The Diving Board – Nyet

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

Thursday was “no excuses day”.  As much as I wanted to curl up in my 700-fill down sleeping bag and wait until daylight, I got my tired bones up and out of my tent cabin and hit the trail at 6 am – on schedule. Although we are having a minor warm trend, it was nippy when I headed up the John Muir trail with my headlamp on. I wore my zip-off leg pants and a Northface APEX windblocker jacket. For this hike I used my suspension backpack with a 2 quart bladder and one 1-quart Nalgene inside. I was the only one on the trail. I didn’t see anyone until I was on the upper Mist Trail!  The rain last week filled the falls.
As usual I started to sweat under the jacket which made things uncomfortable, but I didn’t want to get caught under-dressed on this big hike. Dark hits about 6:30 pm and I had no idea what time I’d be back. I carried internet summaries of the route. The beginnnig was pretty easy – taking a spur off to the left in Little Yosemite Valley. Then through thin woods and to Lost Lake. That was pretty cool. It’s a large area – maybe 3 football fields – and was about 20% full. It’s very marshy at the banks, but it could be used for pumping water. A nice worn trail runs to the south of Lost Lake for about a mile. Then things peter out. Rock cairns help point the way. I had tried to follow the text of my aids but ended up going down a large gully between Mt. Broderick and the Cap of Liberty. Backtrack for a half hour. I stumbled upon another series of trail ducks and an apparent route up to the Diving Board. The approach to Snake Dike is coincident for a while.
My quest degenerated to some hard core scrambling and old fashion bushwacking. Then a complete absence of cairns. I could have used a machete! Where to next? When I decided to backtrack to the cairns I could not find the route I came up on. It all looks alike. I heard voices and caught a fleeting glimpse of 2 climbers off aways. But I had a forest and boulders between us. There are a ton of Manzanita bushes to impede any forward movement. The base of Half Dome is vertical but the slabs at the base are very steep. I was maybe 100 yards from the wall. At noon I decided 6 hours was enough and I didn’t want to get caught lost and become a statistic. I found a nice shaded boulder and kicked back for an hour. It was totally silent. No noise at all. I could hear my pulse in my ears.  I sat at about 6600 feet and gazed over at Mt. Starr King, Mt. Broderick, the Cap of Liberty and Merced Canyon. There are 2 huge formations there. I was pretty close to Half Dome but nowhere near the Diving Board. Enough. I hiked back and played a bit at Mt Broderick. Tried to scramble up the steep backside but the lichens made it real slippery. I had one nice slide down the slope on my butt, and decided to bring it home before I bonked on a hard granite block.
I’ll save it for another day. Adding to the fun was my use of a crappy Magellan Triton 2000 GPS. This was an eval unit I got last year and was subsequently pulled from the market. Firmware issues and the batteries were going dead in 2  hours. I brought it since I could not locate my Garmin 60CSx. The key would be to create a route using the long/lat from the internet summaries. Then my friggin’ bladder sprung a leak inside my pack down by the valve, soaking everything and wasting precious water.
Despite all this I had a blast. All alone exploring like John Muir. This is a great hike to just get away and see someplace new. It would be a fun overnight if allowed.  No photos today. The Curry internet is having router problems and connection is a long wait. Pix clog the bandwidth. People doing Skype and downloading photos really put the kibosh on things.

I am off Sat to Groveland to give a talk to the Southern Tuolumne County Historical Society. Staying at Hotel Charlotte. Dunno if they have wifi so the blog might be late.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “You need special shoes for hiking – and a bit of a special soul as well.” – Terri Guillemets
*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch –


2 Responses to “The Diving Board – Nyet”

  1. Dean Says:

    Shame you didn’t make it…maybe it’s one for a small group to try, several heads are better than one kind of thing?

    Interesting you meandered in between Mt Broderick and Liberty Cap…I read a trial description a while back and they hiked up that way from Vernal. I tried to see a route last year but it looks horrendous.

    Thinking about next years holiday now…I’d love to head back to Yosemite but Mrs Dean is pushing for Yellowstone, then drive down to Zion.

  2. mrhalfdome Says:

    Good observations.The gully between Liberty and Broderick has got to be a major effort. No way, Jose. A small gaggle of folks on the quest to get to the Diving Board is a good idea. But Ansel Adams did it – probably alone with no GPS! Oh, this is all prime rattlesnake turf.

    I’m motorcycling to Yellowstone and Glacier Parks in June – with 4 other Wild Hogs.

    I really liked Zion – plan to do Angels Landing – I had not time last June – plan on 5 hours RT.

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