Half Dome permit Q & A

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request or give permits, Click HERE.

** Put your contact info on the request. **

     To help yall out I’d like to address a few questions that are appearing in the comments section.  I know you guys have more to do than read through all the comments on this blog, so I will shorten your stay here. You may have missed my coverage in previous blogs or other reader’s comments to previous topics. Plus I get emails asking stuff.  I don’t make the rules – I am just trying to interpret them for you.

     Yes, you need a permit anytime you are walking up Sub Dome and on to the cables. 24/7 now.  A great hike is the moonlight hike up to see the sunrise on the top. YES, you have to have permit in your pocket for the date you are going up. Even  if it’s midnight. If you break this rule, you will be disobeying a lawful order of a Federal Law Enforcement officer, subject to maximum $5,000 fine. A true story – a hiker was found coming down in the morning and asked for his permit – he had none and said “Why? I went up at 7 am?” The ranger at Checkpoint Charlie (Sub Dome) radioed in the renegade’s license info and was told that if he ever got in trouble in the park, the HD permit violation would be on his record. Really.  Why this tight control????  

     1. Well, the park has a hairball on their hands with the permit system.  For one reason they need to have rules that apply to everyone.  While they are mostly concerned  with the  jam-ups between 11 am and 2 pm on the cables, where would they draw the line to allow “non-permit” hikers access?

     2. If they allowed easy access to “off-prime” hikers then many novices and unprepared people would go up in the dark as a way to avoid the permit hassle. As you noticed, when you applied for or got your permit, you were exposed to a lot of information about the hike to read. This is good. Uncontrolled hikers are usually the ones with little water, poor shoes and in bad shape.  I’ve done the night hike twice. I find it a way harder experience. On a full moon night, you still need a headlamp.  On a moonless night, you only can see a where your circle of light shines.  I tripped once and got lost once. The switchbacks going up after Little Yosemite Valley are not clear and I hit a few dead ends. You do not have a visible beacon of other hikers to follow. You might see some way in front of you by their lights, but will have no direct way to follow them Going up the cables in the dark is real scary.

     And it gets pretty cold at 3 am even in July.  I would never recommend a novice to go up at night. Don’t be a statistic!

Unrelated thought worth quoting: I have been one acquainted with the night. I have walked out in the rain. I have outwalked the furthest city light.”  Robert Frost

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com


One Response to “Half Dome permit Q & A”

  1. David S Says:

    i have done Half Dome at night, early September. Estimated temp by 5 am was probably high 30’s. It was cold, and you sweat just as much, so a wet shirt plus wind makes for very uncomfortable experience. It was a moonless night, but the headlamps of our group of nine were enough. The sunrise was spectacular, however, and worth the chill. The very instant that the sun peeked over the horizon I could feel its warmth. I do agree with Rick, NO NOVICES AT NIGHT. Just a bad idea for so many reasons, but the biggest one is selfishness. If a novice decides he/she can’t make it, i would be obligated to take them back down the trail. As bad a time as they might have had going up, it would be ten times worse if they got lost on the way down.

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