Archive for July, 2011

Half Dome’s inner meaning

July 31, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

 

     This reporter is coming to you from the land of Mickey where twilight admission to the park is $70 per person. Wow – so instead I sit here in my booth at McDonald’s and blog instead. The Southwest salad is actually pretty good and seems to be the only menu item under 1,000 calories. And I love the synthetic plastic white ice cream cones.

Let me talk a minute about passion. What is yours? What would you do if you did not get paid to do it? All else being equal, if you could pick one thing that you loved and focused on that – you would never have to “work” a day again. Mine is Half Dome. Sound funny? Well, when I first made it to the top in 1990, I was hooked. Not for the view but for what that extremely strenuous hike represented. A goal and a journey. I decided I would do it annually. I memorialize those hikes with little Half Dome pins that I put on a hat. Each pin represents a lot of sweat and pain. I can no long wear that hat. It weighs too much with 30 pins on it. It may sound corny, but I realized that challenges like HD could be met and that I needed a plan to see and do all the things I wanted to do. Ahhh, a life list – aka “Bucket List.” That summer I wrote a list – MY list. Yeah, it has the obvious, like the Pyramids Taj Mahal and Stonehenge – but also the Indy 500, Oshkosh Air show and a NASCAR race. Dumb you say? It’s my list. Maybe your experience with Half Dome will spur you on to doing more with your life. We only go around once – there is a limit to the number of days we have to enjoy the gifts of the world. Discover your passion, Recognize what you will face obstacles and work to fix them. Be motivated in you pursuits and enthusiastic. Re-read that and see that it spells D.O.M.E. – pretty cute theme for my speaking biz. (See MrHalfDome.com) Try this –think about what your passion is. WRITE down YOUR life list and carry it with you – I carried mine for 20 years. And start to book your trips NOW because “someday never comes.”

 

 

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “How lavish is Nature: building, pulling down, creating destroying chasing every material particle from form to form, ever changing ever beautiful.” – John Muir, 1869

 

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Save the date – Aug 6 – John Muir Exhibition

July 29, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

 

     On August 6, the Oakland Museum will begin a five month exhibition on the life of John Muir. The great conservationist and “father” of Yosemite will be remembered in this first class display. Explore the legacy of John Muir’s life and how he continues to influence our relationship with the natural world in this special exhibition presenting both a historical and a contemporary lens on the natural environment of California. A Walk in the Wild: Continuing John Muir’s Journey” highlights Californians currently involved in environmental research and activism. 

    Although it runs until January 22, it’s easy to get involved in life’s other things and you may not attend if you don’t do it early. I helped out with their Half Dome content and am proud to be one of the so-called “Modern Day Muirs.” We think Muir was the 9th person up top and he wrote about his climb and peaceful time he had on the summit. He also burned one of the 5 pine trees.  

     The July 27 Open House recording of the presentations are now posted at yose.webex.com.  

    I flew down to the land of Mickey today – Anaheim and will be at the National Speakers Association Convention. Internet rates at the  JW Marriott would blow my tin-cup budget, so I can only scoot down several blocks to the McDonald’s to get free internet. Sessions run all day until 10 pm, so I may not be able to post for a while. Likewise, I may not be able to moderate any permit requests….I’ll try, but bear with me. I’m here to learn more ways to deliver a shot of adrenaline in my talks.

 

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Patient observation and constant brooding above the rocks, laying upon them for years as the ice did, is the way to arrive at the truths which are graven so lavishly upon them.” – John Muir, 1870 

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Half Dome Stewardship Plan update

July 28, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

     The official Park website for the Half Dome Stewardship Plan says that the Environmental Assessment is scheduled for release to the public at end of July…which means the end of this week! Keep alert for the Press Release. We should all download the EA and dissect it. There will be a comment period. Whatever your feelings – let them know. Last year they only got 97 written comments during the scoping process. And yes, one of those said “take the cables down.”  If you are new to the “We love Half Dome” world, among the alternatives banged around were: 1. Do nothing – keep the cables and trail as they have been since 1919 (no permits). 2. Keep a permit process (improve it) and 3. Remove the cables.  There may be other alternatives. They have spend almost a year developing a plan. The final decision should be carved in tablets by November of this year.  I have no insight on what the alternatives will be, so I am anxious to read the EA.

       I’ve been humping on other projects so I did not have time to attend the Open House yesterday – and had a conflict during the webex webinar. The recording is not yet posted yose.webex.com. So if anyone did participate, please give us a summary. I understand they actually had some beef to share.

