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Tenaya Lake > Clouds Rest > Half Dome > Happy Isles

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

Tenaya Lake > Clouds Rest > Half Dome > Happy Isles

Postby hiker1234 » Thu Feb 18, 2016 4:32 pm

Thinking of doing this route in the summer, is this is 3 day route or a 2 day route?

Thinking of taking the shuttle from Happy Isles to Tenaya Lake, going up to Clouds Rest and staying at Sunrise Creek camp on Day 1.
Day 2 - Half dome, and then coming down to Happy Isles.

Also, any tips on camping, water supply, how much food, would be really helpful!

Thanks!
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Re: Tenaya Lake > Clouds Rest > Half Dome > Happy Isles

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Feb 19, 2016 12:07 pm

It depends. I know people who have done that in a single day. You know how well you do at higher elevations with a backpack on, I hope, because it is definitely a subjective and individual thing. Food is, too. Some people subsist on a granola bar per meal, others bring full meals for every meal. You will want to be absolutely certain that your food, hygiene items, and any trash associated with either will ALL fit in the bear canister you will be carrying to keep the Bears from getting any of it.

There is no shuttle that goes from the valley to Tenaya Lake - you will need to reserve tickets for the hiker bus, if the new concessionaire continues to provide that service, or bring money for the YARTS bus that goes over Tioga Pass each day.

You need to decide when you are going - the cables do not go up until Memorial Day, usually, and later if there is still ice and snow. And Tioga Road will open when it is plowed and free of rock/tree fall, and that will be possibly June at the earliest -- but does not mean that the trails will also be free of snow. Your intending starting point will mean crossing the outlet of the lake, which can be a deep wading experience when snowmelt is going full blast. And you will need to jump, not walk, JUMP on the full trailheads page and figure out if you still have a chance at reserving permits if you do not want to chance walk in permits being unavailable -- and on that permit you will need to indicate that you want a Half Dome permit along with the wilderness permit -- for overnight trips you don't enter the same lottery as the day hikers trying to do Half Dome.

Instructions here: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wpres.htm
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Re: Tenaya Lake > Clouds Rest > Half Dome > Happy Isles

Postby hiker1234 » Fri Feb 19, 2016 3:25 pm

Thanks so much, really helpful!
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Re: Tenaya Lake > Clouds Rest > Half Dome > Happy Isles

Postby SauceCastillo » Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:41 am

If you leave from the valley on the bus, you will not be able to get a real early start, but you could make it to Sunrise Creek, assuming you are a fast hiker. When you leave Tenaya Lake, you will hike a few miles in then hit a series of switchbacks. At the top, you will then drop into a valley that has a pond and a few streams where you can take water. This is the last place to take water until you get down to the other side of Clouds. Stock up, as you will still need to climb a ~10,000 foot mountain then descend down the west side. If it is a hot day, you will consume a lot of water, especially on the shade-less portions near the summit of Clouds.

The worst part of Half Dome is the crowds on the cables. If you can get an early start in the morning and beat the day hikers, it will pay dividends. Bring enough water to get you up then back to your camp.

Most of the reservation type wilderness permits are sold out for that trailhead, but there are a few days still open in June. You can still try for a walk up permit any day, depending on your flexibility. Otherwise you need to start faxing for a date in mid-August at the earliest. September is a good month to go.
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