The cables will be in place for visitors wishing to climb Half Dome via the shoulder route starting this Friday, May 25th 2012. Permits are required to hike to the top of Half Dome for all visitors.
Visitors are required to have a permit to ascend the Half Dome cables seven days per week. The majority of the permits were distributed through a lottery system that ended in March. However, approximately 50 permits per day are available through a two day in advance lottery. Visitors without a Half Dome permit wishing to hike the cables may enter the lottery two days in advance of their planned day hike by visiting www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. For more information regarding the lottery and the Half Dome cables, please visit www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/halfdome.htm. (NPS)
The should route ascent of Half Dome has become very popular in recent years with thousands of hikers attempting the hike each year. The excessive lines and safety hazards as well as environmental impact led to the implementation of a permit syste on the trails. The trail to Half Dome from Yosemite Valley is an extremely strenuous covering over 17 miles with an elevation gain of 4,800 feet. The trail passes notable landmarks like Vernal Fall, Nevada Fall, Liberty Cap and Little Yosemite Valley before reaching the cables. The cables are metal with wooden planks interspersed.
The shoulder route presents a hazard to hikers during summer thunderstorms. The trail becomes very treacherous and slippery when wet making it difficult to gain footing while climbing the slick granite up the shoulder. Visitors are advised to take appropriate precautions when planning a hike of this length and difficulty, and to be prepared for changing weather and trail conditions. Thunder and lightning are common occurrences in the High Sierra during the summer and fall seasons. Hikers should not attempt to summit Half Dome when rain or thunderstorms are forecasted and are advised to use extreme caution when the rocks are wet.