Half Dome – Yosemite Musing


‘Tis the season for thunderstorms at Yosemite. Into August we will see the pattern of afternoon downpours. When the Central Valley is hotter than Calcutta and that air meets the colder Pacific stream, cumulo-nimbus formations grow steadily as the day goes on. Expect nice blue skies when you begin your Half Dome hike then you’ll notice a build up of puffy white clouds by 10 am. All hell breaks loose about 1-2 pm. You can easily get up the cables and on the way home if you begin your hike early. Carry your poncho even if the Mist Trail is dry. If you are anywhere near Sub Dome and see evidence of dark low clouds, the distant rumble of thunder or a feeling of static in the air – turn around and head back. Lightning can travel about 7 miles from its source. You should be safe in the greater forest. Really, beat feet to get down. Lightning killed 2 on the top of Half Dome in 1985. And don’t forget, the cables are conductive steel. The 2 falls off the cables in June were during wet conditions. If you are caught in a lightning display, get into a low lying gully, put your pack on the ground and squat on it on your toes. The Dome  has been there eons; it will remain for you to do another day. Always check with the Wilderness office or the Mountain Store for weather forecasts before you go up. Hike safely. 

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Here come the jesters, one, two, three. It’s all part of my fantasy, I love the music and I love to see the crowd, dancing in the aisles and singing out loud.” – Bad Company 

*Mr. Half Dome -Rick Deutsch –


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