The Half Dome arch

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

    Today’s lesson in your Half Dome 101 class will focus on the early days of the cable system.  As you all know from your studies, George Anderson put up a rope system to get to the summit in 1875.  The rope came and went with the snows until Hall McAlister ponied up the dough to have the Sierra Club build the cable system in 1919. In honor of the accomplishment, a small wooden arch was erected at the base of Sub Dome.

    You can still see the remnants of the base of the arch. It is right where the rangers check for permits. A few blocks stacked up is all that remains. Being made of wood it didn’t last long in the harsh winters of the Sierra.  To remember Anderson, the following plaque was erected at the arch. It’s gone also.


    There was a 2003 project by the NPS to consider building an interpretive piece to hark back to those days. Nothing has been done. Next time up there, imagine what it must have looked like in person. It may be time to honor George Anderson.  Class dismissed. Don’t forget your papers are due Friday.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “I hate to wake you up to say goodbye. But the dawn is breaking, it’s early morn. The taxi’s waiting, he’s blowing his horn, Already I’m so lonesome I could cry.” – “Leaving On A Jet Plane”, Peter, Paul and Mary
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –


4 Responses to “The Half Dome arch”

  1. andy Says:

    It’s ironic that the Sierra Club built the first cables. Somehow I just don’t see them doing something like that today. It’s seems their mission these days is to put up barriers not cables…

  2. mrhalfdome Says:

    The rope system went thru several incantations….got pretty dangerous. It came and went withthe snows and a single cable was even put up…see my book pg 10.

    In the interest of safety and to allow more people a chance. the dual cables were put up. The Sierra Club was VERY young then.

  3. Dean Says:

    I did try to find out more about George Anderson’s roots, but a basic search in Montrose archives couldn’t find him…maybe time to dig a bit deeper as he is virtually unknown in his country of birth which is a shame.

    I wonder…is there anything that might indicate that Half Dome was ascended by native Americans before George?

  4. mrhalfdome Says:

    No evidence whatsoever that Indians got to the top. Nothing mentioned by Chief Tenaiya or others. It was a revered place. Even 19th Century climbers could not do it. Josiah Whitney agreed.

    Many tried before Anderson made it with his drilled-in spikes. John Conway’s son’s scampered up about 200 ft but gave up. No, Big George gets FULL credit.


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