#30 is in the books

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

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     Yesterday I did my 30th  Half Dome hike. It was a bit harder than my usual and took 12 hours. I was feeling sick with a “head cold” the last few days before. After dinner I got strange chills and climbed into my sleeping bag about 8 pm. It was a long night as I was shivering yet sweating inside my down bag. Not good. But I feel pretty good today.

    The water levels have gone down a lot since my July 4 hike. The falls even seemed a bit lighter. My hiking partner, Scott, and I didn’t get to the cables until about noon, but there was no line and only about 30 folks visible going up. I wore my “Mr Half Dome” shirt and met a lot of blog readers. Hi guys! I even ran into Katie, who I transferred 2 permits to earlier. If you do bring along extra permits, try to give them to people who look prepared for the hike. A clue is to check their footwear and water supply. So far in 2011 we’ve had no accidents. Don’t let yahoos ruin it.  

     A tip to readers of my book (which really should be ALL of you) – the Little Spring described on pg 86 has a photo of how to find it. The heavy snow took down the decaying tree on the right, so keep your eyes out for it. Just use the reference photo sans the right tree. I’ll fix this in the second edition due for release in Spring 2012.

    At 6 pm traffic in the East Valley came to a standstill. I was hoping to drive over to Housekeeping for some chow with friends, but word was an accident mucked things up. I was going to congratulate my buddies, Pat and Eddie who bushwacked their way up to The Diving Board at the west end of Half Dome. This is the pace I tried to get to last year, but gave up at noon. The Diving Board is where Ansel Adams took his famous shots of Half Dome’s face. It’s still on my list and my try it with the boys next year. It is a very hairy trek that goes beyond Snake Dike, a climbing route. A tip of the hat to them both! A shout out to Ellie and Hanna for their first ascent to the top of HD – at 12 years old!

     This morning at 10 am I caught up with Todd G. who got in line for Little Yosemite Valley Wilderness permits at 3:30 am. No typo there. And he was NOT the first in line. I cannot advise you on what to do, but Todd did not want to miss out. There are 12 permits available for walk-up at 11 am the day before your night stay.

Todd G & Rick D


Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world and all there ever will be to know and understand.”  Albert Einstein 

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com 

14 Responses to “#30 is in the books”

  1. Andy Says:

    Congrats on number 30. That’s cool.

  2. Jessica Noss Says:

    Wow… and I thought lining up at 4am was early! I guess it’s busier on a weekend… I was there just before 4am on Friday July 8 and the second person didn’t arrive until after 6am.

    • Roberto Hernandez Says:

      You have to wait until 11AM?

      • Jessica Noss Says:

        yup… but it’s worth it. Just bring a good book (such as a certain one about Half Dome). It’s worth it… at 3am, the Valley is completely empty and still, and the stars are beautiful. Plus, it’s a good excuse to see the sunrise 🙂

    • Roberto Hernandez Says:

      I just wouldn’t want to go so early that I was outside all alone. I have seen way too many bears exploring the valley in the middle of the night. They are beautiful, but when I meet up with one alone in the dark, I get frightened.

      • mrhalfdome Says:

        Folks, don;t worry about bears. They just root around looking for easy grub. Humans are not their food. No one has ever been killed by a bear at Yosemite national park. period…. …including grizzlies. Just stay clear of cubs.

  3. Chris Says:

    Congrats on #30–just over a month for my first trip.

  4. Sönke Says:

    Congratulations! 🙂

  5. Dean Says:

    Well done Rick.

    I’d love to hear Pat and Eddie’s tale of how they made it to The Diving Board.

    Just 5 weeks till our trip – weather in the UK is grim so looking forward to California sun!

    • mrhalfdome Says:

      Pat’s a blog reader. NOTE: the Diving Board is NOT for anyone but experienced – some CLass 3 and 4 areas on ledges. Very hard to find the route – climbers go on this approach to Snake Dike. I;ve seen Pat’s pix and you gotta have “intestinal fortitude” – guts – to attempt it. If you fall you will at least break something.

      The sun is very sweeeeet. Only hit the 70’s up high..was actually a bit too cool.

  6. Jason Says:

    Hi Rick, been following your blog a few months now, making first trip to Yosemite Saturday, and attempting Half Dome Monday the 25th. How’s the water level on Mist Trail, do you still get drenched? Are ponchos recommended year-round or only when the water level is high?

    • mrhalfdome Says:


      The falls are all fed by snowmelt, so they are rally booming now..but they are decreasing.The mist trail near Vernal Fall is very wet….the wind blows the spray over the steps….but it’s getting lighter. Saturday it was still a drenching near the top…for about 10 minutes of brisk stair climbing…You will get soaked w/o a poncho. Yeah, I think by the 25th it may peter out a bit..but a poncho is so light – why not??? Pus you will be getting near thunderstorm season – afternoons may bring rain clouds by then. A poncho is good “boy scout” readiness. The falls will be drying up into August and pretty much gone by September. 200% snowpack this year, so all bets may be off.

      Be prepared.

      • Maureen L Says:

        unlike Yosemite Falls, the falls on the Merced River do run all year.

        Vernal Fall in the fall is actually a different kind of beauty, divided into a couple of streams, and you can see the rock wall behind it.

        there’s no spray on the trail in late summer and fall, but there’s still the delight of falling water.

      • mrhalfdome Says:

        Thanks for the info, Maureen.

        Last Sept I looked and did not find NevadaFall – empty!! Vernal will be reduced to a wide trickle. The river itself was a field of rocks in many places. The longest lasting fall is Bridalveil. That’s becuase there is real soil in the basin that holds water longer….and its more northern facing gets less sun. Most other river channels are on granite so the water just runs out.


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