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Re: I DON'T want to climb Half Dome

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avatar I DON'T want to climb Half Dome
February 06, 2013 02:11AM
I'd just like to get as close to it as I can without a permit, see what the cables look like, take pictures of the pile(s) of discarded gloves and whatever else is there to see, and head back down.

I remember reading that (a.) people who are going up the cables won't be allowed "on the Half Dome Trail beyond the base of the subdome" but that (b.) people who get to the top of Half Dome by another route (i.e., rock climbing) can even go down the cables, all without a permit.

Does anyone know the specifics of what the Half Dome permit authorizes you to do, and where you can and can't go without it? If the permit is about going on the subdome and the only way (besides technical climbing) to get there is the Half Dome trail, maybe that's that. If the permit is about using the cables and I don't intend to use the cables, it seems kind of arbitrary to say I can't get within 1/2 mile (or whatever) of the cables lest I try to sneak up them or something. Or is the purpose of the permit to limit crowding not only on the cables, but on the subdome as well?

How far toward Clouds Rest would I have to go before I get a view of at least part of the cables?
Re: I DON'T want to climb Half Dome
February 06, 2013 02:50AM
I got to this point a couple of years ago, where I could clearly see the cables, before someone asked me for a permit (though I'm not sure if they've moved the permit checkpoint since then):


Half Dome, Yosemite National Park by urbandispute, on Flickr



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/06/2013 03:00AM by bbb.
Re: I DON'T want to climb Half Dome
February 06, 2013 06:23AM
Quote
bbb
I got to this point a couple of years ago, where I could clearly see the cables, before someone asked me for a permit (though I'm not sure if they've moved the permit checkpoint since then):
When we went this past July(2012), the ranger was stationed just before the sub-dome. The sub-dome can get crowded as well, so I believe that they would like to limit traffic there as well as the cables.
You can see the cables well before you get to the sub-dome, but you would have to be at the bottom of the cables to see the pile of gloves.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/06/2013 06:25AM by snorkus.
Re: I DON'T want to climb Half Dome
February 06, 2013 05:14AM
With binoculars, you can see the cables before getting to subdome and
without heading towards Clouds Rest. Just head up the Half Dome trail
till the trees thin out a bit, and you can't miss it. Quite a sight.
Re: I DON'T want to climb Half Dome
February 06, 2013 05:22AM
The bottom of the cable route is obscured by subdome, but the upper part is
visible. I'll post a photo, if I can compute how.
avatar Re: I DON'T want to climb Half Dome
February 06, 2013 07:44AM
With binocs you can see the cables from LYV.
Also from just a bit east of JMT/HD trail junction.

This is a world-class hike IMHO even if you don't go up all the way.

Ranger was stationed below sub-dome when I went up 2 years ago.
Website says that is where they are situated now.

Go to subdome... talk to ranger... then go explore... who knows...
maybe he/she will let you go up and see the view from below the cables.

Half Dome Fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: I DON'T want to climb Half Dome
February 06, 2013 06:36PM
I never have and never will I am afraid of heights, ever since a near fatal roofing accident.
Re: I DON'T want to climb Half Dome
February 06, 2013 11:30PM
I always do half dome at night now. Get up to the top to see sunrise, relax a bit up there and head down. First time we saw rangers about an hour down the trail, the other time we didn't see them all the way down.

This way you avoid the heat and the crowds.
avatar Re: I DON'T want to climb Half Dome
February 07, 2013 04:24AM
Thanks for all the tips and info. I think next time I'm in the Valley (May?) I'll ask at the Wilderness Center. Here's how I picture that conversation going: "Hi Wilderness Center, I understand that permits to climb Half Dome are in great demand but I'd like a permit NOT to climb Half Dome." grinning smiley If they don't have a solution for me (and can't explain why it's verboten), I'll probably try talking to the ranger at the subdome next.

I figure it'll be a good hike whether I get onto the subdome or not. I didn't realize you could see the cably side of Half Dome even from LYV.

