Climbing Half Dome

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

Get or Give Half Dome permits<HERE>

    In our enthusiasm it’s easy for us to tell our friends that we are going to “climb Half Dome.” Not really. We do the 16 miles hike. I am careful to make it clear that I HIKE Half Dome. (OK, going up the cables is climbing, but 98% of the trip is a hike. )  Climbing is well over my ability level. True climbing of Half Dome was opened up by Royal Robbins. Royal did it in 1957.

A tired Robbins circa 1969

    His wife, Liz, was the first woman to climb it in 1967. They live Modesto and he just wrote part one of his autobiography. He plans to release 6 volumes. The first volume is called “To be brave.”

     He talks about his youth and the things that influenced him. You might be familiar with a line of outdoor clothing that bears his name. He started the company in ’68 but is no longer part of it, having sold it a few years ago. (I got a pair of Royal Robbins pants at their Berkeley outlet store.) I met Royal at a book signing at the University of the Pacific last spring and he graciously agreed to be interviewed for my forthcoming iPhone app on hiking Half Dome.

Royal R. & Ricky D.

    We’ll have vignettes, videos, narratives, olde tyme photos and will help interpret the hike for you. Think depth not fluff. I’ll keep readers posted when we are nearing release. Did you know that Royal developed arthritis that eventually slowed down his climbing and he focused on white water kayaking? Yes, he excelled at that also. You can get his book <HERE> or though Amazon. You can even get a signed copy – this is like getting Babe Ruth’s autograph!  I’m waiting for Volume 2 due this fall– in it he describes the first Half Dome climbing ascent with buddies Jerry Gallwas and Mike Sherrick .
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.” – Henry David Thoreau

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch –


6 Responses to “Climbing Half Dome”

  1. kathy Says:

    Hey, Rick. I can’t get the link for the autographed Royal Robbins book to work. Am I missing something?

  2. JoAnn Egan Neil Says:

    Hi Rick. Thanks for visiting my site. After this past visit to Yosemite, I’ve added “climb Half Dome” to my Mighty Life List – which is like a Bucket List but doesn’t make it sound like someone’s dying.

    I’ll be sure to keep you in mind when I get it together and get back up there. What a place.

    • mrhalfdome Says:


      I really wrote up a List and carried it for 20 years whenI worked “for the man.” I also called it a LIFE LIST until the movie came out. More people relate to “Bucket list,” thanks to Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. And remember it’s “HIKE Half Dome.”

  3. Dean Says:

    Yup my company magazine did a bit on me after my first hike in 07…they asked for a photo with me in all my climbing gear…felt a bit sheepish when I told them I only walked up.

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