In the photo above (taken from across the valley) you can see Half Dome peeking up in the center. Down in the lower right corner is Vernal Falls (you can click on the photo to see it better). We started down there below Vernal and headed up the side of it, then over to the right center you can see Nevada Falls where we also went up. We then passed behind that lower peak on the right and through the valley to approach Half Dome from behind.
Finally, we are near the top of Vernal Falls and the route gets a bit easier for a while.
As we passed Nevada Falls, we entered Little Yosemite Valley, the only easy section of the hike, and started glimpsing the top of Half Dome. Still a long way to go.
As we hiked up, out of Little Yosemite Valley, the vistas began to open up and the view was spectacular.
As we began the climb up Sub Dome, we got our first good view of the cable ascent on Half Dome. It was steeper than I remembered.
Eventually, the steps ran out and we had to scramble our way across the granite.
Then we reached the saddle area between Sub Dome and Half Dome. Here we took a short break to drink some water and leave our backpacks and poles behind. Mike's cousin had borrowed some safety harnesses for us, so several of us got those all strapped on. I was the only one that actually clipped in during the climb. The others were brave enough to make the climb without clipping in, but my fear of heights was kicking in big time by now.
Eventually, we made it to the top and it was worth it. It seemed like the view went on forever.
Another of Mike's photos. There are several rodents that seem to live on top of Half Dome. This fat little marmot was kind enough to pose for the cameral. I think he needs a caption. The first thing I thought of was, "I'm sexy and I know it." Any ideas?
In addition to marmots, there were chipmunks and some kind of squirrel called a chicory or something like that. They were all quite aggressive in trying to steal food. One even chewed into Jeff's pack that we left sitting below.
Time to head back down. I went down backwards, so I would be facing the rock rather than looking out. It went a lot faster going down than up, although it was a little scarier. Going down Sub Dome was pretty scary, too.
When we got back to Nevada Falls, we took a more gentle, but longer route down, on the John Muir Trail. Mike took this photo looking back. There are Nevada Falls on the right. The peak in the foreground is the one we hiked around and Half Dome is the distant one on the left.
A few trail facts… The round trip from from the trail head was around 17 miles, but from our car was 19 miles. The elevation gain was 4800 feet and the cummulative elevation gain was over 5200 feet. There were over 300 granite steps. From start to finish we took nearly 13 hours.
Thanks for letting me share. I'll be back tomorrow with a card. I hope you are enjoying your weekend!