How to climb a half dome, including how to use its cable brackets

Climbing the Half-Dome is an intimidating feat, and using cable brackets to ascend (and descend) can be even more intimidating – here’s how to do it.

Yosemite is known for one of its most recognizable landmarks, Half Dome. Over 50,000 hikers climb this attractive dome each year. The summit of Half Dome has a total elevation of 2,695 meters and is 4,800 feet above the valley floor. Hiking this granite dome is considered Yosemite’s most memorable and challenging experience. People will have the chance to experience the area’s famous hiking trails, contemplate the beauty of the Nevada and Vernal waterfalls, and take in the views of unique redwoods through the shady forests.

However, the most breathtaking views of Yosemite are discovered after climbing the cables of the Half Dome and reaching the top. Here’s what you need to know and how to plan Yosemite’s toughest hike, the Half Dome climb.


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What to know before climbing the Half Dome

In order for people to have the opportunity to browse the sub-dome and Half Dome cables, they need to get a permit. These are awarded in a preseason lottery for the entire summer hiking season. No more than 300 permits are issued per day. These are divided into 225 permits for day hikers and 75 permits for backpackers. Yosemite National Park is also making people aware that traveling on the Sub Dome and Half Dome is dangerous during and after lightning and thunderstorms. They warn that fatalities and serious injuries have already occurred from falls on wet, slippery rocks and from lightning strikes by hikers on exposed terrain.

In fact, more than 20 people have died while hiking the Half Dome from failed base jumps, lightning strikes, falling cables, or heart attack. As the popularity of the Half Dome increases, the likelihood of obtaining a lottery license decreases as the park continues to issue a maximum of 300 tickets per day.

Also, people who are afraid of hiking should not climb the Half Dome. Only those in excellent physical shape should hike the Half Dome as they will have to climb over 5,500 feet. Also, children should not do this hike and cables should not be climbed when rain clouds are in the area.

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A Guide for Hikers to Climbing the Half Dome

Those wishing to hike the Half Dome should start at the Happy Isles via the Mist Trail. This is not for novice hikers as those who want to climb the Half Dome via cables will have to do a 15 mile round trip and 4,800 foot elevation gain. Additionally, hikers should have proper footwear as they will be scaling one of America’s toughest hikes. In addition, gloves are essential for climbing the cables. The Half Dome only has one fountain at the Vernal Fall Walkway, and that’s why hikers should fill up with water when hiking the dome.

People will pass by Vernal Falls and then next to Nevada Falls on the Mists Trail. Next is the redwood forest, which is relatively easy to navigate. The next part, which is the Subdome, is difficult to climb due to its vast stairs. However, at the top of the Subdome, people have an amazing view of the cables to the Half Dome. The trail of the mist trail to the top of the sub-dome takes about 4 hours. After that is when the real fun begins. Half Dome cable climbing is complicated with its steep incline and slippery surfaces. People have to climb 400 feet on the cables to the Half Dome. This is where people can get the most amazing views of Yosemite.

A guide for climbers when visiting the Half Dome

Unlike hikers, climbers have two options for starting their journey when climbing Half Dome. They can either start by taking the Happy Isles via the Mist Trail through Little Valley, or they can take the Happy Isles via Mirror Lake via the Death Slabs. The second option is more complex and requires a qualified route search. In addition, the route is steeper than that of the first option, and landlines are used. Hikers and climbers are urged not to litter while climbing the Half Dome in order to preserve the historic area for generations to come.

Additionally, visitors are urged to avoid erosion by using all major trails. The fires should only be lit at the level of the existing fireplaces. People should also note that camping is prohibited at the base of any wall in Yosemite Valley, including Half Dome. Going down the Half Dome requires people to go back down to the Mist Trail and then to Yosemite Valley. When they reach Nevada Falls, people have the option of descending the Mist Trail by retracing their steps to the valley floor or by taking the Muir Trail, which adds an extra 1.5 miles to the trip but is less steep than the other trail.

  • Cost: Although the permits are issued to the lucky winners and in limited numbers, they are not free. People who wish to ride the Half Dome will have to pay $ 20 per person for each permit earned.

Next: Yosemite National Park: How You and Your Dog Can Get the Most Out of Your Visit

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