     In one of my other lives, I’m a certified Nordic Walking instructor. It’s an outgrowth of cross-country skiing. Basically walking with poles for fitness. 8 million do it in Europe.  If you live in the Reno area, I’m conducting an introductory class on August 12 at the Sparks Marina.  The event is sponsored by Healthy Beginnings lifestyle magazine. Call 775-828-1309 to book your spot now.  If you are in the San Jose area, consider giving a try in Campbell. The sponsor is lifeSport Fitness.  Click <here> to register for the Campbell session.

        Many folks are still asking for permits…but have you tried the recreation.gov site??? As folks cancel they put them into the system. So try there also. Check this comment from a blog reader:

Some posted they need permits for tomorrow. I was on Recreation.gov this AM and there were a number of permits.

 

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “On the first part of the journey I was looking at all the life. There were plants and birds and rocks and things. There was sand and hills and rain. The first thing I met was a fly with a buzz and the sky with no clouds. After three days in the desert fun I was looking at a river bed and the story it told of a river that flowed made me sad to think it was dead.  You see I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name.” – America R.I.P. Dan Peek

 *MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Yosemite Social Science Study

July 27, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

 

   The Park has a “Visitor Use and Social Science Branch” that leads a lot of the studies used in park planning. They are located off-site down at the huge Park Administrative area in El Portal. Bret Meldrum is the Branch Chief.  They are beginning studies in Wawona, Mariposa Grove, Tuolumne, and Yosemite Valley that utilize GPS units to collect visitor travel information. So if you come through the gates and are given a GPS unit, you will be told what they want you to do with it. This data will be analyzed and used for many purposes. Visitors who receive these units are asked to return them to research staff or a designated drop box in the park. As a fallback you can give them up at the visitor centers or the gates as you leave.

   Road work – through August 10 expect delays on North and Southside Drive as crews trim trees. Down on Hwy 140 at El Portal some major road sealing will be done so be careful of wet asphalt.

   Bear news: So far this year there have been 45 bear incidents resulting in $9,000 in human stuff being damaged or taken. 19 of those were in campgrounds and ZERO were in the Wilderness. Overall, incidents are down 77% compared to the same time last year, and down 88% since 1998.

 

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Eight miles high and when you touch down y7ou’ll find that it’s stranger than known.  Signs in the street that say where you’re going are somewhere just being their own.” – The Byrds 

*MrHalfDome(tm) – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Yosemite Multimedia Day

July 26, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

 

     Today I want to depart from my usual babbling and share some stuff for your eyes and ears. First is a superb panorama photo taken on Sentinel Dome.  Click to enlarge for full impact.

     The photographer is Half Dome veteran Sonke K. of Germany. This guy hauls about 30 pounds of cameras, lenses, tripods and associated paraphernalia over the pond to capture some great shots of the park.  (My credit card Casio is good enough for me.) He and his lovely wife, Esther, visited our little country earlier this month. I really am impressed with the view of Yosemite Falls. This photo was software stitched together in the dark temperature/humidity controlled basement of the Carpe Diem Experience lab in Hamburg.

     Next, I want to hype my FREE Half Dome Hike app. Many of you have downloaded it. We’ve had about 400 to date. It is totally free and I get nada from you. I can use any comments to improve it. It resides on my laptop and I update it regularly – and add NEWS inthe tips section as significant things happen. So RELOAD often.  I wnt to hear back form anyone who has used it on the trail. It’s in the cloud for iPhone and Android under the Everytrail brand. Everytrail.com has hundreds of guides and trips posted. They alo did most of the California State Parks. They are part of TripAdvisor, so you know they are good. If you don’t have a smart phone, you can see the whole app on your PC and/or download it at http://www.everytrail.com/guide/half-dome-hike

      And for those who don’t want to download the app, I just posted my video on YouTube of going up the cables with my head-mounted GoPro camera. Totally unbroken video non-stop so you can see what it’s like. Go Pro is sold at REI and many outlets. Go <HERE>.  Iused iMovie ona MacBook and LOVE the ease of Apple.The folks at the Apple store were great.

     Finally, thanks to all who are buying my custom Half Dome TShirts. The inventory is shrinking so get your orders in now. I am in LA Fri-Wed for the National Speakers Association annual convention, so I will not be able to ship. Here’s what is in inventory in the Bldg 4 warehouse: 9 Smalls with Laffing Mr Bones and 11 XL without. I haven’t decided if I will make another run. Depends on you. Go the STORE to order.

