John Conway

Half  Dome – Yosemite Musing

Today we learn about one of the Yosemite early trail builders. John Conway was a very busy beaver. He is mostly known for his construction of the Glacier Point road in 1882. He also did a lot of the pioneering work on the Yosemite Falls Trail in 1873. In 1871 he was involved in the Four-Mile Trial construction from the Valley to Glacier Point. But what caught my eye was the work he contributed to the eventual ascent of Half Dome by George Anderson in 1875. I describe this in my book on Page 9. Seems a couple years before, Conway attempted to scale it but only got a couple hundred feet up from the saddle (the apex being about a 900 ft diagonal at 45 degrees).  He  came up with the technique of drilling holes in the granite and placing steel pegs in them to create a makeshift ladder.  He sent his young sons up to try this. The dangerous slope made them abandon their effort. Good thing for us Anderson continued the technique with resolve and made the summit accessible to us all.  Check out all the tiny holes during your next trip up. Could be Conway’s attempt.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Walking:  the most ancient exercise and still the best modern exercise.” – Carrie Latet
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

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One Response to “John Conway”

  1. BellaBike Says:

    And he did all this while wearing a three piece suit! I like the part where he sent his sons to do the dangerous work.

    Like Ken Burns says in his National Parks series, so much of what we enjoy today as parks, or in our parks, wasn’t accomplished by the government, but by individuals who fell in love with a place and worked to ensure it would be here for us today.

    Thanks, Mr. Conway!

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