Archive for March, 2010


March 31, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing


On April 1 you can try to get your Half Dome permit via Follow the same drill we played on March 1. Now July and August permits will become available for the $1.50 service fee and you can get up to 4 per try. Go back to the blogs around Jan 30 to pick up tips. Basically, get logged into the site, registered, your weekend date loaded and hit PURCHASE at 07:00:01 PDT.  No whining if you don’t get one. 

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “He who hesitates is lost.” – Proverb

*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –


YA Spring Forum goings on

March 30, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
     This week we are going to share info I gleaned at the annual Yosemite Assn Spring Forum held last weekend. It was nice to see so many of you. The rest of you should join up. 450 or so members made the trek on a spectacular Spring weekend. It was actually hot! Not like what coming to the Sierra this week – SNOW.
    The biggest non-surprise was the announced merger of the Yosemite Association and the Yosemite Fund into the Yosemite Conservancy. That will be the official name and a new logo will be forthcoming. The official legal date for the new organization is June 4. Christie Holloway kicked off the event and introduced many of the leadership staff. Ms. Holloway is the chair of the Yosemite Association Board of Trustees.

     In his talk, new Superintendent, Don Neubacher said the 2 emphasis areas will be Resource Protection and Youth Education. The latter will emphasize diversity of youth so that all segments experience the park. Don admitted to having only been on the job for 2 weeks and deferred to his top staff. He went ot UC Davis. The 2016 100th anniversary of the NPS is coming up and Yosmtie hopes to get resources to help in the celebration.

     Stan Austin is currently Superintendent at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area but is acting Deputy of Yosemite. I didn’t know we had a Deputy!

     Niki Nicolas is the Chief of Resources. Restoration will be big this year. She told us that the Wawona Meadows will be restored and the classic fountain that has been inop for so long will be made functional again. There is also program to preserve the  Yosemite toad and the Sierra Nevada yellow legged frog.

     Jack Hoeflich heads the Protection Division and manages fire protection and security as well as the  new cable permit system.

     Scott Gediman’s Public Affairs office has been pretty busy with the Ken Burns film – it began in 2003!  The park has coverage in the California Visitors magazine as well as the booklets produced by the gateway communities.  The next Sunset magazine will have a Yosemite feature. Cable TV’s Food Network will have Rachel Ray doing a 1 hour show about camping at the park. San Francisco’s KPIX (CBS) will have a show on April 22 with coverage of springtime in Mariposa with good shots of  Tunnel View. He announced that the image used on the selected quarter for the next US Mint Quarter program was El Cap. What we didn’t know was that his wife Beth took the photo that was used! The line drawing view of El Cap with the Merced and the log in the foreground is a clone of what Beth took!! He showed us the photo. This quarter will roll out in July.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “A stitch in time saves nine, so we take a thousands stitches today to save nine tomorrows.” – John Muir, 1912
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

Half Dome Cable Permits update 3/28

March 29, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

     Well, I got zip comments while I was out on what the heck that building in Cook’s Meadow is. Either no one knows or no one cares. I know the readership goes down on weekends, but we still get a bucket load of visitors. Hey, I’m here for you anyway!  All I ask is 3 minutes a day to read the hot info I conjure up.  I met a woman from Stockton this weekend at the park who suggested I start a Facebook FAN page on Half Dome. What do you think? I don’t  tweet or use those other social networking sites. I’m too busy living life than recording it. But she may have a point to increase the community of Big Granite Rock lovers. I need to learn how to do all that but I could care less telling what my favorite color is or my thoughts on Brittany Spears. (Geezing again)

     The Yosemite Assn Spring Forum was great. Over 450 people in attendance. I took 3 pages of notes and observations. Plenty of fodder for at least a week’s worth of blogs! Today I wanted to get the most relevant news to you first. Yes, the permit thing.  Turns out the program is under the management of the park  “Protection Services” or some such named group. Meaning Law Enforcement.  Eeck! The cops – the guys with the loaded guns. It surprised me that the plain old wilderness rangers weren’t the focal point.  Well the plan is hire about 10 more rangers to administer and enforce the cable permit hairball. They will have many suits along the trail and yes, they plan to be strict, especially in the beginning.  When probed, it was revealed that the fine for abuse is $150. Folks thought this was no deterrent to not getting one. They won’t tackle you and put you in irons. If you have  a confirmation number for a permit, you WILL be getting an email soon explaining how to actually manage your permit.

     I have a ton of pix to download and share. See yall back here tomorrow – I won’t take roll, so don’t worry.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “How deathlike is sleep in this mountain air  and quick the awakening into newness of life!” – John Muir, 1869

*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

At the park – Day 2

March 28, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
A short one today. It’s after 8 and I am Curry and my brain is fried. The whole day from early until now was at the Yosemite Assn Spring Forum. A great session. I did a book signing and I think we sold about 25.  Sweet.  I will give yall a good report tomorrow. In the meantime – this one is on you. What is this bldg in Cook’s Meadow?

