a little third class scrambling -- especially through a tree.

This route between Liberty Cap and Mt Broderick is a favorite of mine for descending after doing Half Dome by the main trail. Before they built the upper Mist Trail, it was the route to Little Yosemite Valley from Snow's Hotel, which sat between Nevada and Vernal Falls.

My favorite approach to the the Diving Board is none of the above. When the water is low, as it is in your photos, you can walk west along the shore after crossing the Silver Apron bridge, and go up between Mt Broderick and Grizzly Peak. You can then head up to the ridge at the first easy opportunity, and miss having to deal with any exposure. This is the best if you have newbies who really don't like walking along friction ledges, etc.

It does take some route finding skills, though.
Re: The Diving Board
May 15, 2012 06:55PM
Quote
wherever


My favorite approach to the the Diving Board is none of the above. When the water is low, as it is in your photos, you can walk west along the shore after crossing the Silver Apron bridge, and go up between Mt Broderick and Grizzly Peak. You can then head up to the ridge at the first easy opportunity, and miss having to deal with any exposure. This is the best if you have newbies who really don't like walking along friction ledges, etc.

It does take some route finding skills, though.

This is how I will do it next time.

We went up the route depicted in Steve C's photo. I had thought that I made it plain and clear that there would be steep, climbing, granite faces, etc. with exposure. One of our group had a full all-out panic attack on the first little bit of exposure. Others had to let her use their feet as footholds because she was so anxious. This was a gal who is typically afraid of nothing, doesn't blink at white water kayaking, and never showed a bit of difficulty with crazy things before... strong hiker and sits on peaks without blinking. Sometimes you just don't know when it will hit someone.
Re: The Diving Board
May 08, 2012 04:16PM
Hi Steve,

Last October 2011, a photography friend and I tried to follow your detailed Sept 2008 route to The Diving Board. After getting a little lost before Lost Lake, we scrambled up the base of Half Dome per your route but then went too far up vertically following cairns. We went back down a bit and tried to follow where you appeared to go laterally across and up, but it was already 3:30pm and we regretably turned back. It appeared that we had to walk/crawl across an exposed area of smoother rock that had a sloping dropoff. There was just a crack or something that one could move across on. On the other side were some trees and about 1/2 mile more up to the top.

Anyway does that sound about right? It's my goal hopefully this year to make it to the top and get that Ansel Adams shot with perhaps the new Nikon 36MP D800 dSLR. But I was thinking to try the other suggestions to go further west and scramble up trees/rocks instead of the more exposed route that you seemed to take.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

Andrew
avatar Re: The Diving Board
May 08, 2012 04:21PM
Exactly. This has been described quite a bit. Steve can say more if he likes.. but he has
photos directly in his set of the section you are referring to.
It is also shown here:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?1,9251,9261#msg-9261

I mentioned previously about doing exactly what you did. One of the big reasons I just hate
cairns. I'll bet you went all the way to the base... which is cool... but way too far.

Good luck. It's a lot of fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: The Diving Board
May 08, 2012 04:39PM
Thanks for the reply chick-on. Given the time and effort to get up there, I sure wouldn't mind bivying or tenting it as you've shown so that I can get sunrise/sunset shots, but I've not had experience overnighting it outside of the campgrounds. You probably don't hike with less experienced people, but if you're ever looking for people, I'd love to share in the spectacular views that you get. I'm located in Santa Cruz.

Andrew
avatar Re: The Diving Board
May 08, 2012 04:39PM
avatar Re: The Diving Board
May 06, 2012 07:05PM
Quote
Acadia
Are any permits required to reach this vantage point?

No
avatar Re: The Diving Board
May 06, 2012 07:36PM
Only if you stay overnight.



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: The Diving Board
May 07, 2012 02:43PM
Thanks to everyone for the invaluable information! If I ever get there I'll be sure to post back!



www.pbase.com/caesar77
avatar Re: The Diving Board
May 07, 2012 06:47PM
Are there any good places to camp in that area? That would be an an awesome sunset from there.
Re: The Diving Board
May 07, 2012 09:49PM
Quote
boomtown
Are there any good places to camp in that area? That would be an an awesome sunset from there.

Depends on what you mean by good. There is absolutely no water to be had up there. That would ruin it for some people.

People who are waiting to climb the Snake Dike route up Half Dome often used to camp under a big boulder near the start. That fire ring is where the fire started that burned over the forest there a few years ago.

There are plenty of sandy places up there, but they aren't usually level. There are some flatter places down the ridge towards Grizzly Peak. The ridge is nice open slick rock, very easy walking, and with a fabulous view of the valley. I would opt for the ridge, if the weather be good.
avatar Re: The Diving Board
May 07, 2012 09:58PM
Quote
boomtown
Are there any good places to camp in that area? That would be an an awesome sunset from there.

