Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Confusion factor 2.0

September 9, 2011

This WordPress blog is no longer being used. Go to

www.HikeHalfDome.com  

to see the new integrated Website/Blog by Mr Half Dome

This is the same URL as my previous website..all the content is moved so you can still get the hiking info etc.

 

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Yosemite – Motor Fire update 8/29 – 7 pm PDT

August 29, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

 

More help heading to El Portal

 

    I was at the park yesterday and drove home to San Jose-by-the-sea today. Picked up a lot of stuff to report. The fire is still at 35% containment and over 4700 acres have burned. All evacuation and pre-evacuation orders for residents will be lifted tonight. Evacuated residents may return to their homes. Highway 140 will reopen to all traffic tomorrow, Tuesday, August 30 at 6 a.m. All Park functions will be back on normal duty. There was never an impact on  your Half Dome hike, so don’t worry about it. Hooray to the fire fighters!  Here is a photo of the burn area if you had not deciphered it.

Credit Chris Falkenstein

   On my way out, I stopped and hiked down to the Merced Grove. Despite the signage that calls it a “rigorous” hike and to be prepared for a 3-4 hour round trip, it took all of 30 minutes to get down. This part of the old Coulterville road into the park. This route beat the Old Big Oak Flat project by just a couple months having the honor of offering the first commercial stage coach trips into the park on  June 18, 1874. Originally it was called the Crane Flat Grove. There are 23 big trees so you can save a trip to Wawona if you want a sampler. 

Pushing them apart

     I met a fire crew that was making  a break down beyond the grove. Turns out they were from the CA Dept of Corrections and Rehabilitation – yes, prisoners! They were out of the facility near Mariposa and are trusted low-crime inmates. Yes! Put them to work.

I doubt that  the Open House and webinar for Aug 30 will be held – no word.

 

 Unrelated thought worth quoting: “”Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity.” – John Muir 

*MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Yosemite – Motor Fire update 8/29 – 9 am PDT

August 29, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

     I drove up Sunday to give a Half Dome presentation at the LeConte Memorial Lodge. We had a full house with 2 Blog readers doing the hike today. Mary Beth and her husband will send us a trip report. The funniest question came from a 7-year old boy. He asked: “Do you smell up top?” I said you could smell the trees and perhaps some of the smoke. That was not what he was looking for. He pointed to his arm pit and asked if you stunk from sweating. LOL. 

    As I entered the park, the smoke from the “motor” fire was almost imperceptible near the Big Meadow. On Friday there was a heavy layer wafting into the western edge of the valley. Wonder why they don’t call it the “Motorhome” fire. 

     The fire is still at 35% containment and over 4700 acres have burned. A DC-10 aircraft  has been making drops of up to 12,000 gallons of fire retardant in 8 seconds.  Currently there is a mandatory evacuation of the government housing area in Rancheria and the trailer court. Employees are given Administrative leave. An evacuation center has been opened at the Red Cross Center/Lutheran Church in Mariposa. Highway 140 is closed from the Yosemite Bug Hostel to El Portal Road. YARTS is not running service. There is also a health alert for people living in areas affected by smoke from the fires. There is no current threat to commercial power.

 

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” – John Muir 

*MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Yosemite – Motor Fire update 8/27 – 9 pm PDT

August 27, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

 

Fire control efforts

* The fire is subsiding on the south side of the Merced. The focus is on the hills to the north.

* The Cedar Lodge has been evacuated and guests moved to the Yosemite View.

* Old El Portal area is at risk. Old El Portal and Yosemite West are in pre-evacuation state.

* All campgrounds in the area are evacuated.

* Burn is now 3600 acres

* Containment is at 15% – full estimated by Friday Sept 9.

* Local traffic MAY be permitted to travel along Hwy 140 by Monday.

* Fire trucks and large equipment are navigating over the one-way Bailey Bridges at the Ferguson Rockslide okay. 

Open House August 31

August 31 is the next Yosemite monthly open house. Park staff will discuss the, and other ongoing planning efforts.

Presentations will begin at 2 pm and will last approximately 45 minutes. The presentations will feature: The Tioga Road Rehabilitation Plan, The Mariposa Grove Restoration Project, The Curry Village Rockfall Hazard Zone Structures Project and the White Wolf Lodge & Duplex Cabins Rehabilitation Plan.  I bet they also talk about the Motor Fire.

Join from your desk via webex.com at 2 pm.  The open house is from 1 to 4 pm in the Valley Visitor Center. FREE Park Entrance for attendees.

