in may of 2009, our friend jonathan decided to plan a trip to yosemite to hike up half dome. the time finally came around and six of us took a friday off and camped in the north pines campsite and eventually made our way up.
i’d never actually been to yosemite before and it had been a long time since i’d done any proper camping. it was so fun, and the park was amazingly beautiful in every way. on our first night, galen grilled up some steaks and veggie packets and corn. we had a large delicious meal before packing it up and going to bed early.
the next day we woke up at 6:30am and had another sizeable meal, and headed off on a 4-5 hour hike to the half dome site.
i won’t try to trivialize the hike. thousands of people do it every year. you start at a high elevation, and you go higher (a gain of 4800ft). you hike through the woods, up over two waterfalls, and up large rock steps for hours. then you can see the half dome site. that means you must again climb the last very steep rock steps up to the rock face. at that point, you need to make a go-or-no-go decision to actually scale the rock face.
at the base of the rock face there is a pile of gloves. you put on a fairly well matched pair because you will be slowly ascending the rock using cables that have been installed on the rock. it’s slow, because people are taking their time, or taking a break, or panicking and turning around and descending. it can take 20-25 minutes to get up there if you decide to go up the “outside” of the cables, or over an hour if you decide to stay within the cables like most folks.
once you are up the rock face, you are at the top of yosemite national park, 8842ft elevation. you have a panoramic view of the valley, and a chance to relax with everybody else who has made it to the top. i was so exhausted and breathing such thin air, that i was wheezing at first until i relaxed a bit. at several points along the hike, i didn’t think i could make it and was formulating back-out plans in my head. i’m so glad i pushed forth and went all the way. in light of foot/hip problems i’ve been dealing with over the past couple years, i feel very accomplished having done this.
at the top of half dome, you are cooling off from the breeze and taking in one of the most amazing sights i have personally seen. the bad news is, you have another 5 hours to hike back and are racing to get back to your camp site before it gets dark. i paused along the way back, wondering how the hell did i go *up* all of this??
hiking half dome was quite awesome and i’m so glad i did it.
- 2 litres of water is not enough for this hike. filtering fresh water to replenish your store should be done
- eating a granny smith apple on the way down was AMAZING
- if i were doing it again, i would start the hike much earlier and before sunrise.
- having a good flashlight is essential for the trip back
all images were shot on arista premium 400 at iso 6400, developed in rodinal 1+50 for 45 minutes. shot with a widelux f7.