I just have to assume you didn't look at the pictures ... (there was this thing called a tent in them)
Something like this:


If you just bivy you know you need a 2x8 ft. spot to throw down...
that looks like this:


And yes, the base of Staircase was a trivial hike up but worth the views. Thanks for the photo.



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: The Diving Board
May 09, 2012 06:34PM
Thanks all,

That looks like my style of campsite chick-on. I will put this one high on the list. My brother and I are both photography students and big fans of AA (not the recovery society, but Mr Adams).



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/09/2012 06:34PM by boomtown.
avatar Re: The Diving Board
May 09, 2012 09:24PM
Isn't the entire west shoulder a no camping zone?

The fire that happened a couple of years made the hike MUCH easier. The underbrush is all gone now making it pretty easy compared to before.

I found a mud puddle on one of my trips that might have water during early season. There might be water here early season.


Some photos of the area:
On the way up to Diving Board
Area of Diving Board and Knifes Edge



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/09/2012 10:05PM by qumqats.
avatar Re: The Diving Board
May 09, 2012 10:00PM
Quote
qumqats
Isn't the entire west shoulder a no camping zone?

The fire that happened a couple of years made the hike MUCH easier. The underbrush is all gone now making it pretty easy compared to before.

I found a mud puddle on one of my trips that might have water during early season. There might be water here early season.

No to the camping question. Think of it that you have to be up past where Snake Dike starts
and east of Grizzly. You are not allowed to camp near Lost Lake or on Grizzly... but not sure
how or why you would do that anyway since there is no place really on Grizzly to camp
and there are loads of stellar places further up.
In early season there is water up there.... running water. If there isn't... it's not early anymore.
smiling smiley



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: The Diving Board
May 13, 2012 08:11PM
Tried (and Failed) this hike on May 8. sad smiley

Couldn't get myself to take two steps of exposure, after the little vertical crack, with my 25# gear. In fact, I had to take my camera strap and lengthen it to lower my pack and camera bag down, and turn my video bag as a fanny pack to get down that.

THEN followed ducks directly below this and got cliffed out and had to climb back up...lost an hour in about 80* temps. Frustrating day!

(Bear poop on the ledge)
avatar Re: The Diving Board
May 14, 2012 07:05AM
Bummer. This probably happens a lot.

If you ever want to try again maybe I can help you out.



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: The Diving Board
August 15, 2015 09:01AM
Oh yeah...I made it up to the diving board May 2014. Hot day again. Went up the same way as previously with my Merrills instead of my worn sole heavy boots. Made it up fine, but decided to try going down through the brush and got "cliffed out" a couple of times. Which required climbing back up the sand on granite, one step up with a half a step sliding back. I really would've preferred to down climb the same route I ascended. I filtered two quarts when I got to water again!
Re: The Diving Board
August 12, 2015 10:43AM
Better to fail and come out walking. Just because you can go up does not mean you can go down.
Down climbing sucks....we do it but nicer if we don't have to.
I would love to know what percentage of people hit the Snake Dike Route and have to give up at that point.
Happened to me too.
Re: The Diving Board
August 12, 2015 12:43PM
Quote
Curious Hiker
Better to fail and come out walking. Just because you can go up does not mean you can go down.
Down climbing sucks....we do it but nicer if we don't have to.
I would love to know what percentage of people hit the Snake Dike Route and have to give up at that point.
Happened to me too.

I've asked this question before but don't remember the answer. Is the route from Snake Dike to the Diving Board straightforward?
Re: The Diving Board
August 12, 2015 01:47PM
Quote
chicagocwright

I've asked this question before but don't remember the answer. Is the route from Snake Dike to the Diving Board straightforward?

Yes, but the brush determines the pain of it. I haven't been to that spot since the fire a few years ago, and don't know how much the brush has grown back....
avatar Re: The Diving Board
August 12, 2015 02:00PM
Quote
wherever
Quote
chicagocwright

I've asked this question before but don't remember the answer. Is the route from Snake Dike to the Diving Board straightforward?

Yes, but the brush determines the pain of it. I haven't been to that spot since the fire a few years ago, and don't know how much the brush has grown back....

Pretty much I have stayed RIGHT next to the base... it was a bit o shrub... and a bit o boulder work...
Not too terrible... and a nice view...