 

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “God has to nearly kill us sometimes, to teach us lessons.” – John Muir 

*MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Motor Fire update near Yosemite

August 27, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing  

Inside the motor home there were problems with the propane and people jumped out. They were disconnecting their car when it blew up. No one hurt. 

The Sierra National Forest is the fire control management agency. The 250 room Cedar Lodge Motel and about 24 homes in the nearby Incline Road housing area were evacuated Friday. There is VERY little coverage of this fire.  The National Fire incident page has not been updated with new content since yesterday. The fire “info hotline” (209) 372-0327 has never answered when I’ve called. Even the San Jose Mercury News had nil on it today. Yet some people step over a protective railing and slide over Vernal Fall and it’s HOT news. Unknown when it will be contained and Hwy 140 reopened. 

If you are booked at the Cedar Lodge soon, suggest you get alternate accommodations. Try the Hotel Charlotte in Groveland on Hwy 120. 

*MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Yosemite “Motor Fire”

August 26, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

 

    About noon yesterday I was on top of Half Dome with 2 friends. It was a gorgeous day. Temps were mild until about 3 pm, but we were well on the way down, so it was fine. I was able to give away 7 permits through my blog prior to leaving home and another at Curry Village. 2 “permit wanters” no-showed at our 4 pm Wed rendezvous at Curry, so I was able to give them out on the trail. There are plenty of people with extra permits so please just do the hike and ask. Really. They are averaging only slightly above 200 daily Domers. Just go for it!

    We were on top about noon and I see a huge plume of white smoke rising from the southwest. First thought was a prescribed burn. There were a few signs on the road driving in advising such was coming. But it was very dense and big for a controlled fire. The next thought was maybe a plane crash – but it was not black like fuel burning. My photo is tagged 12:48. 

 

    As you may have read by now, it was caused by a motor home fire on Hwy 140 just south of the Cedar Lodge, the huge motel complex about 12 miles outside of the Arch Rock entrance to Yosemite. I like to arrive this way, so I’m very familiar with the area. To help you, going out of that gate, in about 8 miles you come to the Yosemite View Motel complex on the left . . . then a sister property, the Cedar Lodge. The next place of note is the site of Savage’s Trading Post at the confluence of the South Fork of the Merced and the Merced. If you continue down further, you arrive at the Ferguson Ridge Rockfall, then Briceburg, then Midpines and finally Mariposa. 140 then continues toward Merced.  

     The incident occurred between the Cedar Lodge and Savages. Apparently the motor home was detaching a car it ws towing when their propane tank somehow ignited and exploded. The resultant fire spread to the grassy edge of the roadway then rose vertically and caught the nearby trees on fire. From there the fire grew and spread into the hills. I have not heard of any casualities. A Budweiser truck was behind the mtor home. By nightfall 1,000 acres had burned and Hwy 140 was closed as fire crews attacked it. Power at the Park went off intermittently. Some buildings had back-up generators but many were reduced to candles and flashlights. The fire threatened the areas north of the fire source, mainly Rancheria near the Cedar Lodge and Yosemite West, the complex of rental homes up on the Wawona Road.

     This morning I was making a courtesy call in the main NPS Admin building and most offices were empty at 9 am. Many park staff live in El Portal and the communities at risk. There were few happy faces – a bad time me for me to be there. As I drove out of the park, traffic was being diverted from going out via 140. This artery to Mariposa was closed from near Midpines to the Foresta Bridge Rd near the NPS El Portal complex.  All but fire and essential traffic was forced to divert to Highway 120 or 41  to arrive/leave Yosemite. As I drove north across from the Big Meadow on the Big Oak Flat Road, the smoke layer beyond Foresta was significant as the fire moved to the north. It had not reached the Valley. On the way toward Groveland I saw many fire trucks and equipment coming east.

 

 

     The elite “Hot Shots” fire teams were arriving in their green trucks. These are the “Seal Team 6” of forest fire fighters. Cedar lodge, Incline and local Merced River Canyon Campgrounds were voluntarily evacuated. Rancheria, Old El Portal and Yosemite West have been advised to prepare for evacuations. As I write (9 pm PDT) this the fire is now into the Sierra National Forest and the Stanislaus National Forest, spanning both sides of the Merced.  This is a Bad One. The park is open for business – DO NOT come via Hwy 140 until further notice. 

