"Half Dome is the symbol of Yosemite; its summit the goal of just about everybody who has ever donned a pair of hiking boots. It is a grueling workout, especially if you do it in one day, but if you spend the night in Little Yosemite Valley and tackle the peak first thing the second morning, you'll have a better chance of avoiding the traffic jams that sometimes build up at the base of the cables.
The cables? The last 400 feet are over what feels like nearly vertical (though the angle is probably more like 45 degrees), smooth, exfoliating granite, so a series of horizontal bars about 5 feet apart, flanked by chains with which to pull yourself up are the only way to get there without technical climbing equipment. It sounds scary but is done by kids and grandmas and everybody in between. Because of its popularity, special rules for obtaining wilderness permits to climb it are in effect and are rigorously enforced" Read more
"Some people hike to the summit for the view. Others go to the top just to say they did it. No matter what your reason, it is important to understand that the climb to the top is not for everyone. The final ascent of the dome requires strong arms to pull yourself up a set of near-vertical cables. The exposure is extreme. If you are not comfortable with extreme exposure, do not go." Read more
"The Hike is an extremely strenuous, all-day affair that climbs to the summit of Half Dome from Yosemite Valley. (It is a dramatic extension of Hike 85.) The final stretch to the top is by a cable route so steep that you need to pull yourself up with both arms." Read more
"For many, Half Dome defines the Yosemite landscape; this stunning granite monolith appears in more scrapbooks worldwide than virtually any other peak. Reigning supremely over the valley floor at 8,842 feet, its looming form is unmistakable as it beckons hikers to a lofty 360-degree panorama. On the must-do list of nearly every California hiker, this is a challenging and long journey that features rushing rivers, turbulent waterfalls, and steep granite walls. The hike first ascends past Vernal and Nevada Falls to Little Yosemite Valley, plateaus briefly, then continues rising. The last 400 feet of the climb are the most memorable, as they include the infamous Half Dome cables that carry you up the final exposed pitch. But the real prize is the jaw-dropping view once you arrive, which should help you forget nearly all the pain of this 5,000-foot ascent. Outstanding features: Vernal and Nevada falls, stupendous views of Yosemite Valley, steel cables at top (late May–mid-October; do not attempt hike if cables are down)" Read more
"If I as a first-time visitor were allowed to do only one day hike in the park, I would unquestionably choose this hike—the one that I most associate with Yosemite and on whose summit I’ve sat countless times admiring the surrounding landscape. On a good summer day, 300 hikers attempt this summit, this number dictated by the number of permits made available by the national park, but many turn back, either from exhaustion or from fear.
Indeed, Half Dome is not for acrophobes, klutzes, those out of shape, or those who have bad knees. The hike up Half Dome’s shoulder and its cables is exposed and potentially life-threatening, especially when the rock is wet or thunderstorms threaten. Do not attempt to climb the dome’s shoulder and its cables if weather is threatening because the exposed rock becomes very slippery and a lightning strike is possible." Read more
"This is a brutal point-to-point hike. There are cables to hold onto as you ascend the last 800 feet to the top of Half Dome. These cables are mind-blowing. They ascend the last 800 feet nearly vertically. Most people are exhausted by the time they reach the base of Half Dome, which makes clambering up a daunting task." Read more
"Half Dome may be the Sierra’s most popular backcountry summit. It’s no wonder that it attracts hikers worldwide. Where else do hikers use cables to hike/climb up to a summit? Additionally, this semiloop trip treats you to a close-up of two spectacular waterfalls, Vernal and Nevada. By camping in Little Yosemite Valley, you have a head start on the hordes of dayhikers, who typically impact the cables and crowd the summit in early and midafternoon." Read more
"Rise early and get organized—it helps to lay out your gear the night before. Use your checklist to make sure you don’ t forget anything. Have your breakfast and be on the trail by 6 a.m. A good goal is to arrive at the cables by 11 a.m. to avoid the crowds. An early start will allow you to make this an easy hike at your own pace, resting as you go along. Keep in mind this is a fun hike—not a death march! Remember, your pull up the cables will be much easier if you can zip right up, rather than inching up in traffic." Read more
"Climb 4,800 feet on this classic route to the top of the park’s most iconic peak towering above the valley floor. This is it, people: The most famous chunk of rock in the country and possibly the world. The iconic symbol of Yosemite grandeur, Half Dome just begs to be climbed. The 7-mile route to this granite landmark starts on the crowded Mist Trail, but only 300 people per day are allowed to summit Half Dome (when the cables are up; apply for a permit early). Visitors endure fatigue, altitude sickness, and dehydration in their determination to stand atop Half Dome’s broad 8,836-foot-high crown. Steel cables bolted into the granite assist climbers up the final 400 vertical feet, but the combination of high, open rock and metal fixtures makes this a lousy place to get caught in a thunder-storm." Read more