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[Yosemite]

Help- Confused about overnight camping for Half Dome hike

Discussion about hiking to the top of Half Dome, planning the trip, and when the Half Dome cables are installed in Spring or removed in Fall.

Moderators: Wickett, dan

Help- Confused about overnight camping for Half Dome hike

Postby stripgaga » Tue May 29, 2012 7:46 pm

So my friends and I have a permit to hike half dome on July 11th and we planned on doing it in a day but now they're telling me we should do an overnight camp and do the hike in two days. I am extremely confused on how wilderness camping is possible on the way to half dome. So if I am hiking to half dome and want to camp in LYV, I need a permit reservation for the happy isles to LYV trailhead where then no reservation is required to actually camp in LYV, correct? And from what I'm reading on the wilderness regulations (http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildregs.htm), camping in dispersed wilderness is an option, such as it says I could camp at least at Moraine Dome or two miles from LYV. From reading the Half dome and LYV valley section (http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/lyv.htm), it says wilderness permits are needed for the trailheads to lead to LYV. So if I were to camp outside of LYV at Moraine Dome for example, what exactly would I need? If I'm not camping at LYV, I still need a wilderness permit for the trailhead or to simply camp outside of a site?

I'm just really confused on what the wildnerness permit actually is and what it's used for. Because it says it's used for camping in the wilderness, but then it says you need to reserve trailheads. I understand that the Isles to LYV trailhead is already filled up and any permit that I didn't reserve and needed to is probably done already. My question is what exactly is a wilderness permit used for and how could camping on the way to Half Dome be possible now?
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Re: Help- Confused about overnight camping for Half Dome hik

Postby AlmostThere » Tue May 29, 2012 8:29 pm

A wilderness permit is for backpacking. If you get a wilderness permit and Half Dome is in the neighborhood of your trip, you can get it stamped with a Half Dome permit, no problem, no fee. Wilderness permits are not the same as the day hike permit for Half Dome.

Usually, with a wilderness permit, you can do what is called dispersed camping - pick a spot in the wilderness and set up your tent. Yosemite has such great numbers of people using particular areas of the park that they have no camping zones, and in some places like Little Yosemite Valley where there are designated campsites. There is no fee to use the campsites but you are required to stay there to minimize the wear and tear on the surrounding wilderness area.

There is a set number of people that can start from a trailhead per day. You enter on the date on your permit, NO other day, no matter what - otherwise it is the same as having no permit at all and you will be fined if caught entering on a different day. The permit system keeps the wilderness from becoming as much of a zoo as Yosemite Valley, and attempts to keep the wilderness wild as possible.

75% of the permits are reservable and the rest are available on a first come, first serve basis the DAY BEFORE your starting day. They release unclaimed reserved permits on the DAY OF the permit reservation - meaning if you can't get a walk in the day before you want to start, you have a second chance the day you want to start by showing up at the wilderness office and hanging out until unclaimed permits are released. These details and times are all listed on the Yosemite wilderness permit page.

You do not stay overnight anywhere in the wilderness without a permit and a bear canister from the approved list. In LYV, there are bear lockers, and if you are ONLY staying there and nowhere else, you can use those instead of a bear can. If you want to go farther up the trail out of LYV to camp you MUST MUST MUST have a bear can and all your food and trash MUST fit in it, as well as lotions, lip balm, toothpaste and anything else that you ingest or put on your skin.

Your day hike permit will be useless to you if you get a wilderness permit instead. Your wilderness permit will need to be either a HI - passthrough to Sunrise or a HI - passthrough to Merced Lake if you do not get HI - LYV. You could probably get water and carry it all the way up toward Half Dome, and camp along the trail beyond the two mile limit out of LYV - there is no water source other than a spring that some people have difficulty finding along the trail to Half Dome. You cannot camp on Half Dome itself and should be at least 50 feet off the trail.
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Re: Help- Confused about overnight camping for Half Dome hik

Postby stripgaga » Wed May 30, 2012 10:42 am

Thanks for all that information. So it seems like I would need those permits of HI-wherever only IF I want to camp on the way up to the half dome correct? According to this page (http://www.yosemiteconservancystore.com ... sPage2.htm) that shows which dates are all reserved, my date during July is all out, which I understand.

