Destinations, Events

Hike Half Dome

September 30, 2013 by

Half Dome

The iconic Half Dome rises 5,000 feet above Yosemite Valley where it continues to challenge hikers.

Back in 1865 it was declared impassable but in 1875 a man by the name of George Anderson reached its summit. In the process he laid a cable route which proved to be the predecessor of the cable route used today.

Half Dome cables

Half Dome cable route

Hiking Half Dome

George Anderson was only the first to conquer the big rock. Even though it is an arduous hike, today thousands reach the summit.

For those ready to take on the challenge, a permit is required before embarking on the adventure. For those who choose to hike Half Dome, it’s an exciting 14- to 16 mile round trip trek into wilderness. Due to the arduous nature of the hike which gains in elevation, it’s not for those who are unprepared or out of shape.

Half Dome

Climbing down the cables.

Half Dome Cable Route

Probably the most well-known and talked about part of the hike is the ascent up the cables. It’s definitely not a feat for those who have a fear of heights.

The cable route consists of two metal cables that allow hikers to climb the last 400 feet to the summit without rock climbing equipment. This is a dangerous climb even with the cables, and while few people have fallen or died on the cables, injuries are not uncommon for those who take unwarranted risks.

The Half Dome cables are available to hikers usually from the Friday before Memorial Day until the day after Columbus Day in October.

How Long Does It Take?

For most hikers, it takes between 10 to 12 hours to hike to Half Dome and back. For some, it takes longer than that. If you plan to hike during the day, it’s best to start out at sunrise or earlier, but it is important to equip yourself with a flashlight and extra batteries in the event the sun sets before you return.

Views from Half Dome Hike

Along the way, hikers will experience stunning views of Vernal and Nevada Falls, Liberty Cap, Half Dome; and from the shoulder and summit will experience panoramic views of Yosemite Valley and the High Sierra. Reaching the summit offers a reward of its own.

Photo credits: jdn, Incase, wetwebwork

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