I don't mind heat (in Yosemite, anyway). I do carry lights in case I'm ever out after dark but I wouldn't go night hiking on purpose unless I already knew those trails really well.
avatar Re: I DON'T want to climb Half Dome
February 07, 2013 07:02AM
Cables this year typically will be up May 25th.
So I presume that is the first date that they sold tickets.
(not going to look)
So if you want to see, w/o question, people on the cables
and them locked and loaded...
If you go before cables up... then getting to the base of cables
difficulty-wise varies from year to year.
Posted a bunch about that sorta thing here:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,25438,25438#msg-25438

Of course if you search around you should be able to find a
photo or a million from LYV. But to be clear... here is the view
that I am talking about:

You may be able to spy it from lots of places in LYV but this is
on the trail... here
If it's not clear.. you go past the LYV campground... over Sunrise Crk...
and then where it's nice and open and sandy... there is that shot.

Have fun whatever your goal is



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: I DON'T want to climb Half Dome
February 07, 2013 10:23AM
Speaking from my experience last year, you won't be allowed to ascend subdome sans permit. For reference, I encountered a Ranger a bit before subdome last year. This is assuing the cables are up at the time you go. If they're up, try to get a permit via the daily lottery. I was successful in doing so last year, rather easily I might add. There were, at minimum, 60+ available on the two days I tried. You apply for the permit lottery Monday morning for a Wednesday hike. Any weekday is going to give you a solid chance at securing a permit. I'm advising trying to get a permit as it's certainly not a leisurely hike up to subdome. May as well retain the option to go as high as you like once you've put forth the effort. It's a great hike regardless of gaining the summit.

One last thing I didn't see mentioned, take the Mist up and JMT down for a nice loop and to save your knees a bit on the descent.

Have fun and be safe out there smiling smiley
avatar Re: I DON'T want to climb Half Dome
May 24, 2013 08:32PM
Well, I did ask at the Wilderness Center this week. The only kind of permit they knew about was to climb Half Dome. They predicted that without one of those, the ranger at the foot of the Subdome wouldn't let me any closer. I may go up and ask in person (someday) but there's a lot of Four Mile Trail mapping/photographing/exploring I want to do first. tongue sticking out smiley
Re: I DON'T want to climb Half Dome
May 25, 2013 12:17PM
Don't fret. There are plenty of good things to do when you get turned back at the start of the subdome steps. The easiest are the Quarter Domes.
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,29842

You can also try the climbers trail down from the subdome starting place to the face of Half Dome, or go up the Clouds Rest trail for a ways. You can also scramble up Liberty Cap on the way back down.

If scrambling is not your thing, then do the Quarter Domes hike. It's off trail, but about as easy as can be.
avatar Re: I DON'T want to climb Half Dome
May 25, 2013 01:26PM
Quote
gophersnake
Well, I did ask at the Wilderness Center this week. The only kind of permit they knew about was to climb Half Dome. They predicted that without one of those, the ranger at the foot of the Subdome wouldn't let me any closer. I may go up and ask in person (someday) but there's a lot of Four Mile Trail mapping/photographing/exploring I want to do first. tongue sticking out smiley

Before they instituted the Half Dome permitting process, there was never a permit required to day hike anywhere in Yosemite.

I'm not even sure there was a written definition for "day hiking". I've heard of people who started their HD trip in the early morning while backpackers who slept overnight were required to have a permit.

I was thinking that technically someone who never has to sleep wouldn't require an overnight permit.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/25/2013 01:27PM by y_p_w.
Re: I DON'T want to climb Half Dome
May 27, 2013 10:46AM
When did they start checking for permits to climb HD? And when did they start requiring permits? I climbed up the cables in the early '90s and no one asked us for a permit (no one in our party had one). A permit was likely required and we just did it anyway, on a lark. But no one made us turn back, either.
avatar Re: I DON'T want to climb Half Dome
May 27, 2013 12:17PM
Quote
mammaseeta
When did they start checking for permits to climb HD? And when did they start requiring permits?

It was just a couple of years ago. The cables were just getting too crowded.
Re: I DON'T want to climb Half Dome
May 27, 2013 01:01PM
when people started dying regularly.
avatar Re: I DON'T want to climb Half Dome
May 27, 2013 10:07PM
Quote
Ken M
when people started dying regularly.