Just off the Sentinel Bridge area. It looks like an unoccupied house with has boarded up windows. Do any of you old timers know what it is?  I don’t.  Please help via the comment page.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “There is a house in New Orleans they call the Rising Sun. And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy and God I know I’m one.” – The Animals

*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

At the park

March 27, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
A couple tidbits of info. The Big Meadow fire was huge. I’ll post photos when I can download them. A huge burned area now. Sigh. Massive roadwork in the central valley area of the park. The road up to the Visitor Center is tore up. The road from there to the Ahwahnee willbe redon in May.  A massive project coming. The Curry Buffet will be $15 this year…not the $18 I was told 3 weeks ago. Wifi is working great in the Curry Village Lounge Bldg. The Park is staffing up to manage the Half Dome permit process. They plan to be strict to make it work.  TGhe Big YA Spring Forum is SAturday. I’ll come back with the highlights. Chao.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver hammer came down upon his head. Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver hammer made sure that he was dead.” – The Beatles
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

Staying in the Valley

March 26, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

Most Half Dome hikers prefer to stay in the Curry Village Tent cabins, Housekeeping or the Pines for camping. These spots are near the Happy Isles / John Muir Trailhead so we can roll out of bed, slam down a bagel and hit the trail at the crack of dawn’s early light. Some folks prefer more pleasant accommodations. I know Mrs. Half Dome does not rejoice unless the bed is topped by a comforter. No, she’s doesn’t do much of my outdoor stuff – she knits. But I digress. If you want to stay a couple rungs up the caste system, here are the rates. These are for “in-season” in  2010, which runs April 1 thru October 1. Get out your bars of gold.

1. The Ahwahnee Lodge begins at $430 for a standard room. If this is below your standards, you can plunk down $1094 for the Library Suite. Yeah per night.

2. Yosemite Lodge at the Falls (that name cracks me) will set you back $178 a night for a standard, $194 for  up to 4 people and $207 for Lodge Rooms.

3. Curry Village wood cabins start at $101 sans bath; $140 with bath and $178 for a standard.

Non-Valley rooms include the Wawona (too far for a Half Dome hike) at $145 for a shared bath (put the seat DOWN), $217 for one with your own potty. You can also get a real cabin in Foresta – but these are privately owned and rented out. Yosemite West is a cluster of condo looking units also private owned and managed.

In other news, I’ll be heading to the park Fri-Sun for the Ya Spring Forum. If you go – say hi! The forecast 2 days ago called for snow to 5,000 feet. I paniced and went out to the Honda shop and bought a set of cable chains for the Civic.  80 clams but I got  them now.

If you did not see the new El Cap quarter that Tony B told us about, here’s the image:

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave.” – Hotel California, The Eagles

*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

Snowboard down Half Dome

March 25, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
What? Are you crazy? I hope I’m not (maybe a little off balance) but you may call Jim Zellers such. It was 10 years ago to the month (March 13, 2000), that he did the above – actually rode his snowboard down the backside of Half Dome. He was 34 then. OK, if no photo then he didn’t do it. Here you go:

This shot taken by Richard Leversee shows Zellers heading down just to the right of the cables. He rode the thin layer of snow over 800 feet to the saddle. Cuting tight hairpin traverses all the way down. Then he climbed up and did it again. Zeller is no novice. He was the first to scoot down Mt. McKinley (20,320 ft), Nepal’s Pumori (23,494 ft), New Zealand’s Mt. Cook (12,316 ft) and Africa’s Mt. Kenya (17,058 ft). Whew.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Crazy, I’m crazy for feeling so lonely. I’m crazy, crazy for feeling so blue. I knew you’d love me as long as you wanted and then someday you’d leave me for somebody new.” – Patsy Cline
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

Sentinel Bridge Part 2

March 24, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

Today I wanted to share why the Sentinel Bridge is so neat. Actually, it’s not the bridge itself but WHERE it is. An hour before sunset each night you will see a ton of photographers on the Sentinel Bridge with tripods. They are waiting to see the “alpenglow” on the face of Half Dome. This is the orange/gold sheen the setting sun puts on it. Good old smog in the Central Valley helps give an eerie light as the Solar orb descends. (Yeah, the earth is actually rotating away, but let’s not get picky.) It’s well worth doing one day to get your own never-before-taken photo for your collection. This is one you want to take at high resolution so you can crop out unneeded distractions. Here’s mine:


 Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter. Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here. Here comes the sun, here comes the sun and I say it’s all right.” – The Beatles

 *Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

Sentinel Bridge

March 23, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
When you drive from Curry Village to the main village, you pass over Sentinel Bridge. It is famous for giving great views of Half Dome. This is a shot of the current bridge.

It is the 6th one built over the Merced since the first log one in 1859. Most the bridges had a narrow arch over the water which caused the water to accelerate as it crossed the narrow throat (in gases it’s called the Bernoulli effect). Anyway, this wreaked havoc with the flow and stressed the bridge. An iron one was put up in 1878. The one shown here was built in 1919 (same year as the Half Dome cables) and is made of concrete and granite.

The one we ride over today was built in 1993 and has a much wider arch to allow a slower water movement.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Starfleet to scoutship, please give your position, Over. I’m in orbit around the third planet from the star called the sun. Over. You mean it’s the earth? Over. Positive. It is known to have some form of intelligent species. Over. I think we should take a look.” – Third Stone from the Sun, Jimi Hendrix
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

No water for you!

March 22, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
During the hot summer months a welcome spot upon returning to camp after the long Half Dome hike is the Vernal Fall Bridge. A real porcelain toilet welcomes you instead of the many wooden outhouses on the trail. But even better is the nice water fountain near the bridge.

Normally, you can choose between 2 bubblers and 2 spigots. There are even 2 sinks so you can wash up your dirty dishes. However this time of year you should not plan on filling up your bottles at this oasis. Nay, the NPS locks up the source with this coffin looking case.

A perfect fit and no way you can get it off. I suppose they turn off the water pipe to prevent freezing during the sub-32 degree nights at the park. My kudos to whoever built the thing. Maybe an ex-Samsonite luggage designer.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Unfortunately, man is in the woods, and waste and pure destruction are already making rapid headway.” – John Muir, 1877

*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –