Archive for June, 2010

New iPhone App

June 30, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musings

Get / Give permits<HERE>

     I’d like to announce my affiliation with Big Escapes in the development and production of applications (Apps) for the iPhone and other web enabled “smart” devices. We are building content for a Half Dome App that will include Preparation tips as well as GPS triggers to Points of Interest along the hike. We’ll have narration, video, olde tyme photos and text. We’ll emphasize vignettes of relevant information to make the hike more than just “The Bataan Death March.”  I’ll keep you posted as things move along.
     Big Escapes has just released an App called Yosemite Falls. You can find it at the Apple App store for $4.99. Click <HERE>. It is an immersive, entertaining, and educational walk around the forests and oak woodlands to a close up view of Lower Yosemite Fall. Along the way NPS Rangers Bob Roney and Vicki Mates highlight the history, natural forces, and wildlife that shaped Yosemite Valley.    The App includes 45 minutes of video, audio, images, and text which complement the breathtaking vistas. Visitors will experience rock falls, bears, owls, fires, floods, and visit the location of John Muir’s cabin and saw mill. This adventure through the Yosemite of today and yesterday takes place over 2 miles of paved handicap accessible trails with 22 points of interest. Visitors will experience the hidden stories all around them. Parents will find this App is “edu-taining” for their children and includes some Yosemite Cartoons from well known comic strip author Phil Frank of the San Francisco Chronicle.

     Visitors can access content by touching the menu lists or touching the numbered icons on the interactive map.  Visitors with an iPhone (it also runs on an iPOD Touch) get the bonus of having GPS show their location on the map. When nearing one of the 22 tour stops the iPhone automatically vibrates notifying you of your arrival at a story spot. In addition to the story spots, the App has GPS coordinates for the nearest restrooms, visitor center, museum, and shuttle bus stops making finding your way around a breeze.  The stories are best enjoyed while walking to Yosemite Falls, however the entire experience can also be shared with friends and family at your hotel, campsite, or when you are at home. The App was produced by Big Escapes in partnership with both the National Park Service and the Yosemite Association. A portion of the proceeds from each purchase goes to the newly named Yosemite Conversancy.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Winds are advertisements of all they touch . . .  telling their wanderings even by their scents alone.” – John Muir, 1878
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

Two Happy People

June 29, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

Get give permits<HERE>

I got a note from Vu T. that he and his gal, Linda, went up Half Dome under the full moon and he proposed to her on the Visor. Check out this nice video. Smiles all the way!  Congrats and invite us all to the wedding!!
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Do you believe in magic in a young girl’s heart How the music can free her, whenever it starts.”  – The Lovin’ Spoonful
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

Park Open House

June 28, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Get / give permits<HERE>
There are some new entries – including a primo campsite for the July 4 period!!

     If you plan to be at Yosemite on June 30, you might want  to attend the monthly open house held at the Valley Visitor Center Auditorium. It runs from 1  to 6 pm. Tell the gate rangers that you are attending and they will waive the entrance fee!  NPS Project Managers will be on hand to discuss the Merced Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan (MRP), Scenic Vista Management Environmental Assessment (EA), Tenaya Lake EA, the Wawona Road project, the Tioga Road EA, and many other ongoing projects. Presentations on the MRP Outstandingly Remarkable Values (ORVs) will be at 2:30 and 5 pm. This is great … but I still want them to have a conference capability or on-line “go-to-meeting” set up for us flat-landers that just cannot get up there for events like this. If you go, please give us a summary – the park is not big on writing up minutes for the public. Sigh.

     If anyone went up Half Dome this permit weekend – how about some feedback on how it went?Lastly, I wanted to share a photo of two hardy first time “Domers” – meet Brittany M. and Daniel D. who completed their first summit (of many to come) on Wednesday. Congrats!!

Mr HD, Brittany and David post hike

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “All the wide world is beautiful, and it matters lut little where we go . . . the spot we chance to be always seems the best.” – John Muir
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

Alex Honnold at it again

June 27, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

Get give permits<HERE>

On Wednesday while I was busy grunting up the Half Dome trail, Alex Honnold, the new climbing Messiah, was resting from his June 22 climb up the face of Half Dome in a record a tad over 2 hours and then scooted over to El Capitan and climbed it – that’s both faces in a total of 8 hours. Alex is 22 and hails from Sacramento.