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “I Fell Into A Burning Ring Of Fire. I Went Down, Down, Down And The Flames Went Higher. And It Burns, Burns, Burns, The Ring Of Fire”   – Johnny Cash 

*MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Motor Home Fire El Portal

August 26, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing  

At 12:30 yesterday a motor home caught fire on Hwy 140 Southwest of the Cedar Lodge. Now over 1,000 acres burned, threatening Yosemite West and other areas. 140 closed between Ferguson Ridge rock fall and El Portal.  Travel must be via 120.  I am driving home now from the park…photos and more later today.  

*MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Half Dome #31 in the books

August 25, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

 

    A lot going on at Yosemite. First, I did my 31st Half Dome hike. Not a big deal, but I’m happy. Weather today was superb and a lot of water still coming out of the falls. NO spray on the Mist Trail. We got up early since today was a “look for bodies” day. They close the Mist at 7 am until noon on Thursdays.. We got up well before the closure.

     I met a lot of blog readers. No pix until I get home and download them.

     A motorhome exploded near the Cedar Lodge in El Portal, about 12 miles south of the Arch Rock entrance on Hwy 140. We saw the huge flame cloud rising about 1 pm. Because of the fire Hwy 140 is closed and the park lost power. We are staying at the Ahwahnee (another story) and they have a generator – so we are good.

   The consensus feeling is that the death of Ryan Leeder was probably a suicide on Monday. He had a history of mental problems and other hikers said he was acting strange on the way up hal Dome.

 

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “”God never made an ugly landscape. All that sun shines on is beautiful, so long as it is wild.” – John Muir 

*MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Half Dome fall thoughts

August 24, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

  

    Ryan Leeder of Los Gatos (west of San Jose), 23 yrs old, is the one who fell over the face of Half Dome on Monday. Circumstances are unknown at this point. We can assume that he got too close to the edge and slipped over. We may never know as the park tends to downplay deaths. It is very plausible to think that since the rock near the northwest face is very gravely he may have stumbled and fell. If one were to walk over to the edge and slip – that could explain it.  When I go near the edge, I lay down 10 feet way and crawl. It’s fun to look down at 2,000 feet. I often see climbers coming up. BUT – YOU assess the risk and deal appropriately.


 

    About 60,000 people do this hike safely a year. Please do not think poorly of this hike because occasionally there are issues. Did you know that until 2007 NOBODY fell off the cables when they were up for summer use! Really. And this fall was nowhere near the cables. So the rush to judgment was rather quick. I do NOT want to see this hike curtailed or restricted further due to rare incidents …if so, we should all wear helmets when we drive. 

    I live right next to Los Gatos. Ryan may have even attended one of my talks. Condolences go out. If anyone knows about a service, please let me know via private email. This is really sad – but remember, stuff happens. 

   I will be doing the hike Thursday with 2 friends. Carpe Diem

 

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Hello darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again. Because a vision softly creeping, left its seeds while I was sleeping and the vision that was planted in my brain – still remains. Within the sound of silence.” – Simon and Garfunkle

*MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Another Half Dome death

August 23, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

 

Half Dome fall?

      There are unconfirmed reports of a person falling off Half Dome Monday evening about 6:30 pm. Climbers on the face reported seeing a man drop down the face. A helicopter was heard going up about 4 am. Sub Dome and the cables were closed for a while Tuesday am while YOSAR investigated. A male body was reportedly found in the talus slopes on the Mirror Lake side of Half Dome known as the Death Slabs. It’s unknown if the person was a climber, a hiker who fell off the top or perhaps a suicide. More as it’s known. 

Car over the edge

     As you drive to Yosemite on Highway 120 you will cross over Lake Don Pedro. Soon you will need to drive up Grizzly Gulch via the Old or the New Priest Grade and into the Big Oak Flat Metroplex.  The Old Priest Grade takes you almost straight up at 25 mph max as your engine grabs for any power it can. Your hamster wheel will be spinning at full rpm.  The Newer road is longer and has broad sweeping switchbacks. A much saner route . . .unless you are gawking at the view as a driver did Sunday. In a big “oops” the car went over the edge and down 200 feet.  The driver walked away thanks to seatbelts, airbags and the St. Christopher statue. Winches were deployed Monday to get it out. Try to explain that to your family.

Le Dome then Le Conte

    I will be hiking Half Dome on the 25th and might not be posting a blog that night. I will also not be able to moderate posts to the blog. If you are at the park I will be giving my Half Dome talk at 8 pm on Sunday night at the LeConte Memorial Lodge. It’s on the road to curry across from the Housekeeping area. FREE.

 

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “On the road again – Just can’t wait to get on the road again. The life I love is making music with my friends. And I cant wait to get on the road again, on the road again.” – Willie Nelson 

*MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com