Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.
FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>
The cables running up the backside are a bit over 600 feet long. There are 68 pole sets from bottom to top. The poles are set in about 5 inch deep holes and have 2 x 4” boards spanning the width at 10 foot intervals. The cable is multi-stranded steel alloy – just like the kind they build bridges with. It is about 3/8 inch in diameter. They have been replaced in 1934 and 1984. The cables are not one continuous run; they are set in thirds, with strong anchor points along the rock. For over 2 football fields, you will be pulling yourself up up up. The common guess is that the rock is at 45 degrees. As you ascend you see a definite steeper grade. The original 1917 Engineering drawing by the contractor (Gutleben of San Francisco) who put them up reads: “about 50 degrees.” I have measured the incline and got readings of up to about 56 degrees. You will also encounter 4 “steps” in the rock where it is exfoliating. This means they expansion outwards as it relieves its stress causes it to layer like an onion.
The cable can be pretty warm in the summer heat and very cold when weather turns below 50 degrees. It will pull the heat right out of your hands. There are no burrs on the cable – they are nice and smooth.
My recommendation – use Atlas model 370 nitrile coated gloves. About $5 at ACE hardware.
These gloves at the base of the cables are considered trash – because they look like it.The rangers ask that you take some down with you. They are not reliable.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Gort, Klaatu Barada Nikto.” – The day the earth stood still, (Micheal Renie)
*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com