Sunday, August 5, 2012

Hiking Half Dome

Hello there! Today's post is not stamping related, so feel free to scroll on by if you are not interested in some personal pics. I'll be back first thing Monday morning with a card tutorial. For those of you sticking around, I thought I would share some photos from our hike and explain why I went missing last week. Remember when I hiked Half Dome in Yosemite National Park last year and failed to go the last 400 feet because of my fear of heights? Well, on Monday we went back so I could try it again. We had a bunch of family there, along with our daughter and good friends, Tim and Sue, although not everyone did the big hike.

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.


We started out in the dark at 5:15am. By the time we reached the bottom of Vernal Falls it was light enough to snap this photo. (my husband, Mike took most of these photos).

Starting up the granite steps of Vernal Falls. Some of these steps are as high as my knees, so I'm glad I have my hiking poles.

Finally, we are near the top of Vernal Falls and the route gets a bit easier for a while. 

Then more granite steps as we climb the side of Nevada Falls.


The view of the falls was gorgeous as we began our climb.


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. 


The granite steps of Sub Dome were steeper then I remembered, too!


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.

And up we go. This was near the bottom still before it got really steep. It was very slow going up the cables because there was a big group coming down and a few of the ladies in that group were struggling, to keep their feet from slipping, and panicking. There were some guys with them that were going up and down and leading them along. It was so scary on those cables and having to wait for long periods without moving, while you see someone almost fall, takes the terror level up a notch or two.


Eventually, we made it to the top and it was worth it. It seemed like the view went on forever.

I went over to the place we thought was called the Diving Board, but it turns out it is actually called The Visor. Apparently The Diving Board is some place partway down and only accessible to rock climbers. This is a section of rock that juts out over the side of Half Dome.  I was trying for a jaunty, confident pose, but you'll notice I didn't get too close to the edge.


There are these cairns all over the place on top. It was crazy how big the top is up there. There was a lot to explore.


Everyone is so kind and takes turns taking group photos for one another. Here is our whole group, Tim on the left, next Mike's cousins Lisa and Kim, then Mike and I and another cousin, Jeff, on the right. Lisa and Kim had done the hike before, but it was the first time for Tim and Jeff. I was so happy we all made it to the top.


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. 

We stopped for a rest back at Little Yosemite Valley and the guys in our group saw this bear munching on a pine cone in the river. The girls were a little further downstream, so we missed it, but we all got to see a bear on our drive back to the condo.


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.


Then next day we did some sightseeing. This was near Granite Peak, with Half Dome in the distance.

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! 

30 comments:

June K said...

Very impressive - both the scenery and you all climbing. Thanks for sharing.

Lori said...

You are far braver than I am Theresa but it sure looks like a lot of fun and so beautiful!! Thanks so much for sharing, I really enjoyed it!!

Mary Anne / MA54K said...

You are my hero, girlie! Amazing!

Stampmouse said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing this. I read your blog for the stamping but I am also just committed myself into doing a fundraising hike with team in training next summer and it looks like the hike will be Yosemite so this post was perfect timing. I too have a fear of heights ,when hiking in Zion I only made it as far as scouts landing on the route up to angles landing. It was good to see that even with a fear one can push past and make it. Great job and thanks again.

coloradoleen said...

That looks like an amazing trip! I have to admit though, my fear of heights came out just looking at some of those pics! LOL

scrapperatheart.com said...

Theresa...I already admirer you soooo much in the crafting world and now I admirer your courage....as I to am afraid of heights. Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us...your pictures are gorgeous!

Jennie said...

Wow Theresa....LOVE all of the pictures and definitely a place I would love to see. So glad you we're able to get to the top this time and the hard work certainly paid off with the beautiful views. Looking forward to showing my dh your pics..... :)

Lynn B. said...

What an accomplishment, Theresa. You should be proud of yourself. What great memories you have now.

Marilynn said...

Wow! What an experiance! Impressive and quite the accomplishment. The pictures made my heart flutter- can't imagine what it must have been like to actually be there. Thanks for sharing.

BloomingPink said...

Thanks for sharing your awesome adventure. Aren't ya glad you gave it a second chance! Looked like an incredible day too!

I'm an outdoor rock climber and even looking at those pictures gave me the willies! (I've only done at most 200 ft climbs!)

