Archive for January, 2010

Yosemite Half Dome Hikers Need a Permit

Friday, January 29th, 2010
Cables on a Saturday - in 2006

Cables on a Saturday - in 2006

Yosemite National Park has moved to a permit system for hikers going up Half Dome on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and holidays while the cables are up. Rockclimbers going up a technical route and not entering the subdome area will not need permits to descend. Backpackers will receive a permit as part of their Wilderness Permit if their itinerary includes Half Dome.

“In 2010, permits are available up to about four months in advance to one week in advance only through the National Recreation Reservation Service. Permits are not available in the park or on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservation procedures and timing for 2011 may be different.”

A maximum of 400 permits (300 Day Use and 100 for Wilderness Permits) will be allowed on each of the days. This was done as an interim measure while the YNPS is developing a long-term plan and I’m sure it was spurred by the accidents on Half Dome and the resulting media attention it received last year. Enforcement of the permit system is unknown at this point, but it should be a fairly easy thing for the park service to check permits at the bottom of the cables.

Is It Worth It?

I’ve summited Half Dome four times. Twice up the regular route: once on a Friday and once on a Saturday. I also went up when the cables were down (forgot what day of the week that was but it was obviously off-season). And I’ve also climbed it via a technical rockclimbing route (Snake Dike) on a Friday. Going up on a Friday I think it was as crowded on top as Whitney was the time I did the regular route up to that summit, though the way up was more crowded than going up Whitney (hikers are more spread out over the Whitney trail since it’s longer).

Each trip was worth it though I did enjoy the cables down ascent and the technical route more than the others. If however I’d only done the most crowded hike up, I still would’ve liked it. My enjoyment of the Half Dome summit is probably partly because it is an icon of childhood for me, so being able to see the view from its top is a reward unto itself. I also enjoyed the interaction with other outdoor lovers. For pure solitude it’s best to go to other locations (or just get on some technical climbing routes of course), or if doing Half Dome aim for sunrise at the top or do it in the off-season. But if you only have a weekend to do it, I’d say it’s definitely worth doing and I think this permit system will help lessen the weekend crowds though it may be an initial hassle at first.

More Half Dome Permit information: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hdpermits.htm

Update: YNPS put up more information on the “why”, essentially it is as I guessed, increased popularity and fatality and serious accidents spurred the change: http://www.nps.gov/yose/parknews/hdpermits1.htm

Jumping for Joy on Top of Half Dome

Jumping for Joy on Top of Half Dome

Quick Shots – Echo Cliffs January 9, 2010

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Last Saturday I went out to one of the local crags, Echo Cliffs which is a cliff formation in the Santa Monica Mountain range. It was a beautiful day and had the added treat of being the second time I got to hang out with Teri, one of the climbers I know on Twitter. We climbed on and near Java Wall. As we had an odd number for our party this meant I got to take a few more pictures than I usually would on a climbing focused outing.

So here they are:

Note: You can see bigger versions of any of the pictures by clicking on the slideshow, it will take you to my portfolio website where you can continue to view the rest of the set as well.

Also, If you were one of the climbers in the pictures by clicking on a photo in the slideshow and going to my portfolio site, you will be able to download the picture for your personal use.