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[Yosemite]

No half dome permit :(

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in Yosemite National Park

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No half dome permit :(

Postby Mike Pruce » Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:55 pm

Hi all,

I was unsuccessful in the half dome permit lottery. I applied for the 17th, 18th and 19th of August and got none. I will apply for the 2 day lottery before each of those days, but my question is, if I still don't get one, what are my chances of meeting someone near the sub dome that will have a space on their permit and will let me climb the last section with them?

Thanks a lot.
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Re: No half dome permit :(

Postby balzaccom » Mon Apr 11, 2016 11:48 pm

I can't answer that one. But i can tell you that you will almost certainly meet a ranger at the base who will ask for your permit.

I have noted many times that Clouds Rest is a better hike, with better views, fewer people, no permits. And when you arrive, you are looking down on the people on Half Dome.

Just a thought.
Check out our website and blog at: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home
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Re: No half dome permit :(

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Apr 12, 2016 7:04 am

Mt Hoffman is the geographical center of the park and an easier hike.

Sentinel dome is a two mile hike, only 100 feet lower in elevation, and has a spectacular view.

Mt Conness is a strenuous hike from Saddlebag Lake basin but easier than the crappy crowded 16 mile tourist trek to half dome, WITH BETTER VIEWS.

Expand your horizons- this is a great opportunity, not a disappointment.
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Re: No half dome permit :(

Postby Phil » Tue Apr 12, 2016 8:07 am

I have to agree. There are so many other places that are better. But, if you climb the face, you don't need the permit. A lot less crowds too.
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Re: No half dome permit :(

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Apr 12, 2016 8:11 am

Mt Watkins - easy hike from Olmsted Point, fantastic views of the face of Clouds Rest.

North Dome - eight mile round trip from Porcupine Flat trailhead, AWESOME views of the face of Half Dome.

Top of Yosemite Falls - you're standing on the top of Yosemite Falls, dude!!!

top of El Capitan - more great views of the valley!!!

top of Mt Dana - now you're on the top of the second highest peak in the park, and get the best views of all!

top of Donahue Pass - HEY, you just day hiked the nicest meadows on the planet to the top of an awesome pass.

top of Vogelsang Peak -- AWESOME VIEWS and if you reserve dinner ahead of time you can have dinner at Vogelsang High Sierra Camp before you hike back to the car on some nice downhill trails that aren't loaded side to side, packed end to end with tourists!!!

Seriously, those half dome clowns are losing out...
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Re: No half dome permit :(

Postby Phil » Tue Apr 12, 2016 8:41 am

Or, if all that doesn't sound incredible enough, you could stake out the top of Nevada Falls, hold a $20 out, look for people wearing Tevas and carrying a half liter of bottled water that look like they're about to die, and entice them with the prospects of having the price of a pizza covered back at Curry. You'll have no shortage of candidates that have come to understand by then that it sounded better on paper. And then, if you make it to the cables with permit in hand, you get to wait while the rest of them get over their fear of heights.
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Re: No half dome permit :(

Postby Mike Pruce » Tue Apr 12, 2016 9:34 am

Hi all,
Thanks for all your suggestions I will definitely try some of them out (maybe not scaling the face of half dome!). Hiking half dome is on my bucket list as I was so in awe of it on my last trip to Yosemite. I guess I'll have to cross my fingers for the day lottery!
Or chance my luck and depend on the kindness of strangers en route!

EDIT: you guys really know your stuff! I'm so jealous that you know Yosemite so well.
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Re: No half dome permit :(

Postby SauceCastillo » Tue Apr 12, 2016 1:25 pm

I have never tried to hike to the summit without a permit, but I have run into people asking about an open spot several times down by the two falls. I am guessing you could probably find someone with an open spot if you ask enough people. It is such a difficult hike, I don’t think I would want to chance going to the sub dome without ticket in hand if you are dead set on the summit. There may or may not be someone checking permits. Regardless, you must have a permit to use the cables.

Going up/down the cables when they are loaded to the max with inconsiderate/terrified tourists is UNBELIEVABLY TERRIBLE. I would recommend going out of your way to start very early and beat the clowns.
Good luck.
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Re: No half dome permit :(

Postby Mike Pruce » Wed Apr 13, 2016 9:04 am

Hi SauceCastillo,

I had intended to leave about 5:30 and I'm fairly fit, so would anticipate getting there before 10, I suppose that should mean the cables are fairly quiet. If I get a permit in the day lottery that'll be the plan. Otherwise I'd be happy to wait there for an hour asking everyone if it came to it lol.
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Re: No half dome permit :(

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Apr 13, 2016 9:21 am

Remember that everyone is going to think the same way.

The last time I went, we were there hours before sunrise and found more than a dozen people up there. That was well before permits throttled back the daily hordes, true, but pretty much everyone either reads the book about the Half Dome hike or pretends they are going to get up the cables without a permit by showing up really really early, despite the fact that rangers do shifts at the bottom of the cables 24/7.

