The line on top

Half  Dome – Yosemite Musing
We often talk about the need to arrive at the cables of Half Dome early enough to beat the crowds. OK, so you are on top and you gaze down at the long line building on the saddle. But after about an hour, you decide to head back down. Hmmm  If you stay and linger longer, you may be faced with a line building up on top – wanting to come back down! Weekends are hell, so if you want to get back down in a sane manner, begin your descent by 1 pm. It won’t be clear, but folks going up will lean over to let you pass. They are very happy to take a break. I took these shots about 2 pm on a June Saturday. I did the hike that day with a slow group and we did not scoot up as fast as we should have.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” – John Muir, 1913

*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –


3 Responses to “The line on top”

  1. BellaBike Says:

    I don’t know whether to study the enlargements of these photos, or stop looking altogether at images of the cables. It is a weird mix of relief and anxiety. Some angles make it look entirely manageable, and some make me faint with fear. I am hiking it on June 23rd, and I am going to the top…if I haven’t worked myself into a tither by then. Mary.

  2. Randy Says:

    I remember one year, maybe 2003 or 04, was the only time I did the half dome hike on a summer Saturday. Live and learn. I got a somewhat late start because I was staying outside the park, but it turned out to be a hot day as well. I suffered in the heat, and when I reached the cables the crowds were unbelievable. There were so many people on the cables they were virtually stopped. I waited around and it only got worse. That was the only time I ever went down without summiting. I planned my next trip after Labor Day and liked that better. My last summit was on the second day of the cables being open.

  3. mrhalfdome Says:


    Thanks for your candor. It is what it is. I believe in telling reality and not powder puffing. The cables WILL be jammed on a weekend after 12:00…and it’s getting closer to 11:00 lately. So I can only suggest that you leave REAL early – like 5 am and be at the cables before 11:00. This is not a hard pace. Your pre-trip training will condition you.

    I also am going up June 23. This is mid week and it shold be a lot lighter – not empty but much less. You are welcome to join our group out of Curry Village. It’s not a guided hike and everyone needs to be self reliant.

    Your sense of accomplishment will be worth the pain – and we ALL are sore after.

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