That didn't happen.
Re: I DON'T want to climb Half Dome
May 27, 2013 11:11PM
could be my memory is faulty.

I recalled that amazingly, no one had died on HD, at all, except when the cables were down. Then about 8 years ago, we seemed to have them regularly.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/08/14th-death-in-yosemite-this-year-prompts-concerns-from-rangers.html

"The park started requiring permits last summer because of concerns about overcrowding and a series of deaths near the top of the park’s iconic peak."

Well, I remembered right, I guess you are saying the Times was wrong. Which could certainly be true.

From the EA created by the USPS on the permit system:

http://parkplanning.nps.gov/showFile.cfm?projectID=29443&docType=public&MIMEType=application%252Fpdf&filename=halfdomeea%2Epdf&clientFilename=halfdomeea%2Epdf

" 2006-2009: After a long record of very few accidents, four fatal falls occurred between 2006
and 2009 on the Half Dome cable system. These accidents, along with the increased
crowding, have caused the NPS to reexamine the safety of the cable system.


2009: After an additional fatality and multiple victim rescues, the NPS determined a need for
an emergency interim use limit and permit system2."


And: History of Accidents on HD Cables 1969-2011

1 6/1/1969 Unknown Contusions, lacerations
2 9/6/1971 Possibly lightning/ wet rock Survived with major injuries
3 9/1/1984 Wet rock Broken pelvis
4 6/20/1990 Dry rock Minor injuries
5 9/8/1994 Dry rock Minor injuries
6 7/24/2003 Wet rock Multiple fractures, back injury
7 10/1/2006 Wet rock Fell off cables, stopped with no injuries
8 11/8/2006 Wet rock; Cables down Fatal
9 4/19/2007 Wet rock; Cables down Fatal
10 6/17/2007 Dry rock Fatal
11 6/6/2009 Wet rock Multiple fractures, jaw and back
12 6/13/2009 Wet rock Fatal
13 6/23/2010 Dry rock Internal injuries
14 1/28/2011 Icy rock; Cables down Fractured ankle
15 7/31/2011 Wet rock and lightning Fatal

So I guess you are saying that the Park service is also confused about their decision. Certainly possible!
avatar Re: I DON'T want to climb Half Dome
May 28, 2013 05:08AM
Quote
Ken M
So I guess you are saying that the Park service is also confused about their decision. Certainly possible!

No, not saying that at all. It's was the crowding and what might happen in the future that forced the permit system.
Re: I DON'T want to climb Half Dome
May 28, 2013 10:54AM
Quote
eeek
Quote
Ken M
So I guess you are saying that the Park service is also confused about their decision. Certainly possible!

No, not saying that at all. It's was the crowding and what might happen in the future that forced the permit system.

So you are saying that when the Park Service gives the specific reasons, they are confused about what they really mean, or what they are actually thinking?

You appear to disagree with their published reasons, and the rather lengthy ER that they published about the subject. I imagine that you have contacts that are able to give you the "real" story, and that is helpful.
avatar Re: I DON'T want to climb Half Dome
May 28, 2013 12:52PM
As already posted by Ken, it's quite clear that the Park Service took into consideration the recent increase in the rate of fatalities in deciding to implement the current Half Dome permit system based on what they wrote in the Executive Summary of their Half Dome Trail Stewardship Plan Environmental Assessment .

From the NPS Half Dome Trail Stewardship Plan - EA:


The following recent actions have been implemented:
  • 2006-2009: After a long record of very few accidents, four fatal falls occurred between 2006
    and 2009 on the Half Dome cable system. These accidents, along with the increased
    crowding, have caused the NPS to reexamine the safety of the cable system.
  • 2008: The NPS commissioned a study to better understand use levels, their relation to safety,
    and the visitor experience of those hiking Half Dome.
  • 2009: After an additional fatality and multiple victim rescues, the NPS determined a need for an emergency interim use limit and permit system2.
2Under the authority of Title 36, Chapter 1.5; Closures and Public Use Limits.


I italicized and highlighted in red the text which clearly shows that the Park Service took into consideration the increased fatalities on Half Dome as one of the justifications to institute a Half Dome permit system.

.
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