Half Dome


The stars aligned a few weeks ago when I got an email from my friend Jameson asking if I wanted to hike Half Dome.  Melissa’s is in SLC this weekend, so the timing could not have been better.  I finished packing after work on Friday, picked Jameson up at 7:30 and we were off.  We drove through the night and finally made it to the trailhead around one o’clock in the morning.  We definitely took our time driving, but we were in no hurry.

The hike itself was pretty brutal, mostly because it was steep and rocky and Jameson was feeling a little sick.  We hiked with headlamps despite the nearly full moon. We were too deep in the trees to hike by moonlight.  The trees also did a number on my GPS reception, so I couldn’t record the lower part of the hike.

The thin air started to get to me as we made the final approach.  I live at sea level, so 7,000 feet is rough on my lungs.  We dragged ourselves to the base of the dome just as the sun broke over the mountains and lit up the the summit.

We eventually struggled up the cables in our oxygen-deprived state and discovered that the top of the dome had been overtaken by hippies.  Aren’t hippies supposed to spurn physical exertion?  Why did they bring up the bongo drums?  Why is some guy playing his hippie tunes on battery powered speakers?  Why aren’t the women wearing bras?  These were just a few of the question running through my head as we unfurled our sleeping bags and started into a two hour nap.

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The sun got hotter and hotter on the top of the dome until I couldn’t take it any longer and had to get out of the sleeping bag.  We had to get down eventually, so we took our time packing up and started down the cables.  Those cables are STEEP! Some lady at the bottom asked us to take a survey about the cables experience to help out “our park.”  I liked how she made the park ours.  Whoever wrote the survey seemed set on gaining popular support for more park rangers on top and more regulation to keep crowds  of people from crowding up the cables.  I understand the need to keep the cables safe and uncrowded, but they don’t need permits and rangers and time limits.  People just need a sign at the bottom telling them to keep plenty of space between climbers or someone might just fall off and die.

We actually ran out of water midway through the descent.  Jameson had the forethought to pack a water purifier, so we were ok.  I have a feeling that lot of the people we passed were heading straight for dehydration with their lousy water supplies.  We hiked up ahead of the 90 degree heat, and I still had no problem burning through my 100 ounce Camelback.  Thank you Jameson for keeping me hydrated.

We finally stumbled past the hordes of Yosemite tourists around three pm and took off.  I desperately wanted to take a shower and get some sleep, but I had to settle for a half hour nap to keep my eyelids open for the ride home.  We rolled in around 8 pm, over 24 hours after I pulled into Jameson’s driveway.

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    1. Nicholas says:

      You look a lot like your dad!

    2. Melissa says:

      How big was the epicenter of the drum circle?

    3. Matt says:

      Looks like a rad trip. Couldn’t have got this figured out a few weeks ago?

      You do look a lot like your dad.

    4. Angie says:

      Haha. This post makes me never want to hike the dome. Ever ever.

      But I bet the smell of patchouli was pleasant at that altitude, no?

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