The cables to the summit of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park will be reset this Friday, May 16, 2014. This opening date is a week earlier than previously scheduled due to the low snowpack. Hikers wishing to ascend the cables between May 16 and May 22 can apply online at: www.recreation.gov for a first-come, first-served, permit. Permits for the early season week will be available at 7:00 a.m. (PDT) / 10:00 a.m. (EDT) on Wednesday, May 14. These early season permits are required, non-refundable and non-transferable.
The regularly scheduled Half Dome season will commence Friday, May 23. Permits for the regular season were available through a lottery during the month of March. Approximately 50 permits per day will be available on a daily basis through a two day in advance lottery beginning Wednesday, May 21. Visitors wishing to obtain a permit can make reservations at www.recreation.gov or call 877-444-6777.
The trail to Half Dome from Yosemite Valley is an extremely strenuous hike covering over 17 miles. Hikers gain 4,800 feet of elevation along the trail that passes highlights such as Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall, before reaching the cables on Half Dome’s steep granite shoulder. Metal cables and wooden planks are placed along the steep shoulder of the dome to assist hikers to the summit.
Visitors are advised to take appropriate precautions when planning a hike of this length and difficulty, and to be prepared for changing weather and trail conditions. Thunder and lightning are common occurrences in the High Sierra during the summer and fall seasons. Hikers should not attempt to summit Half Dome when rain or thunderstorms are forecasted and are advised to use extreme caution when the rocks are wet.
Did You Know?
Starting in 1907, the Yosemite Valley Railroad brought passengers bound for Yosemite Valley up the Merced River canyon to El Portal. From there, they would take stagecoaches to the Valley. Some of the old train cars are now on display in El Portal.