Alex strolls between climbs

He admits to climbing being his only passion – in fact, the only thing he does! He got to the top of HD very early then descended and drove over to El Cap. It took him 2:09 to get up Half Dome and 5:59 to summit El Cap via “The Nose” route. It takes me 2 hours to walk to Little Yosemite Valley!! Counting transit time between the two monsters, it took him 11 hours. A new record for those interested in beating it. He used a 30 ft cord on Half Dome and he brought a full 60 meter rope on The Nose, but only used it getting to the boot, the king swing, and on the great roof. You may recall that he FREE Solo’d up Half Dome – no ropes, alone, on September 6, 2008. His time was 2 hours 50 mins.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “The astronomer looks high, the geologist low. Who looks between on the surface of the earth? The farmer I suppose, but too often he sees only grain, and of that only the mere bread-bushel-and-price of it.” – John Muir

*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

Big Water

June 26, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Get or Give Permits <HERE>
     The winter snow is now rapidly melting and gorging the Valley’s rivers and streams. When you arrive at Yosemite, you will be floored by the amount of H2O coming down from the higher elevations. On the Half Dome hike, we almost got blown off the Mist Trail by the strong winds generated by the 300 foot drop of mega-gallons of water. It felt like a firehose blast. Really. It’s the biggest I’ve seen.

Rain protection is a must unless you want to be soaked to your Fruit of the Looms. I use a .97 cent army surplus poncho made from the cheapest vinyl in Taiwan. But it works fine. They are small to pack and I only plan to use it for one hike. They are impossible to fold up so I just drape it over my back and let it air dry. Here’s another tip I invented: In a deluge like this, the hood will blow off your head and the poncho will rise up your torso. So bring 3 “binder clips.” Those are the kind you get at a stationery store. Clip the front of the hood to your cap and use the other two to clip hold the  poncho to your shorts/pants.


I was glad I had it on the return asI decided to come back via the Mist Trail and not the John Muir Trail because I was seeking the site of the hotel called “La Casa Nevada” that was located just after the Silver Apron Bridge. It prospered from 1870 – 1890 and was destroyed by a fire. More on that in a future blog. Going down the lower Mist Trail is pretty hard with blowing spray, wet steps and the steep downhill.  It’s advised to go the long way to avoid  this hassle. The entire run othe Merced from the fall through and under the footbridge was whitewater. Heavy class V froth. Very deadly.

This area is not in the designated wilderness and it is frequented by folks of all sizes and shapes. Be careful
     From Kathy of our Sonora Bureau, the park will be starting a prescribed fire in the western portion of the park near Crane Flat early next week. Hope they can put it out.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end. I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend but I always thought that I’d see you again.” – James Taylor
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

Dispatch from Curry

June 25, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Get or Give Permits <HERE>

June 24, 2010 – Yosemite National Park, CA. This correspondence is being transmitted via wireless connection from zip code 95389 to the Western World and ships at sea. The author’s twenty-sixth summit of the signature landmark of Yosemite was accomplished at 10:47 am Pacific Daylight Time yesterday. Cries of “Mr. Half Dome” rang out from the throng gathered as witnesses. It was truly a spectacle to behold. And now the news:

Wednesday was a “non-permit” day for hiking Half Dome. The crowds were acceptable and my group stayed up until about noon. By 1 pm there was a solid mass on the cables, but no line formed at the base. The caterpillar up the cables was bottled-necked by a notable number of people going up the cables using harnesses (most home-made) and straps/caribeeners. The weather was spectacular – only about 80 degrees up top. A large snow field covered the north portion of the dome.

Cables at noon

For users of the internet, the Curry Village Lounge connection is bandwidth limited and you will sit a long time trying to connect to “dlink” People who use skype clog the system. At the Ahwahnee, they have transitioned to a service provided by SolutionIP. In the past, you could just sit down and connect. They have tightened up the ship. Now you have to get a password when you check in. So if you have $439 to stay there, you will be blessed with free access. If not, you’ll have to pay at the Yosemite Lodge or keep trying at Curry.

The scoping periled for the Half Dome Stewardship Plan ends June 25. Get your comments in chop-chop. Here is the link to comment. <HERE> Only YOU can prevent forest fires.

I have a lot of info to share so keep the dial tuned here.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Yosemite was all one glorious flower garden before plows and scythes and trampling, biting horses came to make its wide open spaces look like farmer’s pastures fields.” – John Muir 1912
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

Posts on vacation

June 22, 2010

I am hiking Half Dome Wed…at Curry now….we are leaving at 4:30 am….so I may be lax in uploading posts for a couple days.  A full report when I return. It’s #26.

                                Duck !!!!

My Staff  is ready to process your T-Shirt orders….

In the meantime, check out this YouTube of Alex Honnold’s FREE SOLO up Half Dome. We’ve talked about it before but I’ve only seen clips …. Our Hamburg office found this and the narration is in German.

Keep hiking!!


New T-Shirts Now Available

June 22, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

Get or Give Permits <HERE>
I’ll be running this header on the blog. If you have any extra permits -or- if you are in need of permits, please go to this thread to find/give permits to fellow hikers who are in need.

Announcing the 2010 Half Dome  T-Shirt (click to enlarge).