 

Unrelated thought worth quoting: One of these mornings proud and fair – Get on my wings, I’m gonna fly the air. I said it looks like everybody in this whole round world, Lord, they’re down on me.Janis Joplin, Big Brother & the Holding Company R.I.P. Amy Winehouse, also 27 (like Hendrix, Morrison, Janis). 

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

July 25, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

 

     Just when I thought we had moved on from the tragic death of 3 people off Vernal Fall, the ABC radio affiliate in San Francisco had it as their newstalk topic today on the Gil Gross show. KGO am 810 is one of the highest rated stations in the US of A. The theme of today’s discussion was an impression that many people are voicing  unsympathetic comments out in public – on blogs. You know – calling them “idiots, Darwin award candidates, morons,” etc without being sensitive to the families. OK, I know the site – SFGate.com. Take a look. People can comment on it anonymously and thus are free to hurl profanities and act like a 5th grade bully under the curtain of anonymity. But on this MrHalfDomeblog, we had close to 1800 visitors that day and I moderate them all. I did not have to censor anyone. Why? Well, you must be a better breed of person, plus I know who you are – at least your email address. I spend the time to read them before posting.

   I did get on the radio show after waiting almost an hour. My point was, yes, we need to be kind to the families and not get crude. But when 10 adults climg over a – foot high over a rail that has up to 6 horizontal bars and chicken wire to keep people out of Class V rapids just yards from a 300 foot waterfall – well, somebody is not thinking.

     And what about the Rescue teams? Over 20 people put their fannies at risk to poke around the base of the fall and downstream. It is still all white water.  If these people are adults – and I define that as old enough to be trusted to given given a rifle and sent to the Middle East, then they are old enough to know not to climb into harm’s way. Assess the risk then deal with it….but we we
can’t legislate stupidity.

 

Unrelated thought worth quoting: I love the colorful clothes she wears and the way the sunlight plays upon her hair. I hear the sound of a gentle word on the wind that lifts her perfume through the air. I’m pickin’ up good vibrations.” – The Beach Boys 

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Yosemite’s Sentinel Dome

July 24, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

 

     First, some good news for you folks who need permits. Our Hamburg, Germany office is going to cancel 8 permits for August 3 (a Wednesday) on Monday, July 25 (tomorrow) at 11am PDT. These will go back into the recreation.gov pool and be available (according to them) immediately. So if you want to try for them – go for it!! It pays to read the Mr Half Dome blog! 

     It is with some embarrassment that I must say I had never been up Sentinel Dome until 2 weeks ago. Seems most of my trips to the park are taken over by visits the other Dome brother. To get there just head east on the Glacier Point Road, past Badger Pass ski area and as you get kinda close to Washburn Point, look for a decent parking pullout on the left. It holds about 20 cars closely parked (consult a map).    

     The trail to the north can take you to Taft Point, just about a mile ahead or take the right fork to Sentinel. The hike is very short and pretty putzy. The trail is ground down pretty well so you’ll have no trouble getting there. You actually walk counter-clockwise around to the east side of the dome and then up. This is a family friendly hike with kiddies and gramma both being able to scoot up to the top. 

    There are 2 major attractions. The biggest is the views. One of the best in the park by some estimates. You can see the side of Half Dome clearly – just like on Glacier Point. But the view of Yosemite Falls is superb. The general Panorama takes in a lot of the park. Down and to the right you can see Nevada Fall – but not Vernal. 

The Full Monte Yosemtie Falls

   The other high point is the old gnarly tree that Ansel Adams photographed about half a century ago. It’s pretty well dead now, but it’s the real deal. Looks neat even as it wastes away.

 

Gnarly Tree

Unrelated thought worth quoting: Had my hand on the dollar bill, but the dollar bill flew away. But the sun is shining down on me and it’s here to stay. That’s why I’m telling you: I just want to celebrate, yeah, yeah, another day of living. I just want to celebrate another day of life.” – Rare Earth 

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

How high is Half Dome?

July 23, 2011

 Half Dome – Yosemite Musing  

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

 FLASHJuly 27 give-away permits for camping and Half Dome just posted on the link above.

     How high is Half Dome? Simple question, eh? Google it. But you can find 2 published numbers on official Yosemite maps. 8,842 and 8,836 feet. Huh? Why? I dunno.