So what does all these trailheads being reserved mean for me? That I can't camp in LYV or the wilderness without this permit unless I stand in line at whatever station to get an unclaimed permit? And if I understand this correctly, in ORDER to camp in the "wilderness," you NEED these trailhead permits so you can camp close to the trail and not just anywhere?
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Re: Help- Confused about overnight camping for Half Dome hik

Postby AlmostThere » Wed May 30, 2012 11:08 am

You need a permit to backpack (overnight camp) anywhere in the wilderness. It is tied to a trailhead . There are a limited number of trailheads that make sense to get to the half dome area for a one night trip. All of them will be booked up due to so you may be looking at a walk in, or a day hike with the permit you have. Look at a map and consider also glacier point, mono meadows, sunrise, cathedral, and trailheads out of tuolumne meadows. If you can add a day or two to the trip there are other options.
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Re: Help- Confused about overnight camping for Half Dome hik

Postby stripgaga » Wed May 30, 2012 11:55 am

I'm gonna be there for a week so adding a day is something we're looking into, but I just don't how to go about it. What are my other options if we add time?
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Re: Help- Confused about overnight camping for Half Dome hik

Postby AlmostThere » Thu May 31, 2012 6:55 am

I listed a few trailheads above.

Go to http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/trailheads.htm

Get a Map.

Start looking up trailheads from Tioga Road and Glacier Point area.

Calculate miles from each.

Decide how many miles you want to go per day. If you are okay with a very short first day, starting from Glacier Point or Mono Meadow will put you in campsites up Ilillouette Creek, since that is where legal camping is - no camping on Panorama trail or Mist/JMT until you get to LYV.

Once you have a list of routes from various trailheads, you order them by your preference. Take the list to the wilderness office when you try to get a walk in permit. Work down the list with the ranger until you get permits.

You and hundreds of other people are doing this every year trying to get to the top of Half Dome. They are all doing the same thing. Good luck.
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Re: Help- Confused about overnight camping for Half Dome hik

Postby nancykarr » Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:05 pm

I started out June 1st trying to plan a vacation in Yosemite. Realized soon that it would be Hetch hetchy or a wilderness permit. Here is the website that was the most helpful, sent to me by the Wilderness office after I made my first mistake. http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildpermits.htm
Check out the link for available trailheads, and make sure you note there is more than one page.

We picked Glacier to Illilouette the second try, and got our first choice on dates. We heard back by email within a day after we faxed in our permit request. We have reserved a bus from the valley up to glacier, for all 4 of us. But I did see from another posting, that they drive to Glacier, and at the end of the hike, just send one person up on the bus to get the car. That would be only $25, rather than the $100 it cost us, so may be a very good option also.

With this, you will need to just mention when you pick up the permit, that you want to climb halfdome, and they will give you a permit to climb half dome. The good thing about this way, is there is no set date, and if there is bad weather or hiker fatigue one day, we have the option to wait until the next day.
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Re: Help- Confused about overnight camping for Half Dome hik

Postby stripgaga » Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:34 am

All that you said I think I understand. But the main problem is I had this trip planned back in February or March when I made the reservation but my friends and I initially planned on hiking half dome in one day so I was just seeing what my options would be if we were to hike overnight but what I have read on this post and from that reservation page shows the date I'm going as totally reserved for Happy Isles to LYV. That would be the easiest since it would only be one overnight stay but most of our trip is only including our checkin/out time is only a few days so I want to be able to see other parts than just do hike the whole time.

But did you try faxing them your permit request after you saw that the trailheads were all reserved or not?
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Re: Help- Confused about overnight camping for Half Dome hik

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:15 am

No day is "totally reserved". There are some permits that they hold for walk ins.

You must walk in the day BEFORE you want to start hiking and be first or second in line to be sure of getting walkins for the following day. If you fail to get a permit that way, you can hang out and try to get an abandoned permit (reserved permits are not always picked up, and those are released as walkins an hour after the walk ins are handed out) for the SAME day.

Reserved permits must be picked up by a certain time on the day the permit is good for. If people don't pick it up and do not call to ask them to hold them later, those permits are given away.

Please go read the Yosemite pages for a full explanation of this. It's very clear and tells you what time you need to be there for walk ins. You should get there 4-5 hours before and be ready to stand in line that entire time (best to have two people in line, so one of you is there while the other one goes for snacks, to the restroom, etc.)
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Re: Help- Confused about overnight camping for Half Dome hik

Postby nancykarr » Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:42 am

I was not able to find an entrance that could stay the first night in Little Yosemite area, but was not looking real hard for one either, as we were planning a three day backpack trip. I just looked on the list, found that the day "10" was not on the list, and asked to enter on the 10th. I would rather take an extra day camping up in the wilderness rather than half a day waiting in line any day.
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