17 mile round trip. 4500 feet ascent. You may think you can't do it - God knows, that's what I thought.
Despite the Conspirator's seemingly rugged physique and extensive martial arts training, the sad fact is that investment banking has left him badly out of shape.
The Conspirator's tips for climbing the Half-Life-Dome and only half-dying:
1. Bring lots of water. 4 liters / quarts should be enough. There only one source of water once you hit the hard bit of the hike - whatever is in your backpack.
2. Bring enough food - you will be at it all day. Sandwiches worked a treat and would have been even better if Jan hadn't forgotten the knife. Regularly snack on jelly beans, trail mix etc. to keep your sugar level up and replace salt.
3. Wear a hat and sunscreen. It gets hot on that bare rock in summer.
4. Start very early. If you twist your ankle at the top, you don't want to be coming down in the dark. And bring a flashlight just in case.
5. Hiking poles. If you don't have one, get one. They make a huge difference. Mine has a retractable blade built into the base, which came in mighty handy when we were ambushed by a group of Shan-Tsao ninjas near the top. But that's another story.
6. Walk slowly. Taking the first sections at a leisurely pace will conserve your energy for the real work.
7. Bring rocket propelled explosives (plus launcher, obviously). The last few hundred yards of ascent involve hauling yourself hand-over-hand up a 45% incline on a steel cable that is affixed to the rock. It's basically a single file experience, unless you are a mountain goat (and I assure you, by the time you have climbed 4400 feet, all traces of mountain-goatness will have left your legs). When we got there a large school group had tried to climb the cable and had stalled for over an hour when someone in the middle freaked out, because they were all tied together. A couple of well placed RPGs would have been just the thing to clear the path ... but we had left the equipment in the van. Planning, people, planning!
The Ahwahneechee called it Tissiack; it was later known as South Dome, and now, it's name is known around the world as Half Dome, perhaps the most famous Yosemite landmark and one of the most famous chunks of rock in the world. According to legend, a spirit from the valley went to nearby Mono Lake to wed Tissiack. Tissiack agreed to return to Ahwahnee (Yosemite Valley) with her new husband, and they crossed over the Sierra and got to the valley. When they arrived, Tissiack told her husband she wanted to return; her husband was infuriated, and refused to left her go. Tissiack began running from him, and her husband chased; but because they were both angry, they were both turned into stone. Tissiack is now Half Dome, her husband is North Dome, and the basket Tissiack carried is now Basket Dome.
Scientists now believe that Half Dome was a chunk of granite with one face cut off by advancing glaciers. Half Dome rises to 8848 feet, about 4800 feet above the valley floor, and can be seen from just about anywhere in the park. If you do some hiking, or drive Tioga Road, you'll be able to see many of the different faces of Half Dome. They are all very beautiful and impressive.
Half Dome may be the single most immediately impressive sight in Yosemite, we could see it from the valley floor, from Tunnel View, from Glacier Point and the visitor center. I think the best overall view and most stunning view is from Glacier Point where you are almost at the same physical height and the evidence of its actually being a "half" of a dome is most evident.
This is yet another unmissable sight in Yosemite - of which the best views are to be found at Glacier Point. Like El Capitan, Half Dome also has an impressive set of statistics: the 13 acre summit measures in at 8842 feet high (that's 5000 feet above the valley floor) and at just 7 degrees off the vertical, the 2000 foot high north-west face is the sheerest cliff in North America.
For all you ambitious hikers out there it is possible to get to the summit by way of the 17 mile "Half Dome Trail". Not for the faint of heart, the final 400 feet apparently involves hanging onto a steel cable that's hooked onto the smooth, curved back of the dome. To do it in a day you'll need to hit the road at the crack of dawn, starting at the Mist Trail. Avoid the summit during storms as it's frequently struck by lightning, and the whole route is discouraged during winter.
Personally though, I was content to admire this unusually shaped piece of rock from a distance!
Half Dome is one of Yosemite's most famous sights. The mountain is 8,842 feet high and its steep granite ridge is a popular and, challenging 17-mile hike. Also called the Half Moon Rock, the Half Dome resembles its namesake. On a full moon evening, the Half Dome exudes a radiant glow in harmony with the moonlight.