     When I’ve taken my Garmin 60CSx GPS and stood on the highest point it read 8,832. That’s with the unit on the rock. Now if I stand up and read it, I get 8,842. OK, so I’m 6’2” – that explains that difference, but why on official maps? If you have a theory, let me know. It should be what it is.

    Along those lines, Nepal is in the process of ordering a new measurement of Mount Everest using GPS technology to determine the exact height of the world’s highest peak. I’ve not been there (and don’t plan to) but the height of the tallest surface on earth has historically been said to be 29,035 ft which is 8,850 meters. This is for the dry rock – not a layer of snow/ice to distort things.

     The Nepalese government intends to ‘place a device on the peak’ to measure the exact height. Turns out there is an ongoing high altitude squabble over the correct height of the mountain between Nepal and China. The two countries once had agreed to recognize 8,848 meters as the correct height.10 years ago a US team used GPS technology to record a height of 8,850 meters, which is used by the US National Geographic Society, though not officially accepted by Nepal. To confuse things even further, shifting tectonic plates mean that the mountain is actually rising as India is pushed under China and Nepal. So, maybe the Sierra are also shifting upward and Half Dome is actually higher that even these numbers. By the way – has anyone found the USGS marker on Half Dome? I haven’t; they are all over most peaks at Yosemite. I’ve found them on North Dome, Clouds Rest and Sentinel Dome. Holler if you have a photo of such on Half Dome and tell us where it is.

Clouds Rest USGS marker

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “You get up every morning from your alarm clock’s warning, take the 8:15 into the city. There’s a whistle up above and people pushin’, people shovin’ – And the girls who try to look pretty. And I’ll be taking care of business, every day.” – Bachman-Turner Overdrive

*MrHalfDome(tm) – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Yosemite Open House

July 22, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

 

     Want free admission to the park on July 27? Just attend the Open House from 1 to 4 pm in the Valley Visitor Center. Apparently, it’s honor system when you enter the gate. The topics covered will be: the Half Dome Permit System, the Ahwahnee Comprehensive Rehabilitation Plan, the Ansel Adams Gallery, and Fire Management. That should keep you busy. I’m not too hopeful of any more beef on the Half Dome Plan. The will announce the public comment period for the Alternatives they are proposing soon – probably in August. It all has to be signed off by November, according to plan.

    Thre are a ton of Projects the park is working on and you could spend a lot of time reading them. Another one that is out is the Scenic Vista Management Plan. The Environmental Assessment was released this month and you can read it <HERE>. Get a big drink and some cookies, because it’s 297 pages.

     The point of this one is that the scenic views of the 1800’s have gone away due to the lack of fire suppression, intrusion of conifers and lack of trimming. There are 5 alternatives proposed and I’ll leave the reading to you. We may have buzz saws humming before too long. Topping the sites that may get obstructions removed are: Washburn Point, Valley View, Olmsted Point, Tunnel View, East end of El Capitan, Bridalveil Fall view, Hanging Valley interpretive sign, Stoneman Meadow, Sentinel Bridge, Bridalveil Fall View, Big Oak Flat, Glacier Point, Pothole Dome, Clark Range view, Wosky Pond, Clouds Rest view, Church Bowl, Hutchings View and Stoneman. But the list goes on with about 200 total candidate sites.

A better Vernal Fall view coming???

     I talked at length today to Paul Rogers, the San Jose Mercury Environmental reporter who is doing a story on this for publication this weekend. The Valley and park are NOT was they were  when it was made a National Park. The scenic vistas have become obstructed and this comprehensive plan goes way beyond random pruning. You might recall the two huge trees that ruined every Tunnel View shot? Gonzo a couple years ago. I’m OK with it. It’s time for the park to get a haircut. And you?

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Lemon tree, very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet, But the fruit of the lemon is impossible to eat.” – Trini Lopez 

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

HOT – Vernal Fall discussion on KGO today

July 22, 2011

 Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

A quick heads up. KGO Radio 810 am San Francisco will be having a discussion /call-in about the Vernal Fall deaths today at 3 pm.  If you subscribe to this blog, you’ll get this in time to listen and participate. I’ll summarize for the regular blog tonight.

3:10 UPDATE – I’m on the line now on hold….and Obama’s chat delayed it.  UPDATE – KGO just told me they are changing topics – will now discuss the debt issue.  AARRGGHH…So it may be rescheduled for Monday. Sorry.

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com