At the end of last month we visited Yosemite. Our goal to successfully reach to top of Half Dome. We planned this trip for months. We were fortunate enough to get a permit to hike the trail to half dome. All of us are engineers and getting time off is sometimes difficult so once we found out there was a fire a week before we were supposed to leave we became very concerned. The fire crews in Yosemite did a wonderful job containing and controlling the fire so we were very lucky our trip was not cancelled. The Trail opened just 3 days prior to us leaving.
Our first stop coming into Yosemite we arrived at Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. This root was massive. An interesting thing about Sequoia trees is for their amazing height they have an amazingly shallow root system. The roots are only 10-14ft deep and can cover up to an acre in area.
This photo was taken from Sentinel Dome the day before our Half Dome hike.
The day of the big hike there were 3 of us (Down from 6, the others decided not to do it). We woke up at 4AM, Ate a quick breakfast and loaded our gear in our backpacks. I took 5 Liters of water, a sandwich, a headlamp and the 5Dmk3 with a Canon 24-105mm L and the Samyang 14mm. We started from our camp site and walked to the trail head at 5AM. We walked up Vernal falls and half way up Nevada falls in the early dark morning.
This was taken just before Little Yosemite valley.
Hiking up half dome is hard, I mean really hard. It attacks your physical and mental abilities. First you hike up to the base of Sub Dome (Thats half domes little Sister designed to kill your legs). The hike to Sub Dome was about 7 miles from camp. Sub Dome is a machine of switchbacks comprised of granite steps. Nature’s hardest stair master. Once you get use to the never ending stairs the steps just end. You must trust your footwear and walk up the rest of the steep granite slope.
Once at the top you are presented with half dome. There is a presence up there. She just sits there like she is waiting for you. Waiting for you to make a decision if you are ready for an experience of a lifetime. You have to pump yourself up. When you’re on a 45 degree granite face, second thoughts are not what you want. At this point I put away the camera, put on my gloves and strapped on my backpack... we were going up.
The section that is most commonly referred as "The Cables" is comprised of 2 cables roughly waist height rising the last 400 vertical ft of the hike. The granite is worn slick from over the years of use. This requires a large amount upper body strength to climb. There were a couple times where you are stopped and you hear a clink, clack clink.... then see a water bottle bouncing down the granite face toward the valley floor. It puts it into perspective as you grasp tighter on the cables. You can’t help but think there is nothing to stop you if you slip. But we pushed through it. My wife got to the top first (and quickly) We got to the top and WOW! Simply amazing. We did it. This is up standing only feet away (felt like inches) from a drop of over 4700 ft down to the valley floor.
This is a photo of the Sierras behind Half Dome. My next adventure will be clouds rest (That’s the peak in the background). I hear it has even more spectacular views.
Thats the journey of Half Dome according to the GPS it was just about 17 miles round trip from our camp site (Upper Pines)
Here is one last photo taken the last night of our stay. This was after a wonderful (seriously no sarcasm) thunder storm came through for a few hours around 8PM. Being in a tent with my Wife with the rain, lightning and thunder is the most amazing experience and really made it a nice time. Around 12AM the storm cleared through and we saw this. It was taken in a Meadow with the 5Dmk3 and the Sigma 35mm f/1.4
Thanks for taking the time to allow me to share this with you. Questions, Comments, and Stories about your time hiking are welcome!
Link to most of the photos taken on the trip...