A couple of weeks ago we hiked Half Dome in Yosemite for the second time. Despite it being a hard slog it’s a really enjoyable hike with some amazing scenery and a daredevil adventure in the middle.
If you’re thinking of hiking Half Dome I’d highly recommend reading One best hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome by Rick Deutsch. It really helped us prepare.
In addition to his advice, here are our quick tips on hiking Half Dome.
- Get a permit – you must have a permit. Join the lottery to be in with a chance of permits in advance
- Book accommodation – you’ll want to stay in the park close to the trailhead the night before. We stay in Curry Village
- Practise – this is a long, steep and potentially hot hike. You should really try to hike some steep hikes in the months and weeks running up to this hike to get ready
- Eat and hydrate – the days leading up to your hike make sure you are eating well and hydrating
- Prepare – the night before the hike prepare your bag and be ready to go when you get up
- Sleep well – try to sleep early because…
- Start early – the first time we hiked this we started at 6 am, this time we started at 4.30 am! We are not morning people. Start early so you can get the ascent done in the cool and the dome done before the crowds. Believe me you’ll be happy you got up in the dark
- Park closeby – there is a wilderness parking lot after Curry Village with bear boxes. It’s closer to the trailhead. In the morning you might not care but on the way back you’ll be relieved to see the car
- Use walking sticks – they really help on subdome and on the way down. Love your knees
- Don’t look down – if you are afraid of heights, when you start the climb up subdome don’t look down. Save that for the way back
- Rest before the main event – don’t rush up the dome. Catch your breath, have a snack, be calm and then go
- Clip in – having done this with and without a Via Ferrata I certainly know that clipping in makes this a much more pleasant experience. If you can get hold of a harness I’d highly recommend it
- Go slow – it’s not a race. Maintain 3 points of contact on the dome. Be sure about your footing. Breathe and relax
- Don’t run down – again, love your knees and take it slow on the descent back to the valley
- Swim – your muscles will ache when you reach the bottom. Find a safe spot and have a quick dip in the Merced River to cool off, clean and reduce swelling in your muscles
That’s it. Good luck. And well done!