Ever since we saw Half Dome for the first time, we knew we would do anything to try to reach its top!
A steep, almost vertical wall of Half Dome seems unreachable!! The Half Dome top (2693 meters above sea level) remained unavailable for people until 70s of XIX. Today, the 13-km long trail is well-maintained and can be hiked by any average fitness level mountain-lover.
Before you reach the summit…
If you want to reach the Half Dome top, you need to climb the cables. To do so, you should obtain a permit from the National Park Service. Due to safety reasons, there is a limited number of people that can reach the summit per day, and it’s only 400 people. The conditions are difficult and there have been people who died while climbing the cables that’s why it’s very important to be careful and hike in good weather conditions, only! You can apply for the permin on-line on a Yosemite’s Park website a long time in advance, or try your luck and get a permit early in the morning, the day before. There’s a small number of permits available on last notice, as well. You may get a fine if you try to hike without approval.
We started the hike at midnight…
We started the hike around midnight in order to reach the Half Dome top to admire the sunrise. The trail goes up and up, sometimes very steep, and sometimes just through the forest. Since we hiked at night, we couldn’t see the Valley and the beauty of the park on our way up. We only could hear the sound of the water, stream and waterfalls around. Once we got closer to the summit, the trail became much more difficult and steep. We could only imagine by listenig to the wind how high we actually are. Before we reached the cables, we climbed the stairs for about 2 hours and that part of the hike was quite demanding! After that, we “only” had to climb the cables. Before you start your last ascent, you can “borrow” the gloves that lie just at the beginning of the cable-trail. It’s a very good idea to use them as you hold yourself very tight to the lines while slowly moving towards the top. To be honest, it is a scary part. We did it in a team and we all had the same impressions. It was well worth it, though!
The California’s sky is amazing, especially in August. We could see the meteor’s shower going crazy while we were climbing the Half Dome. We had to pay attention to the cables but the whole scenery was just breathtaking!
Take some warm clothes to wear once you reach the summit. It’s very windy and you’ll be wet after the intensive hike! The whole way up took us around 6 hours. We made it in time to see the spectacular sunrise. We could finally see the awe-inspiring, extraordinary Valley that surrounds you from every angle. You can take some incredible photos while sitting on the edge with toes hanging just above the abyss. No worries, it’s pretty solid, and a picture on a top is a must for everyone who conquered this majestic rock formation!
Sadly, it’s time to start our way down. First, you need to make it to the bottom of the cables. Then, it’s getting a bit easier yet it’s steep almost all the way down. Now we can truly admire the beauty around us. Waterfalls, rainbows, mist in the air with the sunshine. Something we will never forget! The last part of the hike down it called the “Mist Trail. You continue your walk along the river and there are 2 stunning waterfalls to enjoy: Nevada and Vernal. Wonderful!
To sum up, it’s the adventure of a life time to hike Half Dome and the beauty of Yosemite is one of the finnest on the planet!