How to come down Sub Dome

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

Sub Dome is that often overlooked hunk of granite right before the Half Dome cables. I’m one of the few professors who even talk about it. MANY hikers feel it is harder than the cables. Devil’s Staircase or the Knee Grinder are common slang names for it – with good reason. Going down is pretty scary. Nothing to hang on to, no railing and a 2-way route down narrow man-carved steps for 400 vertical feet. Me thinks if a person were going to fall, there would be a high probability of it on the descent down Sub Dome.  As you can see in this photo,  these women are using hiking poles to assist.  CLICK TO ENLARGE

You become a 4-legged mountain goat and are able to keep your knees from exploding and your ligaments inside your skin. Get a pair for Christmas!!

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” – Dale Carnegie

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch –

2 Responses to “How to come down Sub Dome”

  1. Dean Says:

    I think that part of the “fun” factor of the sub dome staircase is that sudden switch from forest trail to virtually total exposure. It’s quite a sudden change that jangles the senses a bit and certainly took me by surprise my first hike.

    BTW I’m in the “the cables are harder” camp…much harder.

  2. Mr. Diving Board Says:

    Yah know, at first I was really resistant to the treking poles. Perhaps is the people I see just walking around town with them being retarded as well as my allegiance to the old Boy Scout hiking staff that has accompanied me year over year to the 8842 foot vista and has peaked Cloud’s Rest with me, however, you’re spot-on Mr. Half Dome… the poles make a real difference. From hiking with you last February on the John Muir trail in the snows of February above Nevada Fall…those things were very helpful. In the snow they were clutch to find good foothold, sink holes and assistance both up and down the icy unseeable paths. In summer, they certainly take a lot of pressure off the knees. That subdome is a knee-buster; truly the most challenging part of the Half Dome hike. The poles are also a life saver for the final part of the trip: the Vernal Fall stairs (unless you take John Muir). Just that little extra support is great. BTW: Horsetail Fall trip late Feb?

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