Way cooler than the ones sold in the park.  I am now featuring Laffing Mr. Bones.


That’s how you will feel when you get to the cables!!  See <Ordering>. Operators are standing by.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Just like Pagliacci did I try to keep my surface hid. Smiling in the crowd I try – but in a lonely room I cry, the tears of a clown.” – Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

First Ascent

June 21, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
     The very first weekend of hiking to Half Dome when permits are required was this weekend.  Seems all went smoothly. I got a great report from Scott P. who went up Friday and have it below. It speaks for itself.  This is the kind of “community” we need – sharing.  A tip of the cap to Scott for this fine field reporting.
     At Happy Isles, PSAR had an information booth out by 6am (and probably earlier), making sure hikers were prepared and knew about the permit requirement. The Mist Trail was about the same as a week earlier.  A poncho or other rain jacket is a good idea, mostly because the cool breeze is otherwise a little too cool between the two falls. You may want it again for the section of John Muir Trail headed down from Nevada Fall; it has its own car wash flowing in a 200′ section. Booties, gaiters, etc. are overkill IMHO.
     A team of three, including Mark Marschall, I think, was waiting to collect permits/tickets at the base of the subdome.  (I think this was actually a wilderness ranger, Mark the wilderness manager overseeing this whole process, and a YOSAR tech.)  They were also collecting excess permits to give to people who made it that far without them, although I wouldn’t want to hike all the way to the subdome hoping that some excess permit would be waiting for me.

Checkpoint Charlie

We were pretty late in the day, starting the cables around 2:20pm.  There were still folks coming down and the normal coordination confusion passing, although it probably didn’t add more than ten minutes to the hike.  It was pretty empty by Half Dome standards.


Thin at 2 pm

The rangers hadn’t yet tallied their counts, but thought about 300 people had passed by 2pm.  Quite a few folks made it to the subdome with no permits nor supposedly having heard of the requirement.  It sounded like many of them were allowed to complete the hike using excess permits from other groups. There was at least one rescue, although thankfully at the more mundane end of the scale: a hiker injured her ankle on the way down the trail below the subdome.  When we passed, the subdome crew had helped her out and splinted her ankle.  Shortly thereafter, we saw a YOSAR tech headed up with crutches and a full-size split.  Then just below Nevada Fall, we saw a horse team headed up to help her get back down to the Valley.  No idea when she finally made it home.

Later, Scott told me that the process is for the rangersto  punch a hole in the permits and hand them back. They were not there when his party returned, so they are focused on the key times of 10 am to 3 pm.  He said on the downward trek, he saw many ill-prepared going up – no rangers by then. He also said there was no back up at Checkpoint Charlie to continue up sub dome.

Unrelated thought worth quoting for the ladies: “Gonna walk right up to him. Give him a great big kiss. Tell him that I love him, tell him that I care, tell him that I’ll always be there. –  Well what color are his eyes? I don’t know he’s always wearing shades. Is he tall? Well, I’ve got to look up.  Well I hear he’s bad. Hmm, he’s good, bad, but he’s not evil” – The Shangri La’s

*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –


June 20, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
    With the arrival better weather and the Half Dome hiking season underway, we are getting a lot more Blog readers who are seeking the light.  Welcome to the newbies!  Here’s how we do it. This blog is a production of Carpe Diem Experience, the dba (“doing business as”) of my enterprise. Notice – NO Google ads or other solicitations. Just wisdom from my cranium to your medulla oblongata. Feel free to post blogs, but keep them relevant to the topic. This is not SF GATE where people rant and rage. I am just a guy who is passionate about Half Dome and trying to share my years of experience with youse guyz. If you have  concern, don’t just comment here with it…write the park – the Superintendent is the head cheese (Don Neubacher) – tell him, not me.  I’ve done the hike 25 times – not a record, but not too shabby. So I have bottomed out on the optimum ways to do things. You are free to use my suggestions or not. I do the hike with a fanny pack – most of you like backpacks. OK by me. In fact I just got a nice small, lightweight pack that has a suspension system to keep my sweating back cool. I will try it on my June 23 hike. If it works, I will blog about it.
     We are now in “permits required” land. If anyone has done the hike this weekend under the permit umbrella please let us know how it went.
     For you others, I am very curious just where you do your training hikes. I live in San-Jose-by-the-sea and I love Mission Peak in Fremont, Henry Coe in Morgan Hill, Rancho San Antonio in Los Altos Hills and St. Joseph’s Hill in Los Gatos. Please reply with your favs. No matter where you live in Calif – SoCal included.
     Today I gave a talk at Willow Bridge Books in Oakhurst and also stopped by the Wawona  Hotel for dinner. I got a lot more fodder for future blogs. Carpe Diem.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “E=mc2 . . . Energy equals mass times the velocity it is traveling at squared.” – Albert Einstein.
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –