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Old 10-13-2010, 12:55 AM   #1
SandrA9810
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Yosemite Half Dome

Where do I begin??

Ok, So I want to climb Half Dome, but I have no clue where to begin or how to do it all. I've done several mountain hikes in Georgia. Including two from the Canyon Climbers Club http://www.gastateparks.org/item/143807?s=143807.0.1.5 I think Tallulah Gorge was the worst. But climbing those stairs is probably going to be close to climbing up some parts of Half Dome. However most these hikes were only a 1/2 day or less.

Every where I am, is flat land. And walking 16 miles on flat land is not going to help much. I did do some trail walking when I was in Yosemite in May, but nothing much up hill. And the longest walk, was the road to Mariposa Grove. The road was closed by the entrance to the park, so I had to park and walk the 2 miles up.
I used to go to Aquatica all the time, and climb the stairs to the racer slides. Which is 9 flights of stairs. That's about as high as you can get in Florida. And I'd do it several times each time I went, so I can do it without getting winded now. But I'm no longer in Florida. So I don't know where to go to help get in shape for climbing.

My other concern is where to stay. Yosemite is only about 2hrs drive from where I am in California, but I don't want to be doing a long drive on top of a long hike. Curry Village is expensive as can be. But I don't know if I can handle backpack camping for more than one or two nights. I'm picking out soft sleeping, and only know the luxuries of camping at the Fort. So I'm torn about staying some where in the park the night before the climb and/or staying at Little Yosemite Valley. I'd probably sleep there the night before going up and the night coming down. But I also have NO CLUE about backpack camping. Never done it, and I have no idea what to bring.

Just a one day trip there is an easy 100 bucks. Between a full tank of gas, entrance fee (which I want to get a year pass), and stopping for some food along the way, it makes for kind of expensive day. So unfortunately I don't have much luxury in going over to try myself on some of the easier climbs, although I'd love to.

All I ever read is, bring lots of water and it's a hard climb that thousands of people do each year. So if hundreds are doing this hike daily, how bad is it??

Thanks
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Old 10-13-2010, 09:39 PM   #2
Somegirl
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I've never done the Half Dome hike myself but I know people who have. From what I've been told it's very intense. There has been some talk recently about requiring permits to hike it because it can be very dangerous. People do die climbing this trail. Not often, but it happens.
Staying in Little Yosemite Valley will cut down on some of your hike the day you tackle the Dome. All I can say is do your homework and don't over estimate your abilities. Also don't go up if a storm is threatening. People have died getting struck by lightening on the cables and on the Dome.
Personally the hike to Nevada Falls has always been enough for me.
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Old 10-13-2010, 10:53 PM   #3
SandrA9810
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I know about the permits, and if I camp at Little Yosemite, then I'll need a separate permit for that. However, being so close to Yosemite, I don't really want to plan 6 months in advance which date to go. Since I have that luxury of watching the weather, and picking out a good week to try it. I also know about the weekend permits, that they might turn into an every day thing.

I kind of want to camp at Little Yosemite just to extend my time in the park, and enjoying the beauty of it. I also want to take my time climbing the trails to enjoy it. But if a 1 day hike is the better route to go, then I'll have to hustle my butt.
My camping experience is load up the back end of the Ranger, back it up to the campsite and unload. Which includes a very comfortable bed. However, that will not be the case. So I'm thinking this will be a slightly different camping experience. Especially the whole toilet thing. Showers, I can deal without, so I'm not bothered by that.

And as much information available on the web, I just keep reading the same things over and over again about the hike and cables. But none of the preparations or how to pack for the event. I don't want to turn a fun weekend trip into a disaster because I didn't know how to prepare for it.

Last edited by SandrA9810; 10-13-2010 at 11:44 PM.
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Old 10-14-2010, 01:48 AM   #4
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If you have not backpacked, then you really should not combine a first time almost 4 mile trek up the mist trial and into Little Yosemite w/ a 30-40 pound pack on your back followed by half dome then back down the mist trail, again with your gear. Backpacking gear is expensive, because it's lightweight. You need a lightweight tent, lightweight sleeping bag and lightweight food, equipment to cook your food and your personal gear. Oh, and the pack to carry it all in. It'll add up cost wise to a lot more than one or 2 nights @ Curry village or upper or lower pines campground. Go visit a camping gear store and price it out. You may be able to find used gear cheaper - but it must be lightweight. About mile 3 straight up you'll care how much your gear weighs. Since you are only 2 hours away do a test hike up and down the mist trail, preferably with a 30 lb. pack on your back, then decide if backpacking works for you.
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Old 10-14-2010, 01:54 PM   #5
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Well my thought with backpacking it, is I can enjoy more nights at Yosemite throughout the summer. The initial cost is a bit more, but over the life of it, it'll bring the costs down.
Camping at Disney, sure I spent a bit of money on the initial set up of the site, but I used that same stuff for over 4 years. And the cost savings of staying at the campgrounds to a resort room were pretty great.

Maybe I'll give some trial runs at other camping sites throughout the park. Ones a bit closer to the parking lot. Even if I don't camp LYV, I'll still be in the middle of the park. I've read some people will leave their camping gear at the Valley during the day when they do the hike, then sleep again before carrying it all back down again. So it would be day 1 - 4 miles with camping gear, day 2 - climb half dome with only gear/food needed, day 3 - 4 miles back downhill with camping gear.

Trying to navigate all the things to do at Yosemite is just overwhelming. Camping is separate from the resort lodging, and backpacking wilderness camping is separate from the reservation camping. I just want to spend more time there, with the goal of hiking half dome. But spending a $100 for just a day trip is a bit much. If I can tack on two nights camping for a small fee, $150 for 3 days isn't so bad.

