Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Half Dome pt 2

We reached the top of Nevada Falls around 10:00 a.m. Nevada Falls is the second waterfall on the Mist trail, appx. 2 miles up from Emerald Pool. The path consists of steep stairs, and took us almost 2 hours to climb. Nevada Falls is a great place to eat lunch and fill your water bottles. Do not forget to filter your water. There is bacteria (and virus) in the waters.
The next part of the climb to Half Dome consists of 2.5 miles of relative flat, hot walking around the back of the granite dome, in an area called Little Yosemite Valley. There is a high camp here, and is the base for most hikers who plan on summiting Half Dome. We did not have enough vacation time to consider this option, but it is advisable to hike to this mid-point, camp, and summit the next morning. This method makes for a cooler hike (it was 36c, and add altitude, we were huffing and puffing, breathing hard) and also takes into account fast weather changes. Lighting loves to hit the top of peaks, and summer squalls move in fast. After this relatively boring section of the hike, a fork appears in the trail. Take the left and you will now know pain. For 2 more miles we hiked to the base of th sub-dome, struggling with elevation and heat.
Do not let this photo fool you. This benign scene does not do the next 2 hours of hiking justice. If you have a permit, you are now going to climb up an exposed vertical face, with 200 other people. Fear of falling and lightning, heat exaustion, and elevation is your companion. I went up a little, and decided that taking a nap would be better. Andrea took my leather gloves, gave me her extra gear, and summited. She is one of the dots in the next photo.

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