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

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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

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    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

HOT – Short fuse – Permits for Aug 25

August 22, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

I have come upon 9 extra permits for Aug 25. Contact me ASAP for a scan/email on Tues…I am driving up Wed. I will be going up the 25th and will give them out on the trail if no response. NO scalpers – you gotta do the hike.

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

Half Dome training hike

August 22, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

 

    I want to thank everyone that made the Mission Peak hike today. We got an early start and were about a half hour up the Ohlone trail and were greeted by a rather huge rattlesnake. He was rattling and I jumped about 5 feet. Check these photos. 

Good reason NOT to wear an iPOD>

 

Count the rattles. A python??

     Since I was there last, the East Bay Regional Parks installed a real pit toilet. Over the years we went from nothing to a basic Johnny-on-the-spot to a tin can facility to a real nice one. Funny, there is a picnic table just outside. Not exactly my idea of a pleasant place for a lunch! 

   I was disappointed at the trash and empty water bottles along the trail. There are trash cans at the toilet and further up the trail. OINK. I picked up about 4 bottles. The top is at 2500 feet. There was the usual morning low clouds still present at 11 am, but it did clear. We returned to Mission Blvd about noon and said goodbye as I continued my “double down” hike. Water refill at the car on Mission Blvd then back up for another lap. The total elevation gain for me was 4400 feet…Pretty close to Half Dome’s 4737 feet. Total distance was 14.2 miles. Again, pretty close to the Half Dome hike. It took me 6 hours and I am wiped.   

    If you are in the South Bay area and want a good HD training hike – this one is my favorite. I’ll invite yall when I do it again. When you are done with your hike, I highly recommend the Ohlone Deli – right across from the college campus at 43625 Mission Blvd, Fremont 94539. Bob runs the place and makes a very good sandwich. If you tell him Mr Half Dome sent you, he’ll give you the key to the restroom. Just kidding, but it is a welcome wash-up room. AND he has FREE wifi so you can keep your stock portfolio current.

 

Unrelated thought worth quoting:When I was younger, so much younger than today, I never needed anybody’s help in any way. But now these days are gone, I’m not so self assured, Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors. Help me if you can, I’m feeling down and I do appreciate you being round. Help me, get my feet back on the ground. Won’t you please, please help me. – The Beatles 

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

Pack light for Half Dome

August 21, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE>

 

     When I do the 16-mile hike up to the top of Half Dome, I try to pack light. Nothing excessive that will weigh me down. So check out this troubadour who hauled up this git-box to the top. I dunno, I guess, yeah,  I would consider this excessive.

 

I asked him to play some Hendrix, but he could not.   What are YOU carrying that you could do without? 

 

Unrelated thought worth quoting: He’s free as the breeze, he’s always at ease. He lives in the jungle and hangs by his knees as he swings through the trees without a trapeze, in his B.V.D.’s. Gitarzan, he’s a guitar man. He’s all you can stand. Give him a hand, Gitarzan. ” – Ray Stevens 

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

Socks on the Mist Trail

August 20, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

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     Just when I thought I saw everything, I was coming down the Mist Trail at the end of a Half Dome hike when I come upon this woman. We were returning to Happy Isles below the Vernal Fall Footbridge. Take a look.

Yes, she is wearing only socks. I did not see her carrying shoes. Just socks. So did she do the hike to Vernal in cotton foot coverings? Did she jettison her shoes along rock slide area? Sleep late and have to hustle out her tent? Odd people, you Americans.

    I often tell people  that they should take their  photos on the Vernal Fall Bridge early in the morning when it is empty. At 5 pm when you return you may see strollers and high heels. Well, here’s proof of one of them.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Sock it to me.” – Laugh in TV show 

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Gripping the Half Dome cables

August 19, 2011

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

More Waterfall crazies

August 17, 2011

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

To request, trade or give permits, Click HERE.

FREE Half Dome Hike app <HERE> 

     Since we have been talking about Yosemite’s waterfalls lately, here’s one for you. Zambia’s Victoria Falls is the largest in the world (length) and  it is a couple tads higher than our Vernal Fall. It is 5,604 ftwide and has a height of 108 ft, forming the largest sheet of falling water in the world. During our autumn, flow is down so people with small brains go out to the edge and look down. Watch this.  Maybe we can start this at our favorite National Park.

On a brighter note, the US Air Force Band of the Golden West is performing in Oakhurst at the Oakhurst Community Park on Saturday, Aug. 20 at 7 pm.

And on-site report back from Yosemite by blog reader Maureen sez that Vernal and Nevada falls  look  like the end of May in a low-water year and ponchos were not needed  on the Mist Trail. Carry one anyway in case of seasonal afternoon thunderstorms. The Avalanche Fire smoke does dampen the view from the top of HD and its smoke settles in the Valley overnight. So now hard hats for the rockfalls and gas masks for smoke. Got it. That fire is 25% contained with 1040 acres burned and a date of Sept 1 estimated for extinguishment.

She also echos a suggestion that I’ve made and to ask for a tent cabin in the 700 series when you arrive at Curry Village. This will put you away from the hordes with no manners and closer to the trailhead. Bring earplugs and a loud alarm.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.” – Abraham Lincoln 

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com