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Message started by Rockgrrl on Sep 25th, 2002 at 10:56am

Title: My Snake Dike Post (Half Dome)
Post by Rockgrrl on Sep 25th, 2002 at 10:56am
In progress so bear with me...

Snake Dike report

It was the first night of the annual Chick Trip (report to come) and I was kicking back near the campfire with a mixed drink in hand.

A guy I recognized approached the ring opposite from me.

'Hi Eileen'
'Hi Greg'
'Wanna climb Snake Dike tomorrow?'
Half a beat pause.

Then I put down my drink.

The Chick Trip was not supposed to be a heavy climbing trip, the highlight is usually the Half Dome hike via the cables. However, I had been told to bring my basic climbing gear in case the climbing girls going were going to put up a rope somewhere so I had a few things. What I was more concerned about was that I had heard Snake Dike had a nasty approach and I already knew the hike down would be 8 miles back to camp.  The last climbing I'd done had been cleaning on a single pitch trad route over Labor Day -- a day that had been so hot that my boyfriend and I were happy to bail after the one climb, even if I did have to get back in time to get to work that night.

So now here I was, 10 days later after little sleep Wednesday night, contemplating getting up at 4:30 AM to climb Half Dome.

I went over to a climbing friend of mine.

'Think I can do it?'
'Yeah, you can do it'

Ok then. It was time to plan.
I had these things with me: my Mythos (once resoled), my favorite climbing pack (Black Diamond Bullet), helmet (this is new and I'm still trying to get used to it), harness, ATC, locking carabiner, oval, cleaning tool (it was on my harness from last time otherwise I wouldn't have brought it), a length of cordelette, and another oval. I had left my full rack at home.

Greg had gear though and my friend ended up loaning me her larger pack and her sunglass holders. I needed those because I was still wearing glasses since I was recovering from an eye infiltrate in my left eye. My plan was to do the approach in glasses then put in my contacts for the actual climbing. Here's what we packed for gear besides our personal stuff:

60 foot rope
Pro to about 3 inches
Mostly nuts and tri-cams
Runners sewn and unsewn approx 8
Quickdraws, hmm maybe 6 or 7
Carabiners (mainly the smaller lightweight ones)

On Greg's advice I took my shell, fleece hat, gloves for the cables, and my smaller flashlight vs my slightly bigger one. I also wore my stretch windproof jacket (I absolutely love this jacket which I bought specifically for multipitch climbing).

Title: The Endless Night
Post by Rockgrrl on Nov 1st, 2002 at 8:38pm
After we sorted all our gear we realized that it was time to get some sleep. The agreed upon wake up call was 4:00 AM since we had to hike out of Upper Pines campground and do the approach. We also wanted to time it so that we could run into some of the girls from the trip at the top.

I went to bed.  And I didn't sleep.

Throughout the night we had:

- loud talking teenage girls in the bathroom "What was that?" "Did you see a bear?" "What is that?" "It looks like a giant toilet" (It was the potable water fixture).

- A bear -- which turned out to be a raccoon in our camp

- A bear in a campground close enough for me to hear folks yelling "Bear! Bear!"

- A bear that went through OUR camp but I was just so tired by then that I didn't even poke my head out to look

It was still dark when I heard Greg's voice outside my tent: "Eileen?"
"Yep" I said, without a hint of grogginess.

It was better this way. I just couldn't sleep so we might as well take off. We put our stuff together by the light coming from the bathrooms.

I had some water and some dry cereal. Greg had asked if I wanted coffee but I didn't. I'm just not a coffee drinker in the "every morning" category, more like every few months for social reasons.

It was awfully dark.  I wished for the 100th time that THIS trip was not the one where I had decided my tiny flashlight would be ok to bring and it wasn't worth digging for my head lamp.  Greg brought along a fairly large flashlight for us to hike by.  We had attempted to just walk in the dark but the tree coverage and lack of a moon made us use it. Every now and then Greg would shine it ahead on the path in case we were going to walk into a bear.

We walked for quite awhile on the paved road, not yet on the trail when I asked "What time is it anyway?"

"About 4:00"


Turns out Greg had got me up at 3:30 AM not 4:00 AM, we were getting an early start.

And you could tell. The stars were very bright, it seemed darker than when I had gone to sleep. The road and then the path were lost in darkness. Every now and then Greg would turn off the light to see if we could make it without it. He had to turn it back on each time.

I've hiked up to Half Dome several before and used the Mist Trail for other reasons. It was a good thing too because it kept me from wondering how far we had to go. Even with our experience though, we had to make small backtracks twice. Trails look different in pitch blackness.

We made it nearly to the top of Vernal Falls before the sky finally started to lighten. To our surprise we met a couple on their way down. She was in short and a had a light jacket on, no hat. He was in covertible pants and had a jacket as well. No flashlights, packs, etc.

Title: Re: My Snake Dike Post (Half Dome)
Post by Rockgrrl on Aug 2nd, 2003 at 10:06am
We said "Good morning" to them. It turns out they had gone up to Half Dome via the cables late last night then, since they didn't have flashlights, decided to spend the night, finding a place by the fire of one of the backpacker's campsites in Little Yosemite.

The guy had let his girlfriend where the removable legs of his pants but other than that they didn't have any sort of coverings.

I couldn't help but think, "Wow these folks were unprepared".  But I also thought that I could see how it could happen when they were probably just too excited to get to the bottom of the cables of Half Dome that they didnt' want to turn around. There was something about this couple (they weren't kids by the way) that said, "We'd have been unprepared anyway" though. Something that would have made me not climb with them if I had had them as a choice of climbing partner.

Anyway, after telling the couple that it was almost 5 AM when they asked, we continued on.

The approach to the southwest face of Half Dome cuts off from below the Backpacker's campground. We were on the Mist Trail then until that cut off point into bushwacking.  After that we went essentially off trail, bushwacking through thorns then down some duff then on through a fern area (pretty) finally then to uphill again and some slabs.

Title: Vision
Post by Rockgrrl on Nov 14th, 2003 at 12:48am
The slabs proved to be a bit nervy to get across. At one point I decided to put on my rock shoes. It may have been because I was getting anxious about the climb ahead but there was definitely one spot where I felt I was already doing a low grade solo. By this time we saw another party heading up too, they opted to go to another area of slabs to our left which butted up against another layer, formering a corner. Their way looked more like an actual climb though and I ended up being grateful that we had taken the friction route we did.

Getting past the friction part, we came into a thick layer of soot and ash as ground cover between broken rock and tree stumps. There had been a fire in the area a few months ago and this black soot was what remained. I regretted havign my rock shoes on then because I got some soot into them.

I looked down into the valley. The sun was shining, the lake below looked nice. I realized I was a little out of breath.

Finally we made it to the base of the climb.

We could see 3 parties ahead of us, one of which looked like a party of 3.

They must have hiked in from Little Yosemite campground. They were at least 2 pitches ahead of us though so we prepared to move on up.

I got ready to put my contacts in so I wouldn't have to climb in my glasses.

That's when I saw that one of the disposable contact lense containers must have leaked, the lense inside was dry and unusable.  I can't wear just one lense because my eye sight is so bad I'd get a headache (and also lose binocular vision).

I was going to have to wear glasses up. So much for full peripheral vision.

Title: Re: My Snake Dike Post (Half Dome)
Post by Rockgrrl Admin on Mar 8th, 2013 at 1:47pm
So I never did finish this trip report, but I did do a full post on the next time I did Snake Dike!

You can read that (and see pictures!) here:

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