My trip through Yosemite NP was through a bus tour by Discover Tours operating from South Lake Tahoe NV. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and could tell us everything from snow patterns, glaciers, trees, plants and animals.
We drove through the park to lunch on the west side then spent the rest of the day going around all the main attractions. We walked throught the giant Sequoia forests in Mariposa Grove and marvelled at the tiny dots that were rock climbers on El Capitan.
I thoroughly enjoyed the tour as an introduction to Yosemite but it needs more than a day to see everything. There were no waterfalls running as I was there in October and needed to be there spring/summer to truely see the beauty of Yosemite.
Half Dome stands at the elevation of 8,840 feet. Its unique profile has become a symbol of Yosemite and geologists presume that its missing half had fallen off when the Ice Age glaciers passed through. It is made up from a type of granite. The trail to Half Dome is approximately 17 miles round trip and the hike is one of the most anticipated for avid hikers. Trail starts at Happy Isles Trailhead.
There are different levels of walking/hiking opportunities within Yosemite. Half Dome is suggested for the fit, and more experienced hiker. From the valley floor, the trail is over 16 miles and will take all day.
It goes without saying that Half Dome is the most famous of all the landmarks within Yosemite National Park. It rises 4,000' above the Valley floor, and has well marked trails to the top. Or if you're really ambitious (and experienced) you can rock-climb up.
But, I still have 1 question - Just where did the other half go?!
...but then you can say you SLEPT on Half Dome! I climbed it when I was 10, so you don't have to be Conrad Anker to pull it off. Just read up on what you need - sleeping bag, pad and food - prepare as much as you can for weather(wind, lightning), and LEAVE NO TRACE. Bring a frisbee!
One of the most impressive mountains in Yosemite Valley! Very easy to recognize and visible from many corners of the valley. It is vertical, no question!
I heard it's relatively easy to go up Half Dome from the back, but just to look at it, especially from Glacier Point, these views stay in your mind for a long time!
Peak is at 2695 m by the way.
The waterfalls, el capitan and Half Dome are the most popular signs of the park. You can hike or climb to the top (not today for me, maybe tomorrow hehehe) and I loved the views from the road where you can see the El Capitan and Half dome and a corridor in the middle (even if they are not near!)
Half Dome is one of Yosemite's most famous sights. The mountain is 8,842 feet high but its steep granite ridge is a popular and, I'm told, challenging hike. With a 4,000 plus foot elevation gain, I'd believe it too.
Distance: 17.0 Miles (roundtrip)
Elevation gain: 4,796 feet
Time: 10-12 hours roundtrip
Hike to Half Dome begins at the Happy Isles trailhead in Yosemite Valley.
Most hikers go up through Mist Trail, a steep and wet route next to the river. The John Muir Trail - 1.5 miles longer but slightly less taxing on the legs - is the preferred route down. I chose the Mist Trail both ways.
If you plan on hiking the half dome in 2 days...you can camp at Little Yosemite Valley. A wilderness permit is required to camp at LYV campground which is 2.5 miles below Half Dome. Visit www.nps.gov/yose/wilderness/permits.htm for details. Oh Black bears are a nightly nuisance here. We saw 2 (mama & baby bear) on our way down.
The trail to Half Dome is one of Yosemite's most popular trail. Make sure you allow 10 to 12 hours to complete this strenuous but awesome hike. Afternoon thunderstorms are frequent in the summer, so I highly recommend you start at 6 a.m. or earlier. Also make sure to check the weather report at the Visitor Center the day before you hike.
Take leather gloves for the cables, wear hiking boots with good traction, take plenty of food and water.
AND at the end of the hike, when your'e back at the trailhead....don't miss the chance to dip yourself in the river. Well, that is if you get back before the sun goes down. The water is cold but refreshing. Feels good on your achy muscles. Once you've freshened up.....pig out time! Get some ice cream at Curry Village!
The final 900 feet of the climb to the summit of Half Dome is at a 45 degree angle on a slick granite surface. To help the weary climber, cables have been embedded in the face of the rock however it is still nothing for the weak of heart to attempt. But the view from the top is reason enough to try.