Being around all those people too would make me nervous because all it takes is one little mistake and.....shudder.

Melissa Cash said...

You are braver than I. I can't imagine ever hiking Half Dome, let alone those dang cables. Can't believe you were in my back yard again and we still didn't get to meet. Someday!

Nancy said...

Oh my, I'm so impressed! Your photos are fabulous, makes me want to go back to Yosemite. I've admired Half Dome from the valley and even hiked to the top of Vernal Falls years ago, but you made some wonderful memories by completing this amazing hike. Kudos to you and your whole group!

naneruth said...

Great pictures and Congratulations! That's for sure too scarey for me but I loved seeing the pictures.

Theresa said...

Congrats. I have done enough hiking in the Rockies to know what you accomplished. Great pics as well.

Kristie said...

What an amazing accomplishment for someone with a fear of heights! You go girl!!

Beautiful scenery and pictures!

Casmiles said...

What an amazing adventure, Theresa! And beautiful pictures too. I hiked Vernal Falls YEARS ago, and that was simple compared to what you did...Very impressive. Thanks for sharing your adventure and the pictures.

MaryH said...

Enjoyed seeing the great pictures. My hat's off to you for making that climb. I got dizzy just looking at some of the photos. When we visited Yosemite some years ago, we watched people doing the climb (or hike). No way! I would be too fearful of the heights, and I would NEVER have gotten on that ladder! They would have had to helicopter me out of there! Bravo for you at being able to control your fear to do something you so obviously wanted to do! And thanks to your photographer...he got some super shots. TFS

Sandy said...

Wow, I enjoyed seeing your pictures and hearing about that hike. I am terrified of heights and going up would be bad, but coming back down would be worse! I can't imagine facing out toward the view coming down that cable. Sure is beautiful country there. I am loving your latest set...the tropical one! I hope you share some more tutorials and cards with that set.

Nancy said...

Wow, Theresa, I'm impressed! What amazing photos but even more of an amazing feat for you to accomplish. I hope you are a scrapbooker and save your amazing photos on amazing pages. (so you can brag about this later! lol).

Thanks for sharing!

scrappinmommom said...

Congratulations!! Mark one off your bucket list, right? When I lived in Colorado we hiked all the time, however, I hated the coming down part. Much easier going up. Quite an accomplishment for you and for your fears. Yeah!!!!!! Thanks for sharing and for the wonderful photos.

Anonymous said...

I totoally enjoyed viewing your hiking pictures and reading about the adventure. Congratulations on your second run making it to the top, something that I don't think I could do (I can't even go from the ladder to my roof without freezing up). The views are breathtaking and I'm sure much more in real life. Thanks for sharing.

Judy Covey

Melanie said...

Terrific pics and details of the adventure! Takes me back to the trip we took there when I was in junior high, right down to the marmot, hee!

Olga said...

No way could I have done that, it's beautiful at the top, but I would have died!!!!

the PaperTemptress said...

Wow Teresa, SPECTACULAR!! I am amazed at your journey! Now I have no fear of heights but have become such a clutz lately that I would have tripped over a cat hair and fallen off the mountain so you aren't going to catch me up there anytime soon but so so so so proud of you (once AGAIN LOL) for doing that! I say that a lot anymore don't I??? Again you go girl!
Patricia
the PaperTemptress

Erica said...

Brave is all I have to say...yup, very BRAVE!

Janine said...

Courage, fitness and an artist. I am very impressed. Great photos too. I am glad you made it - must have been a real personal triumph.

Colleen Holmes said...

Oh wow! The photo's are awesome and I give you a lot of credit for this adventure! I used to rappel but you always had a rope around you:)and I know I couldn't do this! Sweet!! TFS!

SandyK said...

Thanks for sharing your photos and story. The photos and scenery was amazing. I'm glad you were able to concur your fear of heights to go to the top.

CrafteA said...

TFS! The pics are AWESOME!

Ann R. said...

Way to go! I hiked from the Valley to about one-third up Half Dome and turned around. I'm afraid of heights, too. And I'm still mad at myself (went seven years ago)for not finishing it. Not sure I'll ever make it up there again. Glad you had the chance to have a do-over and complete it! Photos are gorgeous. Yosemite is a wonderful place!