Archive for May, 2010

Cables update – still not good

May 31, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

My moles just said a ranger told them the cable target is now Jun 17. Not confirmed but ugh.  I have a trip on the 23rd. Here’s a photo taken by the park service on Tuesday. You are looking at the approach to sub dome. A lot has melted since, but you can understand the dilemma.


The problem is the HUGE amount of snow on the trail and the sub dome. They just cannot get up to put up the cables into the support poles … and the trail is dangerous. So we wait. It takes 2 full days to install the poles and boards. Plus they have to haul them up from storage.
Depending on snow elsewhere. I recommend some alternatives:

1. Yosemite Falls. It’s 6 hrs RT but you can continue on to Eagle Peak or all the way to El Cap.
2. Tenaya Lake to Cloud’s Rest is awesome… 7 hrs RT. You get to look down at 10,000 feet to the cables on HD.
3. Try the Big Oak Flat original road…go from just west of El Cap and follow the 1876 road up to Tamarack Flat.  Lotsa rock slides to bolder over.

4. Try from Glacier Point down the Panorama Trail to the valley … a long day.
5. Try from the Glacier Point area to Taft Point, Dewey Point and Stanford Pt to Old Inspiration Pt.
6. Take John Muir Trail up to Lake Merced…..FULL all day hike.
 Have  FUN!!

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Now, the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum, What might be right for you, may not be right for some.  A man is born, he’s a man of means.  Then along come two, they got nothing but their jeans.  But they got, Diff’rent Strokes.” – R.I.P. Gary Coleman

*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

New Visitor Center

May 30, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

The main Yosemite Visitor Center in the Valley is a very nice facility. The 3D sculpture of the greater Yosemite Valley adds a lot to the understanding of the work of glaciers eons ago. How about the utility of another Visitor Center off-site? Congressman George Radanovich recently introduced legislation that would permit the National Park Service to buy up to 18 acres to build a new Yosemite Visitor Center. The property, located in Mariposa, is at the junction of Hwy 140 and Hwy 49 just outside the Arch Rock entrance into Yosemite. Radanovich is the son of historian LeRoy Radanovich. If you want to know anything about the legends of the park, LeRoy is the man. Look for his name on those books you see at the bookstores. George Radanovich says: “A visitor center at this location will not only provide Yosemite National Park with an opportunity to enhance their visitor services, it will be a tourist destination for travelers in the gateway community of Mariposa as well.” Superintendent Don Neubacher endorses the idea. It also has the backing of the Yosemite Fund (soon to be the Yosemite Conservancy).

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “A man in his books may be said to walk the world long after he is in his grave.” – John Muir 1873

*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

Half Dome Safety video

May 29, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Yosemite has just release a 9 minute video on the Half Dome hike. A tip of the hat to Dean for alerting me. A big problem is that information tends to get buried under a ton of pages. Look at the whole URL (Universal Resource Locator)

How many of us casually go to the “photosmultimedia” page to seek info on Half Dome? They do have  link on what I hope will be the main Half Dome info page, <HERE> That aside, I like the piece. Ranger Vickie Maites gives some good advice. “Tennis shoes are NOT good enough.”  She also talks about water treatment and shows folks using their filter pump. She mentions that the Merced in Little Yosemite Valley is the last water source. Readers of my book know that the “Little Spring” runs year round as the true “last chance.”  I commend her mention of the difficulty of Sub Dome – the part that is often not emphasized and will were you out. Personally, I find I find going down much easier due to gravity. And I recommend facing uphill as shown.


Related thought worth quoting: “I am feasting in the Lord’s mountain house, and what pen may write my blessings?” – John Muir 1869
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

May 27, 1851

May 27, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing  

May 27, 1851 – The Mariposa Battalion enters the valley, becomes the first whites to see it and document it.  







Related thought worth quoting: “The question of giving it the name of Yo-sem-i-ty was then explained; and upon a viva voce vote being taken, it was almost unanimously adopted. The name that was there and thus adopted by us, while seated around our camp fires, on the first visit of a white man to this remarkable locality, is the name by which it is now known to the world.” – Lafayette Bunnell 

*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch – 

KDOM back at full power

May 27, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Station K-D-O-M is back at Carpe Diem Experience corporate headquarters in San Jose, CA broadcasting at full authorized power.

     A bit jet lagged from the flight from Athens but alert and ready to hit the keyboard. The first thing I notice is the crummy weather. Gee, I go away for a while and you still haven’t gotten the snow to stop??  I hear that Squaw Valley will be open this weekend for skiing.  The Yosemite weather report is stuck for the weekend at: Rain and snow showers likely. Some thunder is also possible. Snow level 5000 feet. The Park Conditions link tells me:  The Half Dome cables will not be in place over the May 28-31 permit period. With no hint as to when – but they really don’t know. Then I open my stack of mail and find a gob of Half Dome cables passes – but they are useless due to the snow. The sad part is I gave them away at my talks to folks who now won’t be able to go.  The only bright side is that a minor heat wave will arrive next week. I never plan an HD trip before June … let’s remember the spring of ’10 for next year’s planning. Despite the “NO Half Dome” state of affairs, the park will still be jammed. If you go, do some of the other neat hikes. And bring tire chains!!
     A week ago a climber on El Capitan fell 65 feet, sustained head and chest injuries, and was unconscious. It happened on a prominent feature on the route known as the El Cap Spire, located about 1,600 feet above Yosemite Valley. He was helicoptered to Doctors Medical Center of Modesto.
     Product alert – My favorite hiking boots are the Vasque Breeze GTX. Awesome shoes.. Mel Cotton’s of San Jose is selling them for $99 this weekend. Usually $140!!! 
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “I’m back in the saddle again. Out where a friend is a friend, where the longhorn cattle feed on the lowly gypsum weed, I’m back in the saddle again,” Gene Autrey
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –


May 25, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
My Half Dome training for the last 2 weeks has been extensive walking around the artifacts of Ancient  Civilizations, slogging out a few miles of Nordic Walking on the deck of the good ship Symphony and finally plowing up and down the staircases. Shown is my daily training machine.

