Archive for June, 2011

What’s it like now at Half Dome?

June 30, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

 

    NEWS:  Two hikers died after falling into the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir on Wednesday morning. They were in a group of 5 at the end of their multi-day trip. They were crossing a bridge that was filled with water from rain and snow runoff.

     Blog reader and Domer Andy P. sent in this report about his Half Dome hike 2 days ago. It’s fun to read about what it’s actually like. The Mist Trail is a hurricane of wind and spray. Even with ponchos, people are getting doused. Part of the fun. Don’t be a wimp by going up the dry JMT instead. 

Threatening clouds looked like they were going to roll in all day but they never did. You could see the rain far off in the distance. It was pretty windy on top and a little cool. We arrived on top about 1:30.  The wind was howling over the saddle, it felt like a wind tunnel.

When we past the checkpoint the Ranger said only about 130 people had checked in. As expected the water flows were huge. I was most impressed with the flow over Nevada Fall. It was truly awesome.

 

Ron & Andy on the Visor

 

 

Unrelated thought worth quoting: Oh yes, I’m the great pretender. Pretending I’m doing well. My need is such, I pretend too much. I’m lonely but no one can tell.” – The Platters 

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

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Permit Cancellation Blues

June 29, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

 

     In follow up to some frustration expressed by blog readers who experienced trouble trying to cancel their permits via recreation.gov, I contacted the YNP Project Office and I’d like to relay what they said. It is easy to cancel your permit online, provided you have not printed it or tried to print it. For obvious anti-counterfeit reasons, once the system thinks you have printed it, it won’t allow you to cancel it.

1) Don’t print your permit until you know you will use it. If you have trouble printing your permit you can just bring the first page of your confirmation email to show the Ranger at Sub Dome.

2) Cancelling is easy on line. Many people are doing it and their permits are being resold and used. An average of 25 permits per day on weekdays and 13 on weekends are recycled.

3) If you have printed your permit, or tried to print the permit, then you can use this blog or even Craig’s List (DO NOT SELL) to give your permit away.

4) If you are coming to the park, with extra printed permits and will be here at least the day before the date on the permit, you can turn them in to the Valley Wilderness Center (In the main valley) or to the rangers at the Happy Isles trailhead (near the Merced)  and they will go into the system and add those unused permits back into the inventory for the day.

Today’s webinar at 3 pm was a bomb.  The park announced yesterday that:

A short presentation on current plans and ongoing projects will be presented at 3:00 pm and will be broadcast via webinar at yose.webex.com.

I humped to get to a Panera Bread so I could be on-line at 3 pm. I’m speaking at REI Concord tonight.  I hoped to hear an update on the projects…at 3 all I got was the tail end of the Open House.  All I that was presented were the titles of the projects.  AARRGGHH 

To see a neat high speed video of a drive up the tioga road a few days ago – go <here

 

Unrelated thought worth quoting: I woke up in a Soho doorway, a policeman knew my name. He said ‘You can go sleep at home tonight iI you can get up and walk away.’ Who are you? Who, who, who, who?” – The Who

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Bulletin: Yosemite Open House TODAY

June 29, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing 

Bulletin  Bulletin  Bulletin  Bulletin  Bulletin  Bulletin 

 

Today, June 29, at 3 pm Yosemite is having a webinar with an update on many plans including the Half Dome Trail Stewardship Plan. A short presentation on current plans and ongoing projects will be presented at 3:00 pm PDT and will be broadcast via webinar at yose.webex.com.

If you are at the park now go to the Auditorium behind the Valley Visitor Center from 1 to 4 pm for the OPEN HOUSE to hear expanded presentations.

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

The Mist Trail

June 27, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

 

    Feedback from early hikers up the Half Dome cables is that the Mist Trail is a raining deluge. The snowpack is now melting and all that water is coming down. Vernal Fall faces a narrow canyon and winds blow the spray onto the trail as a you hike the 700 steps up. About halfway you will need to put some protection on or get drenched. I have worn a water resistant jacket and got soaked.    I recommend putting on a cheap vinyl poncho. The kind you get them for a buck at a surplus store. Bring 3 binder clips to hold the hood to your cap bill and the sides of your pants – otherwise the wind will blow it al lover the place.

