Half  Dome – Yosemite Musing
     In today’s installment of “Scary Week” we’ll talk about the magnitude of the Half Dome hike. For new readers, the audience appeared to want a break from the mundane educational postings and salivated when I got to the scary stuff. The number of viewers doubled! Everything you see is reality. But I am not trying to freak you out against doing the hike – we’re just having some fun. Besides, during this off season there’s not a whole lot of real-time Half Dome stories in the mill. I firmly believe that most anyone can safely do the hike with the big 3 – Education, Preparation and Motivation.
     Hiking Half Dome is about 16 miles round trip depending on the route you take. Most go up the Mist Trail and down JMT. About 1 mile vertical and then down. Let’s assume it takes you 11 hours. Let’s say you hike at a 2 mph pace. Sure . . . slower up hill and with time for potty breaks, water pumping and drinking, food munching, resting and an hour on top – your average might be, say 1 ½ mph. So you be actually walking about 9 hours. Ballpark – just for giggles.  Don’t bust my chops on the math – this is a “on the back of a napkin” discussion. Now let’s assume an average Joe or Jane will burn about 500 calories an hour in normal walking at a decent pace. So you might burn about 5,000 calories during the day. OK, so I may be off on this by 30% – but do you agree you might be burning at least 3500 calories; sounds reasonable. Thus the clear need to eat and have fat stores to call on (yea!). The whole point is you will be exhausted. I mean dragging back to the camp. I mean pulling yourself to the shower. Dinner is 2 blinks from a face plant onto your pizza. No signing around the campfire that night. I next submit photographic evidence! How to address this?  #2 of the Big 3 – Preparation. Your witness.

1 ... step... at... a... time.

I'm ready for it to be over.

I wish I would have trained on hills.

I'm just resting.

Unrelated thought worth quoting:When you have worn out your shoes, the strength of the shoe leather has passed into the fiber of your body.  I measure your health by the number of shoes and hats and clothes you have worn out. “ – Ralph Waldo Emerson

*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com


5 Responses to “Exhausted”

  1. Justin L Says:

    I would have to agree with you. I went up on a day that called for showers in the afternoon. I made it to the cables by 10am. I left around 430 am and hiked with strangers to till the sun came out. There are bears out there you know. The time i got to the cables the clouds rolled in. I spent 10 minutes there, made a phone call to the wife and friend, then came down. Once i was off the shoulder, the rain started. I rushed down in the rain, thinking, lets get to curry before it really rains. I was back to my car at 230-3pm. I decided lets drive home. What a mistake, it was almost like driving drunk. I couldn’t even eat that day,i had no appetite. This time, i made overnight reservations, so hopefully i can do it the day i plan and sleep that night in curry.

  2. mrhalfdome Says:


    My first several times doing the Half Dome hike I wanted a “good night’s sleep” & a shower before I did the hike. So I stayed on Hwy 120 outside the gate at the now defunct Yosemite Gateway Lodge. Another time I stayed in a tent at the KOA on Hwy 140. Not only do you need to get up at 4 am to get to the trailhead by 5:30 – the ride home was a killer. In the dark up mountain roads – my eyes would cross. I’d drive with the windows down and the stereo at 108 decibels. “Don’t fall asleep!” And then that night dealing with the inevitable muscle spasms. I read about people doing a day hike from Sacramento. Eeck!

  3. BellaBike Says:

    I’ve chosen to do my first hike on June 23rd because of this:
    “On June 21, Sacramento’s sunrise is at 5:42 a.m. and its sunset is at 8:33 p.m. The maximums are each one minute off of the solstice times. The earliest sunrise in Sacramento is 5:41 a.m. which lasts from June 7-20 and the latest sunset is at 8:34 p.m. from June 25-July 1.”

    That gives me 15 hrs. of daylight + the dusk between sunset & real darkness. Surely to Dios I can get up that knob & back to Curry in 15+ hours.

    Those crazy cable shots make me swoon. But I still ain’t skeered. Yet.

  4. Dean Says:

    Camp Curry might look a bit basic but it’s 5 Star luxury after the Half Dome hike.

    Pizza will never have tasted better or drinks more refreshing and your canvas cabin will seem as comfortable as the Ahwahnee.

  5. mrhalfdome Says:

    June is the perfect month to hike….1. LONG dayligt – light is good until about 9 pm, 2. Less chance of lightning, 3. Falls are jamming. 4. Less crowds – Europe shuts down in August and many families in the US go to Gramma’s house later in the summer after little league is over.

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