YMMV (and there may or may not be fish in Polly Dome Lake) smiling smiley



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: The Diving Board
August 16, 2015 03:10PM
Right about the brush....the initial base of Half Dome seems to be surrounded by a nasty length of manzanita. For me, that was the worst part of the hike. It seems like if you try to pick the thinist patch of the manzanita (which is maybe about 10 feet of plowing through) it puts you right at this crack that while doable is still 4th Class and exposed and even once climbed I am not sure if it will get you to the correct ledge (at this point it is pretty safe to say that you are off route and from that spot you cannot get back on route....you must go back through the manzanta and pick a new spot). Unlike the base of El Cap, you cannot simply walk along the base of HD without getting cliffed out or hitting this nasty manzanita. If you are going to use the Snake Dike approach you must aim for the correct assent crack (the one with all the growth on it) before you hit the manzaita....then you just have to plow through the manzanita to get to that on route assent point. It it probably not the shortest route though that manzanita but it is the only way to get to your starting assent point.
This one little spot seems to be the make or break point for many trying to do Diving Board.
PS....if you are in shorts and have a pair of pants with you it would be worth putting them on just for those few minutes of plowing.
Re: The Diving Board
August 16, 2015 03:24PM
I would love to see a discussion this detailed about the Ledge Trail. Can it still be done or is it forever lost and now a myth of Yosemite?
Re: The Diving Board
August 16, 2015 04:17PM
Quote
Curious Hiker
I would love to see a discussion this detailed about the Ledge Trail. Can it still be done or is it forever lost and now a myth of Yosemite?

It's all here: http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,25265

Note that the above thread is three pages long.

As far as route finding is concerned, going uphill there isn't any to do. You can see the ledge from Curry Village, slanting up to the right. Walk up it. At the top of Staircase Falls, turn 90 degrees to the left into the avalanche gully which is the water course above that point. There are one or two stonework steps remaining in the gully, but the rest are scoured out because you are merely walking up a dry stream bed at the critical angle.

Brush can be a serious problem, or not at all, depending on how recently the last snow avalanche came through there. Based on the last several winters, I would expect that the brush has had plenty of time to grow thick.

In my opinion, the most likely fatal hazard for parties of more than one is the shooting gallery problem in the upper gully. The first guy will send loose boulders at the rest of you. That has killed several people, and it very hard to avoid.

Going down can present a route finding problem, but only an idiot would want to go downhill on that stuff. Even when the trail was in service, it was often restricted to uphill only.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/16/2015 04:18PM by wherever.
Re: The Diving Board
August 12, 2015 10:38AM
If you are not super familiar with this area, I would plan two days for Diving Board. One day to get it wrong. And one day to get it right. Or go with someone who has done it before. The issue with this hike is not the difficutly of the walk but the difficulty of the route finding. One thing however.....you will never get lost....there are too many landmarks for that to happen.
I tried via the Liberty Cap/Brodrick Gully but went too far after that. I then cut through the forest to Half Dome but got onto the Snake Dike approach which is great if you are a climber but lousy if you are a hiker. Once I reached Half Dome I gave up....plus I got a very late start and prefered to not walk the Mist Trail with headlamp.

PS....as a note.....I did get stopped by a rattlesnake who was kind enough to give me a warning when I suddenly blocked his sun with my shadow. He was right next to the one rock I needed to step on to get though some manzanita and there were not many options for detour at that moment so I had to wait for him to find an escape route before I could continue.

PPS....If you are setting out to do a Class 2 walk with a bit of Class 3 at times.....keep to your commitment. Just because you can go up a short Class 4....does not mean coming down will be the same. Plus you are probably dressed for hiking....not climbing.
Re: The Diving Board
August 14, 2015 01:19PM
Thanks to chick-on's extensive knowledge of the area, I recently completed a very successful hike to the Diving Board via the zero exposure route. I should have a full trip report written up within a week or so and I will post it here.
Re: The Diving Board
August 14, 2015 05:11PM
Looking forward to your report.

There is much more about the no-exposure route on this thread:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?17,72681

Which is one of several links to the Diving Board on this reference:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,67811
Re: The Diving Board
September 07, 2015 08:48PM
I finally got around to completing my in-depth report on our hike to the Diving Board. This is my fifth report on Yosemite and the first one I've done in the past three years (too busy hiking other places). Special thanks to chick-on for his help and willingness to share critical information to make the hike a success. I hope you enjoy the report and photos.

Yosemite Diving Board trip report --

http://www.panamintcity.com/yosemite/yosemitedivingboard.html
Re: The Diving Board
September 07, 2015 09:30PM
Many thanks for the trip report and the photos. You went up a bit east of where I usually do.

Just one comment: You mention being guided by cairns. Believe me, there are cairns everywhere up there, guiding you in every possible direction. If you get off route, no problem: There will be a cairn there to make you think that you are doing OK. It won't become problematical until you try to find a way back down...

Thanks again.
Re: The Diving Board
September 12, 2015 12:10PM
Thanks for the tip, wherever. You're absolutely right and hopefully everyone considering this hike will take your good advice into account.
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