10-14 hours hiking time.
Elevation gain, 4,800 feet.
Elevation at the top, 8,842 feet.
Most strenuous day hike in Yosemite.
14.2 miles round trip via Mist Trail, up to 17 miles from other spots.
After naming 2014 my year of tacking the remaining mountains in my life, my friend Charlie proposed that we head out to Yosemite, not just to see Half Dome, but to hike to the top of it.
I said yes before I really knew what I was getting myself into.
I knew what Half Dome looked like and assumed that hiking to the top of it would obviously be more involved than most day hikes. Then I googled it and learned about the last 400 feet.
“The most famous–or infamous–part of the hike is the ascent up the cables. The two metal cables allow hikers to climb the last 400 feet to the summit without rock climbing equipment. Since 1919, relatively few people have fallen and died on the cables. However, injuries are not uncommon for those acting irresponsibly.
The Half Dome cables usually go back up the Friday before Memorial Day (conditions permitting) and come down the day after Columbus Day.”
Despite being the most strenuous day hikes in Yosemite, it’s also very popular. Long lines of hikers climbing the cables packed like sardines during summer holidays were not uncommon. So the park service recently implemented a lottery system to limit the number of hikers and to protect Half Dome and the natural wilderness that makes it so beautiful.
We’ve officially submitted our lottery request with 7 choices of days in June. Avoiding Saturdays. Yosemite has been on my list for (almost 2 years) too long! So I’m very excited and a little, ok…
Have you hiked Half Dome? If so, please share! I’d also love to hear about your favorite places to stay and other things to do in Yosemite since I’m in charge of accommodations.
P.S. – As someone who has occasionally suffered from altitude sickness, mostly when flying, am I crazy? Also, don’t worry Mom, I won’t hang over the ledge for a photo opp. I’ll let Charlie do that!