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Half Dome '04

Original Plan
(devised on the night of Friday June 18th)
Leave Crane Flat camp at 8am and reach Glacier Point by 8:30am-8:45am for the start of the point-to-point hike out to the top of Half Dome and then return to Curry Village. Estimating 4000ft of elevation gain over 17 miles of trail and finishing around 6pm (estimating 10 hours for the trip). Time estimation was based on the typical 7-12 hours it takes normal hikers to finish the climb. That time estimate probably doesn't include water filter stops, swim stops, and the must take the multiple panoramic picture film stops as well. What also isn't factored into that time is that you hike way slower in the dark when you're using flashlights and your toes hurt.

What Actually Happened
(Saturday June 19th)
Got dropped off at Glacier Point around 9:30am and revised completion time estimate to a bit after 7pm. After drop off, there was a bathroom break, gift shop visit, and a panaromac picture stop of the Glacier Point viewpoint. Didn't actually start hiking toward Half Dome until 10:20am. Stopped at the top of the falls along the way to filter water as well as soak the feet. We were a tired but happy bunch that eventually made it to the top of Half Dome by 6pm. After it started to get dark after 9pm, we weren't so happy. As we passed by the backpackers camp, some kind campers offered their fire and food if we wanted to hang out til daybreak but we weren't hurting that much so we decided to push on. Feet got sorer and the trail got rockier as we continued. Using a headlamp to navigate a rock strewn trail that one hasn't traveled before isn't fun--not to mention that moths and other flying insects were attracted to my headlamp lighting the way. Managed to get a spare set of AAs for my light on the way down as well. Eventually, we made it down to Curry Village well past midnight.

After Thoughts
Hanging out at the camp and waiting for daybreak would've been the smarter move. Great workout climb to get to the top for the magnificent views. When we return, we're starting at 6:30am or bringing a serious lighting system with long battery runtime.

Notes for Next Time

  • bring spare headlamp batteries
  • leave earlier (or same time to avoid the crowds at top but remember spare batteries)

Clint's camera shots
Harvey's camera shots

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