Welcome to our post about hiking the Half Dome trail in Yosemite National Park.
Source : Amazing Places on Our Planet
Hiking the Half Dome Trail in Yosemite National Park.
Located in the eastern part of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome is one of the most famous rock features in the Yosemite National Park. It is known for its unusual shape, with one side being a sheer face and the remaining three sides being round and smooth.
Looming more than 4,737 ft above the floor of the valley, the granite crest is one of the Sierra’s crown jewels. Although an 1865 report indicated that the summit was inaccessible, George Anderson proved it wrong by hacking it in 1875. Today, thousands of hikers reach the summit, with most of them describing it as an arduous and exciting hike.
From the valley floor, Half Dome gives an illusion of a rounded dome missing its northwestern half bit. However, viewed from Washburn Point the ridge appears as a thin rock ridge.
Currently, there are numerous ways of ascending the Half Dome. By far the most popular is the 8.5 mile trail that begins at the valley floor. This is the route taken by many hundreds of hikers each day.
Taking in spectacular views of the valley, the hiker is assisted by granite stairways and cabled supports specifically constructed to make the last part of the ascent as safe as possible for less-experienced hikers.
Other more challenging routes are also available for rock-climbers on the vertical northwestern face. 1957 marked the initial technical ascent through a road whose pioneers were Mike Sherrick, Royal Robbins, and Jerry Gallwas.
This route is currently referred to as Regular Northwest Face, with several people using it to reach the summit within a few hours.
There is also the Mist Trail that gives a round trip of approximately 14.2 miles and John Muir Trail with a round trip of about 16.5 miles. The Mist Trail is more exciting and steeper than the John Muir Trail, with narrow stone steps.
Hikers can also opt for a 30 km round trip through Glacier Point, 23 miles round trip through the Tenaya Lake, or a 7 miles trip beginning from the campground at Little Yosemite Valley.
The summit is a flat region that offers climbers a chance to relax and celebrates their accomplishment. Surrounding views include Liberty Cap, Nevada Falls, the Valley Floor and the Little Yosemite Valley.
Crowding is a common occurrence in the cable route with up to a thousand hikers present in a day, especially during summer weekends. About 50,000 hikers climb every year, and this prompted the legislation of permit requirement by National Park Service. People have to seek permits to hike on Friday through the weekend as well as during federal holidays.
The hike is strenuous and has a lasting impact an individual’s persona. The first hiker once stated that the venture can awaken people’s adventuresome spirits and give them a new-found notion of accomplishing anything in life. It is clearly among the most ambitious journeys that one can undertake.
A standard part of hiking the final part of the climb is ascending using support cables made of metal. The two cables make it possible to hikers finish the last bit of the climb without using rock climbing equipment. Although injuries are common for irresponsible climbers, only a few people have lost their lives on the cables. Some useful tips include taking one’s time, allowing faster hikers to proceed and remaining within the cables.
Black bears are common in the wilderness of Yosemite and are found of grabbing backpacks from campers and hikers. Therefore, it is advisable to scare these animals away by making noise or yelling. Stellar jays, squirrels, and chipmunks may also be present along the trail.
Climbing the Half Dome Trail should be on every person’s bucket list. Spectacular natural beauty, geological formations, waterfalls, lakes, panoramic vistas and wildlife abound. Add in the last part of the cable ascent, which is a genuine test of strength and courage and you have a perfect outdoor trip that has to be worth undertaking.