Last edited by SandrA9810; 10-14-2010 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 10-14-2010, 03:00 PM   #6
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Oh, if you are interested in doing some backpacking in the future as well, that's different. Get a really good pack that fits you well, very lightweight gear and weigh the pack before you go. I tried to never carry more than 35 lbs.. I no longer back pack, but when I was younger and back packed a lot that mist trail hike into Little Yosemite was a lot harder than doing a flat or even up and down hike. The best was after you got out of the wilderness and days of eating all that freeze dried food - stopping @ a burger joint on the drive home & eating 'real' food. I think your idea of doing little Yosemite the night before and after is a good one.
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Old 10-14-2010, 03:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sndral View Post
The best was after you got out of the wilderness and days of eating all that freeze dried food - stopping @ a burger joint on the drive home & eating 'real' food. I think your idea of doing little Yosemite the night before and after is a good one.
LOL, that's one way to pack on all the calories you just burned after a long hike. When I went there in May, my bf managed to climb a couple small trails with me. When we got back home, and I was talking to his family. I told them "he might've actually burned a few calories, until he decided to eat a burger at Red Robin on the way home".
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Old 10-14-2010, 06:54 PM   #8
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One thing I know you need for the climb is good gloves for the cables. A lot of people also like to bring mountain climbing gear to clip themselves to the cables to prevent sliding off.
I'm not sure if you plan on going up alone or not, but I suggest bringing a partner along.
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Old 10-14-2010, 07:17 PM   #9
SandrA9810
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It will more than likely be a climb alone. I don't know of any one else in good physical condition to take the hike with me.

I've read about the climbing clips, kind of on a toss up about them. But might be good to wear, even if I don't use it. And I'll be looking for good gloves, my hands are so small that even most women's gloves are too big. I'm also gonna have to spend some good money on clothing.

Any advice on getting my legs in shape for it?? My last time there, I walked about 6 miles, and I was good the whole day, but the next day was a different story. I didn't have a problem getting around or doing stuff, but I did feel every muscle in my leg each time I stood up.
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Old 10-15-2010, 12:19 AM   #10
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To get your legs on shape I'd do a lot of work on a Stairmaster. The way up is a lot of climbing. Coming down is also tough because you have to keep your self from slipping. Also consider the altitude adjustment your body will need to function fully. Before taking on such a grueling hike you may want to give yourself a day to adjust.
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Old 10-15-2010, 12:35 AM   #11
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The altitude is what kind of scares me. I'm from Florida, so I'm used to sea level. I also have native Florida blood, which means I get cold easily. So that's part of my reason for wanting to stay at the Valley. Get a little used to my surroundings. My highest hike up so far has been Georgia's Brasstown Bald, which is just under 5,000 feet. But I didn't hike up from 0.

I plan on making a couple trips to Yosemite to hike different trails before doing Half Dome, but I can't go just every weekend to get in shape. So I need to do stuff at home to work on the walking up.

Last edited by SandrA9810; 10-15-2010 at 12:42 AM.
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Old 10-18-2010, 11:21 AM   #12
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Ok, who in the world decided to make clothes shopping so difficult??

Being a native Floridian, I've never had to buy real winter clothing. But I really want to take a trip to Yosemite for some of the winter fun. And I know a lot of the things I'd wear underneath would be good in the spring hikes too. This is so difficult.

So what's the difference between $50 and $200 jackets?
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Old 11-04-2010, 03:12 PM   #13
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I have hiked Half Dome twice, to the summit. Both times were all day hikes from the Valley Floor.

When do you want to do this? The cables to the summit are available seasonally only. I'd suggest a Mon-Thurs weekday in the late spring, when you won't need a permit and daylight is long. The cables are typically set up sometime in late May, but it can be later. I started at or just before sunrise each time, and got back around dinner time. I too would like to camp in Little Yosemite Valley and hike HD from there, but since I don't own high-quality, lightweight backpacking gear ($$$), I have only done so from the Valley. If you want to do it with backpacking, I'd recommend at least one test backpacking trip to get the hang of that too. Bear in mind, as others have said, that climbing the Mist Trail with a heavy backpack will be tough - you might be better off taking the John Muir trail. On my HD day hikes, I've carried a Camelbak HAWG pack with water, food, and extra clothes, but not much else. The lighter your pack, the better.

As far as training, anything for cardio endurance and leg strength will help. If hilly hikes are not available (aren't you somewhere in CA?), then stairmaster, running, power walking, cycling are all good training methods. Yes, it will cost some money, but a good training hike would be to hike to the top of Nevada Falls. That is the steeper part of the route to Half Dome. Even if you drove from your home to the trailhead that morning, that should be doable as a day trip.

Good luck!
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Old 11-10-2010, 05:18 PM   #14
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Thanks Cactus.

Yeah, I'm back in California, but here in central valley... it's just FLAT. I always wind up some where flat. I recently got to go on a couple trails in Indiana. After the intial get the blod pumping and the heart going, I had a great time on the trails. I felt really good after it. But I only got about an hour or so of time out there, as I was with other people on a group bus.

I need to do a couple more drives to Yosemite before I do it, to get a better feel for the timing. The only time I went, some one decided to diddle daddle all morning long wasting time getting there. And it didn't help that I headed west instead of east on 140... (something about growing up on the east coast to get my directions turned around).
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Old 11-13-2010, 01:31 AM   #15
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Next time you accidently head west instead of east keep going, you are only 2&1/2 hours from Monterey/Carmel - assuming you are back in Modesto.
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