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how fast are First come first serve permits taken, Half Dome

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Re: how fast are First come first serve permits taken, Half

Postby Tyler200 » Wed Jul 04, 2018 3:33 pm

Hi again Phil, i've been looking at your suggestions for which trail we should do for our trip and i'm really liking your idea of starting at Tuolomne Meadows, stopping by cathedral point and working down past sunrise lakes to clouds rest. Maybe doing a loop heading back around via the JMT or a larger loop via Merced lake and going back north.

You now have me a bit worried with altitude sickness, which is a good thing because I know in advanced now.

How would you recommend acclamation to the higher elevations esspessaly at Tuolumne Meadows. I'll be there from a Sun-Sunday. (August 12-19) reading online it can take some time to get used to the thinner air.

I like the idea of heading south from T-Meadows but worried that starting there first thing at 8,000 Ft could be a problem. What would you do?
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Re: how fast are First come first serve permits taken, Half

Postby Phil » Wed Jul 04, 2018 6:41 pm

Hi Tyler. Happy 4th.

Didn't mean to get you worried, but it's sometimes a factor for some people. For most that are going to have a problem it begins to kick in at about 8000+ ft. If and when it comes, it comes in different ways and at varying degrees of severity. Rule #1 is just to get to a lower altitude ASAP. You should start feeling better pretty much almost immediately. Symptoms can be anything from general lethargy and nausea, shortness of breath when at rest, headache, sleeplessness, flu-like symptoms, poor judgment...all the way up to AMS and death (don't let that freak you out, just what can happen). On the route, most mountaineers believe in climbing high, sleeping low. Time is your friend, which is why you see climbers spending several months at some place like Everest base camp; going up, coming down, going higher, coming back down.....That's on the extreme end, but basic theories and practices for acclimating are the same and a lot simpler since your route never goes much past 10k if you do the entire big loop. You might feel a little bad initially, but that elevation is easy enough for almost everyone.

Mild exertion, rest up, day hike higher, return to a lower camp (the Tuolumne Meadows area is actually perfect for this), stay hydrated, move slowly, take altitude gains progressively: a couple nights at Tuolumne, another at Cathedral Lake, another up around Sunrise Lakes or near CR (what you're planning to do anyhow), you should be good for the rest of the trip. Spend a few days at higher altitudes getting your body used to the lower oxygen levels. Even if it's spending the day before your hike in Tuolumne, great, that helps, but 3 days would be better. But really, do a few simple things in whatever way you can, but start your trip up there and be better for it. If you or someone else with you starts having problems, don't be selfish or stupid (take your collective inventories without ego or regard for the group's original plan and a schedule that has to now be altered), and either stop for a bit or even be willing to pull the plug and come back down. If you're still really worried about it, hit your doctor up for some Diamox (acetazolamide) and start taking it a few days ahead of time.

And if you do want to be worried, have a look at the topo lines on your map and closely study the climb up Lewis Creek from Merced Lake to Vogelsang. Amazing area that you really should try to get to, but if you don't sleep well when you get to the top, you should probably figure something's not quite right.

But yeah, don't sweat this stuff too much. Enjoy TM. I would. And more people should be asking what Phil would do. :roll: Would you mind emailing my GF and children about that?
Phil
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Re: how fast are First come first serve permits taken, Half

Postby Tyler200 » Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:42 am

Hahahaha anytime :lol: alright sounds good thank you for the help. I'm not extremely worried but its just one more thing that could go south so it's good that I know and prepare for it as well as knowing how to combat it if it does.

Here is an interesting question

If I were to secure a wilderness permit at TM and that would cover me for the wilderness extended down by clouds rest, merced lake, sunrise lakes etc. Would I technically be able to drive back down to the valley. (assuming altitude sickness was a problem) and then start the hike from Happy isles or near that, AS LONG AS I camped in the wilderness that my permit would have covered me for anyway If I would have started at TM. such as passed clouds rest and up?
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Re: how fast are First come first serve permits taken, Half

Postby Phil » Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:36 am

Tyler200 wrote:Here is an interesting question

If I were to secure a wilderness permit at TM and that would cover me for the wilderness extended down by clouds rest, merced lake, sunrise lakes etc. Would I technically be able to drive back down to the valley. (assuming altitude sickness was a problem) and then start the hike from Happy isles or near that, AS LONG AS I camped in the wilderness that my permit would have covered me for anyway If I would have started at TM. such as passed clouds rest and up?


Absolutely not! Your entry trailhead is the only one that's legal for you to be coming in on. That's the point of the quota system as it applies to the Wilderness Act and specific trail impacts. Once you're in the wilderness, you're free to travel within it and exit almost wherever and whenever it suits you, but if you leave it, ie: go to the store, walk along the road to reach another area that you aren't authorized for (as opposed to just crossing the road to continue your trip), or get in the car, on the shuttle, hitch a ride...you void your permit, and you then need to reapply for a new one. If they catch you, they'll cite you and escort you out...and along with illegal fires and improper food storage, this is one of the main things the wilderness rangers are looking for. And the JMT out of the valley at Happy Isles and trails out of TM are where they like to hang out most often.

If you do happen get some of the more minor symptoms of AS, my advice would be to stop there, sit around, sleep, hydrate heavily, then see where you stand. If it's bad, go back down to a lower altitude.
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Re: how fast are First come first serve permits taken, Half

Postby Tyler200 » Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:03 am

Haha, alright understood
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