The ship has 12 floors, but the usable floors that one would want to be seen in shorts and sweaty shirt are from 7 to 11. Plug in your earphones of your  iPOD and push GO.  It’s a great workout. Starting out with a brisk walk and progress to a nice jog up/down. All while smiling at guests heading to lectures or the casino. My next expedition up Half Dome is June 23. I am confident of a coming Sierra heat wave that will free up the snows on the sub dome hill and allow access to the cables.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Stairway to Heaven,” Led Zeppelin
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

Permit availability

May 25, 2010

Calbes still TBD.

A few folks are posting info for extra permits…go back to the post titled. “Unused Half Dome Permits” if interested.

Remember, the NPS prohibits the selling or auctioning of permits.

Memphis Tours

May 24, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

Waldo is now through the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean. Yesterday we did a lot of walking – in  the Valley of the Kings. Whew. If you happen to do a trip to Egypt, I can recommend Memphis Tours. We hired a van with a guide to Luxor. Mahmoud was very informative during the 3 hour ride in the desert. While in Luxor, a local guide, John, provided the narration. I love ancient Egypt and this is my 3rd trip. Bucket list time. Well worth the money. A tip is to skip the formal hotel lunch that is included. Rather, maximize your time at the ancient sites. Cameras are not allowed now in the Valley of the Kings.  I feel fortunate to have taken a ton of 35 mm slides on my first trip. If you plan a trip, google Memphis Tours – good and reliable and safe. (NOT the Elvis Memphis!)

I hear from Sister Kathy in Sonora that the snows continue to fall over the park. Truckee was the coldest spot in the nation last night at 16 degrees. Again, my condolences to those who have Half Dome permits through Memorial Day. Still no firm opening date. .

So I got no takers for guest blogging. If you can compose a paragraph of interest to a few hundred readers, let me know. Hey I’m back soon. And mark down March 27 on your calendar. That’s the day in 1851 that the Mariposa Battalion entered and first saw the Yosemite Valley.

*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

Nordic Walking

May 22, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

Hello America, Where’s Waldo? Today I write from Egypt. We toured the Luxor complex yesterday. You know, the Valley of the Kings, Karnak Temple etc. Even popped in on my old hiking buddy, Tutanhkamon. He’s a bit stiff these days but hangng in there. The day before we were at Petra to see the giant stone carvings. The “Treasury” is awesome. You can google to see images of all this. The bandwidth on the ship is too thin to allow fast downloads for images. So what does all this have to do with Half Dome? Well, if I stretch it, a lot. You see, I’m teaching the passengers about Nordic Walking. Never heard of it? Well you must be American. The fitness craze has taken over much of Europe with an estimated 6 million doing it. Hasn’t taken off in the USA yet. Since I promote the use of trekking poles for hiking, I’m a big advocate of Nordic Walking. In a nutshell, you use similar poles (but more optimized for NW). You simply drag them behind you and then push them slightly into the ground (when they are behind you) to involve your upper body. Kinda like micro thrusts to propel you forward. The benefits as measured by the Cooper Institute of Aerobics in Dallas:  1. Up to 46% more calories burned since you are now using 90% of your muscles instead of just dangling your arms; 2. Heart rate goes up about 8% due to pumping blood to the lats, triceps, and core; 3. Oxygen intake goes up about 20%. And a bonus is increased stability and balance and NO joint impact. After a brief orientation, we go around Crystal Cruises 1/3 mile elliptical Promenade deck. By the way, Crystal is the only cruise line offering complimentary Nordic Walking on all their cruises. But then they are the #1 rated cruise line for the past 16 years. While not the same as trekking, the use of poles really makes a lot of sense for walking. In Europe you will see groups of people Nordic Walking around in parks. It’s still in its infancy in the US. Let me know if you want to know more. And use trekking poles for your hikes.

Yosemite is still putting together their calendar of  Half Dome public scoping sessions and are trying to schedule one in the Bay Area (Berkeley, probably) in mid June.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “When you come to the fork in the road – take it.” – Yogi Berra

*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

Yosemite Half Dome planning meeting

May 20, 2010

From the NPS—>

Yosemite National Park will be hosting its monthly open house on May 26, 2010. The Open house is from 1 to 6 pm in the Valley Visitor Center Auditorium. Park entrance fees are waived for attendees.
Project managers will be on hand to discuss the Half Dome Trail Stewardship Plan, Invasive Plant Management Plan Update, the Wawona Road project, the Tioga Road EA, and many other ongoing projects. Special presentations on the Half Dome Trail Stewardship Plan will ocurr at 2:30 and 5 pm.

Half Dome Cables Will Not Be in Place over Memorial Day Weekend
Cool, wet conditions have persisted well into May, resulting in a heavier-than-usual and slowly-melting snowpack. As a result, the subdome, below the Half Dome cables, is covered in snow. A slip and fall from the subdome’s steep snowfield could cause serious injury or death. For the safety of employees setting up the cables and hikers, the cables will not be put up until conditions improve. We will monitor conditions over the next two weeks and issue an expected opening date as soon as possible.
If you have a permit for May 21-23 or May 28-31, you will receive a refund.
The trail up the subdome is completely covered in snow.