   

     Next you need gaiters to stop water from getting into your boots. GORTEX boots are recommended. The easiest thing is to get free produce bags from your market and wrap them around the tops of your boots and secure with a rubber band.

      You can also wear real gaiters for the duration of the hike. Use hiking poles to help you navigate the mess. There will be water running down the steps with some deep holes that you need to avoid. Bring dry socks to put on once your boots dry out. Have fun!

 

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Let’s go surfing now, everybody’s learning how –  Come on a safari with me.” –  Surfin Safari”, The Beach Boys 

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Meet Curry Village management

June 26, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

 

    The past manager of Curry Village, Brett Archer, has been named the GM for the Ahwahnee Hotel. Nice work. His replacement is Lance Wellwood. Lance is an old time Yosemite man and has stepped into the role nicely. (Hey what’s that book he’s reading?)

     Every time I check into Curry‘s Tent Cabins, the front staff is very courteous and helpful. I love watching the bear info video. Lotsa dumb people leave food and scented items in their cars. Bears can rip open car doors like tuna cans.  Besides getting you your tent cabin, the staff needs to know a lot about the park and conditions. Lance revealed some ambitious plans forthcoming. One is that the park would like to put wifi connections throughout the Valley. Neat. Currently free wifi is available in the Curry Lounge and the bandwidth can get busy. Please don’t use SKYPE or download photos…this clogs the system. Another issue is what to do with all the “red taqged”  wood cabins behind the fence that were damaged in the rockslide off Glacier point 2 years ago. I think hard hat crews will scoot in and bulldoze them. It was sad to see this loss of over 200 units – especially the closure of the very nice shower complex there. Using the Boystown tent cabins and some employee housing, the park didn’t inconvenience too many visitors. A tip is to request a signature tent cabin. They have insulated walls, a real gas heater and a rare item in the tent cabins: a 110v outlet!

 Working with Lance is his office manager, Cheryl Cole.

    They handle all the back room operations for the Village. You can imagine the stress as about 400 rooms get filled nightly. 

     Next I offer a trip report sent in by John T. about his ascent on June 22, Opening Day. He posted it as a comment, but I wanted to give it better visibility. Thanks John. 

My wife and 20-year old son went up on 6/22, the day the poles and boards were installed. They got up to the sub dome around 11:45, sat around till 4pm when they were allowed to go up. I stayed at Upper Pines campground with my 7 and 10 year old kids. We went up the Mist Trail around 11 am and proceeded to the subdome arriving about 4:30. There was a ranger there asking for permits, I had two that went unused and would have gladly handed them off to anyone asking for them. I asked a group of guys on the left side of the trail, the ranger was on the right, and a couple of them jumped up and said “I want one”. Turns out they were the team that installed the cables. They had just made it down. My wife and son were on the 3rd board when I got in touch with them via walkie talkie from the top of sub dome. It took them a while to get to the top; many people using clip for safety??? What would happen if you really slipped while hooked in? The clips really slowed them down. Ranger told me that 180 people checked in before I got there. By the way… If you get to the bottom of the sub dome by say 4:30, the ranger leaves and you can scramble right to the top. I left the sub ome with my 7 yr old boy and 10 yr old girl after 5 pm and was back to Upper Pines (no shuttle for us) well before dark!!! (8pm ish?) Permit is good but not necessary if you really want it! (Editor: Permits are required 24/7)

Unrelated thought worth quoting: Sunshine came softly through my window today I could have tripped out easy but I’ve changed my ways.” – Sunshine Superman, Donovan 

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

More sad stories

June 25, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE> 

     Last week a Japanese big wall climber fell while ascending El Capitan. Yasunovu Nakanishi, 31, fell 60 feet off El Cap to the ground below.  He was the lead climber on an ascent of the Zodiac route. He sustained injuries to his back and pelvis and was short-hauled via the park’s helicopter to El Capitan Meadow. Boy, good thing he was not higher. 