You may show up in a freaky lull in traffic. You may end up waiting four hours behind people freaking out and freezing on the middle of the cables. It's a complete gamble. Someone came back and threw in my face "I was the only one up there." What good fortune he had, I've sat on Clouds Rest for a few hours and there was a visible, constant line on the cables over on Half Dome the entire time.

I hated that hike, and I have since found so many other wonderful things to do that I shall never, ever, in a million years, return to Half Dome. Standing in line and tolerating people's lunacy is for front country -- the backcountry is for getting away from it. I don't do bucket list anything, because those things are all tourist attractions, and everyone does them -- 50000 people between May and September, every year for more than 50 years did Half Dome before the permits. Daily average of medical emergencies on that route was 12 - that dropped radically when the permits started. It's still too crowded. People think I'm jaded or something -- sure, I'll own that. Jaded after one trip. I don't like frat parties, either.

There are THOUSANDS of mountains to walk up and the majority of them are better hikes than Half Dome pretends to be. I completely expect they will next want everyone to carry WAG bags to poop in. They should. You cannot walk five feet in any direction off that trail without finding piles of toilet paper. That's what they require at Whitney.

I was part of a search effort for someone who supposedly jumped off it -- there is a ring of trash around the bottom of Half Dome dating back years, decades. People destroyed the few trees growing up there. Habituated squirrels and marmots harass you for food. That isn't wilderness. It's just a rock covered with people.
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Re: No half dome permit :(

Postby Phil » Wed Apr 13, 2016 12:32 pm

AlmostThere wrote:I've sat on Clouds Rest for a few hours and there was a visible, constant line on the cables over on Half Dome the entire time.


We always used to enjoy having lunch up in the rocks below the CR junction up by Sunrise and watch the "ant line" that never ended. We actually brought binoculars just for the occasion. All there was to really say was: "Awesome!!...thank God we're not there!"

Anyone that's ever done it, battled it, watched it, smelled it, wouldn't blame you one bit for being jaded in the least. I just don't get it either.
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Re: No half dome permit :(

Postby Recycling1991 » Fri Apr 15, 2016 7:40 pm

Sorry you did not get the permits. I didn't get the camping spots I wanted this year twice and was quite unhappy. I have not tried to join a group, but I was successful a few years ago with the last minute permits. The rangers are always there, so no going around them.

That said, do you have any flexibility in your dates? Because frankly August is not the nicest season to hike half dome, and it will be super crowded. It's not nice because it's very hot. Later in September will be much more pleasant and the crowds will have thinned out, so your odds are better. Or try and go earlier in the season. There will be crowds, but it won't be as hot.

A comment to all others who say don't worry about half dome, go climb elsewhere, while in theory I agree with you, at this point in time, for many folks, even myself, half dome is like a rite of passage. It's one of those things you can talk about and complain about the crowds, IF you've done it. I did it just before I turned 40 a few years ago to prove to myself that I still could do it, and while it took me much longer than it did when I was 18, I felt good that I still had it in me to do it.

By the way, if you do go, be sure to take the time on the return trip to soak your feet in the Merced. :-)

If you have those days off in Yosemite and end up not getting the half-dome lottery, others have suggested some great hikes. I would go for one of the Tuolumne meadows hikes, as by then, most of the mosquitoes will be dead, and it will be a nice time to be up there. Mt Dana is short, but strenuous, and gives you out-of-this-world views. You can claim you climbed the second highest peak in the park. :-) Saddlebag lake and all the lakes beyond it are an easy walk, again, with some incredible scenery.
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Re: No half dome permit :(

Postby Mike Pruce » Sun Apr 17, 2016 12:18 pm

Recycling1991, thanks for your response.
Unfortunately, as I'm a teacher from England, the times I can visit are limited to my term dates. The summer is the only significant length of time I can have away. So I've got to make do with August. It's a shame really, as the waterfalls aren't at their best and, as you say, there is far greater competition for permits.
I'll definitely check out some of the hikes you've all recommended and I appreciate the help. I'm lucky enough to have 5 days in Yosemite as part of my road trip, so plenty of opportunities with the day lotteries.
Thanks again! Take care.
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Re: No half dome permit :(

Postby weendoggy » Sun May 01, 2016 7:26 am

I agree with others here. I've spent the night on top (well before you couldn't) twice and it was the best thing ever to wake up to nobody. I've also day hiked six times and the last few were a zoo for sure (before permits). I have a friend who WANTS to go to HD and I'm trying to sway him to Clouds Rest, but he hasn't bitten yet. When I took him to NV fall last year I wasn't sure he'd make it. Now he wants to do HD and I've told him, there's other places with better views. He just has a phobia about doing HD. The "ant" trail, paranoid hikers, bitchy hikers, etc. are not for me when in the backcountry. I tend to go off trail as much as possible and try to go where A LOT fewer people are. I understand the want to do HD, but as others have stated, there's so much more there. Good luck whatever you do.
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