September 22nd, 2008

Raven taking off on Half Dome

Half Dome in the distanceI realized I was trying to pack too much in to my trip long ago, but it became very apparent in Oregon. I wanted to hike the Three Sisters, visit Crater Lake, Mount Shasta, San Francisco, the Napa Valley, Yosemite… the list goes on. And there was no way I could do it all before my reservations to hike Whitney on the 25th. So I had to cut it all out except Yosemite. El Capitan!I drove all day from Oregon, snapping a picture as I blew by Shasta, and was just outside the park by nightfall. I rolled into the park early the next morning and tried to figure out what I wanted to do. Being late summer the waterfalls were just trickles, I didn’t know where to even begin climbing and bouldering, and then I remembered hearing about an exposed Half Dome cablesclimb with cable railings up the backside of Half Dome… and knew exactly what I was going to do that day. It was a perfect beautiful day for it too. It’s not a small hike, with close to 5000′ elevation gain and about 16miles round trip, so it would take up the whole day if I didn’t hurry (it was already 10am). I did hurry, going up as fast as I could, passing tourists left and right. Then I got to the cables. Wow. I really can’t believe they let you do this, Huge pine conebeing in America and all. The cables are steep. As in, if you let go of the cables, you would fall off of the mountain. You cannot stand without them. And you don’t want to fall. You will skitter down the granite all the way to the bottom, which is faaar below. My rapid progress came to a halt on the cables because I got there at rush hour, apparently. A long line of people stretched The John Muir trail to Half Domeupward, moving about a foot a minute. My guess is that there was one really scared person holding everything up. I did make it to the top and enjoyed the scenic vistas of the Sierras and Yosemite Valley. Also, I belly-crawled to the edge and looked down at climbers coming up the face. I recommend the hike to anyone who Crowd on the Half Dome summitisn’t too afraid of heights to make it up the cables. It’s a great way to see Yosemite from above. Plus, on the way down, I took a different trail and got to see some of the famous waterfalls like Vernal Falls - although at this time of year they were not particularly impressive. Evening was approaching when I got back to the car and if I wanted to climb Boundary Peak (Nevada’s highest) on my tight schedule I had to get moving so I bid farewell to Yosemite after just one day. I need to come back when I’m more of a climber!

Approaching Half DomeThese cables are even steeper than they lookI can't believe this is legalThe backside of Half Dome and the cablesPeering down on climbers headed up Half DomeMe on the Dome overlooking Yosemite ValleyFat, ass, squirrelThe Yosemite SierrasLate summer trickle at Vernal FallsThe fabled Camp 4Mount Shasta drive by

Yosemite in the evening

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