Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Today I am going to share some tips for making a summit on Half Dome in Yosemite Park.  I start by duplicating my own facebook post from a couple of days ago.  This represents my attempt to be at least mildly amusing.
If one wants to make the 4800 foot ascent up to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite Park, I can offer these seven simple steps. STEP 1. Lose approximately 85 pounds (only necessary if one starts at 309 lbs) STEP 2. Train for six months: treadmill, elliptical machine, stairmaster STEP 3. Train to increase upper body strength (actually I skipped this step - I only wished I hadn't as I navigated the Half Dome cables to make the final 425 foot ascent) STEP 4. Be fearless (STEP 4 is actually impossible - so skip that one) STEP 5. Somehow manage to climb your way down from the mountain because cell phone coverage at 8842 feet elevation atop Half Dome is spotty at if you want people to be aware of your accomplishment you are going to need to return! STEP 6. Allow at least 12 hours for the approximately 18 mile day hike from Curry Village in Yosemite Park. STEP 7. Don't forget your FitBit as you will get a kick out of learning that you have climbed the equivalent of 550+ flights of stairs. (Imagine climbing from street level to the top of the Empire State Building... Then imagine doing it nearly 5 more times)

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I found a website, which also offered some helpful advice.

Hike Distance:  14.2 miles (22.7 km) round trip via Mist Trail

Half Dome Elevation:  8,842 feet (2,695 meters)

Total Elevation Gain:  4,800 feet (1,600 meters) from Yosemite Valley
Hiking Time:  10 - 14 hours
Why climb the trail to Half Dome?  Half Dome is the ultimate Yosemite day hike - the one you can't die without doing, and the one you're most likely to die while doing.  t's got 900 feet (300 meters) worth of spectacular waterfalls at the bottom if you take the Mist Trail route; bigger-than-life panoramic vistas at the top; and a knee-knocking, hand-clamming cable ascent that will test your courage, your strength, and the tread on your shoes.
Permit Alert:  You'll need a permit to access the cable section of the trail. 
Crowd Factor:  High - so high, in fact, that the park service has instituted a permit system for the cable route, a perennial source of bottlenecks. In 2012 the park service switched to a lottery system, which remains in place. While getting a permit can be a challenge, the permit system has definitely reduced crowding, and the days of 45-minute waits to get onto the cables seem to be over.
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and finally... Here is some detail information on acquiring a Half Dome permit lifted directly from the official United States Government National Park Service website:
(The information duplicated below was for the 2015 season which will conclude in 9 days.... My advice would be to use the website as it is updated for the 2016 season.
Half Dome Permits for Day Hikers
Permits to hike to the top of Half Dome are required seven days per week when the cables are up (as called for in the Half Dome Plan in order to protect wilderness character, reduce crowding, protect natural and cultural resources, and improve safety).
A maximum of 300 hikers are allowed (about 225 day hikers and 75 backpackers) each day on the Half Dome Trail beyond the base of the subdome.
Permits are distributed by lottery via, with one preseason lottery with an application period in March and and daily lotteries during the hiking season. Backpackers—including those who want to spend the night in Little Yosemite Valley—should apply for Half Dome permits with their wilderness permit rather than using the process described below.
On each preseason lottery application, people can apply for up to six permits (six people) and for up to seven dates. Applications will only be successful if the number of permits requested is available on at least one of the requested dates. If enough permits are available for more than one of the requested dates, permits will be automatically awarded to the highest priority date, as entered by the applicant.
The applicant must specify the name of the trip leader and may specify the name of an alternate. Each person may apply as a trip leader only once per lottery. People applying multiple times as trip leader will have all their lottery applications canceled. Permits will only be valid if the trip leader and/or alternate specified on the permit is part of the group using the permits. The group with trip leader or alternate must be present together at the base of the subdome, where rangers will check for permits. The names of the trip leader and alternate may not be changed once the application is submitted, and their permits are not transferable.
Preseason Lottery
During the preseason lottery, 225 permits are available for each day. The application period for this lottery is from March 1 through March 31 (eastern time). Applicants will receive an email with lottery results in mid-April (or can get results online or by calling We are planning on the Half Dome cables being up May 22, 2015 through October 13, 2015, but these dates could change based on conditions.Update: The Half Dome cables will be installed and available for use beginning on May 2. All 225 day hiking permits will be available via the daily lottery, as described below.

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Can you see that little RED DOT in the center of this photograph?  That is me, sitting on a ledge at the summit of Half Dome. It was a bit lonely out there! The word, 'awesome' is often overused - I am pretty sure it applied last Thursday, only five days ago,  around noon when I was soaking in the vastness of Yosemite.

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Tuesday MENU

breakfast      Multigrain Rice Cakes, Chocolate Granola Bar  495 calories
lunch            two large apples, center cut bacon 6 slices         400 calories
dinner          Manhattan Clam Chowder, Oat+Honey bars       620 calories
SNACK       Multigrain Rice Cakes, gala apple                       440 calories

TOTAL CALORIES CONSUMED 1955 CALORIES                                                              
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MapMyWalk 1 hour, 2 minute walk 5 MILES                          1052 CALORIES

Tuesday net calories 903 calories

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fitbit day 34
17374 steps
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Each time I take a 'workout walk' outside... I like to snap at least a photo or two of something that I see that is interesting.... Today, It was the giant carved pumpkin at the Lincoln Park Zoo

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