     But here’s s real weird story. It happened south of Yosemite at Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks. Seems a a 52-year-old woman headed out on a solo day hike as part of her training for an ultra-marathon. She was crossing a snow bridge when it collapsed underneath her and she fell into a creek. She was swept downstream under the snow for 30 to 40 feet before being able to stop herself. She stood up in the creek under the snow, but had no access to the surface. Using her hands, she dug through about five feet of snow and created a small hole, then threw her backpack out of the hole. It was seen there by other visitors, who went to examine the pack and found the woman under the snow nearby. By that time, she’d been trapped in the creek under snow for over three hours and was hypothermic and incoherent. One person pulled her out while another went back to the trailhead to summon help; the other members of the group helped warm her. Rangers and a park helicopter with a medic on board were dispatched to the scene. When the rangers arrived, the woman declined either evacuation or medical assistance. The rangers helped her return to the trailhead. Wow, that’s either one tough woman or a mental case.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it’s all dark.” – Pink Floyd

 

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Tour bus inspection

June 24, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

 

     How about those giant tour busses that clog the Bridalveil Fall parking lot? Are they safe? Well earlier this month the park enlisted the CHP, the San Francisco Police Department, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the California Public Utility Commission to inspect 56 buses in the park. Of the 56 vehicles inspected, 23 vehicles were released with no violations. Another 28 vehicles were issued minor violation notices for repairs. In addition, a total of 24 violation notices were issued to companies and bus-drivers. A total of 5 buses were placed out of service for mechanical deficiencies; 5 drivers were ordered out of service for driver’s logbook violations and driving without the proper classification, and 2 buses ordered out of service for not having California authority to transport passengers.   “Operation Road Check” is a national program that is considered to be the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial vehicles in the world.

     In park news, Tuolumne Meadows is pretty clear of snow and the standing water is hatching a bumper crop of mosquitoes. Also, the gas station is now open. PC’s up there are not operational so the backcountry office is issuing handwritten permits.

 

Unrelated thought worth quoting: Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz. My friends all drive Porsches I must make amends. Worked hard all my lifetime no help from my friends. So Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz.” – Janis Joplin 

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

50 years of Half Dome climbing

June 23, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

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

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

     2011 is the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of the vertical wall of Half  Dome. It was 1957 when Royal Robbins and his team climbed all the way up. I’ve gotten to know Royal and interviewed him as part of my Half dome app. (See link above) I edited it down to the 15 minute max allowable by YouTube. If you’d like to meet a living legend, head over to Modesto this Friday at 8 pm at the Gallo Center for the Arts, 1000 I St., Modesto. Royal will be giving a talk. He’s the Babe Ruth of Big Wall climbing. Tickets are $12-$50. Royal just released the 2nd book in his autobiography series. For more information: www.galloarts.org.

 

Royal and Mr Half Dome

 

Unrelated thought worth quoting: Runnin’ down a dream. That never would come to me;
workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads. Runnin’ down a dram.” – Tom Petty 

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Cables are up

June 22, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

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

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

 

The Half Dome cables are up and ready for you.

 

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Just do it” – Nike ad tagline 

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Cables up Wednesday!!!!!!

June 21, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

 
To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.
** Put your contact info on the request. **
FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

 

     Oh my!  The cables are supposed to go up on Wednesday…. that’s tomorrow for some of you…and today for others!!   I sit in Weed, CA heading to Mendocino on my Carpe Diem trip – so I need anyone to send in a report to confirm things.

     Word is that the Mist Trail is a DELUGE. You must have rain gear – a poncho with binder clips attached to your hat and sides to keep it from blowing. Also, real gaiters might be a good idea to keep water out of your boots.

     Since Friday, June 17 hiker George Penca has been missing – he was last seen at the top of Yosemite Falls. He was with a big group. YOSAR and other search teams have been combing every square inch of the area. The teams consist of  approximately 105 Search and Rescue personnel, two helicopters, dog teams and 14 California County Search and Rescue personnel. The search area so far has included 70 square miles of rugged terrain ranging in elevation from 4,000 to 8,000 ft. If you are up near there and see him, call the Yosemite Emergency Communication Center at 209-379-1992. Penca is 5′ 10″ tall, weighs 240 pounds, and has dark brown hair, blue eyes, a stocky build. He was last seen wearing gray sweatpants with white stripes, a black T-shirt that says “D&B” across the chest, or a black tank top, and gray/blue running shoes.

 
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “I went to a garden party, to reminisce with my old friends. A chance to share old memories and play our songs again. When I got to the garden party they all knew my name. No one recognized me – I didn’t look the same.” – Ricky Nelson
*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com