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#21434 - 02/13/12 12:31 PM Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome [Re: wagga]
Jonishiker Offline


Registered: 02/06/12
Posts: 30
Loc: Socal,US
When my family lived near Yosemite I was lucky enough to take my pre-teen nephews and nieces,one at a time up that difficult climb from 5 different approaches.There is no easy way up! But I was lucky enough 2 times to be on top with nobody else on the rock. We have sat on the visor with our lunch while the snow patches cooled our blistered feet. I have tons of technical rock climbing experience but there is nothing as slick and slippery as the Yosemite granite not to mention the pucker factor of climbing anywhere in that valley. Unfortunately if they were to take the cables down (and out) completely I believe the book of the dead kept at the ranger station would double in no time.
Unlike some of the postings of wild solo climbs, "John Backer" actually came up behind me on the Apron and quietly asked me if he could pass on the 5th pitch of a 3000ft.5.10 climb.He was a great solo climber and unfortunately, he is no longer alive.
I don't like the cables but they do save lives and give many people an experience they will never forget.
_________________________
"If you don't have a strategy, you're part of someone else's strategy."
-- Alvin Toffler

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#21435 - 02/13/12 01:03 PM Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome [Re: CaliHawk]
CaT Offline


Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 694
Loc: Blacklick, OH (formerly SoCal)
CaliHawk -- Very well put. You made many good points in a discussion that is too often contentious, has valid points on both sides, and is difficult to put into words. In addition to the comment that drew Steve's enthusiasm, I also particularly appreciated -- "I see it as a minor sacrifice for a greater good."

We cannot hope to help others appreciate the beauty and wonder we already know, if they cannot experience it for themselves -- just hopefully not all at the same time.

CaT
_________________________
If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracle of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.
- Lyndon Johnson, on signing the Wilderness Act into law (1964)

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#21438 - 02/13/12 01:23 PM Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome [Re: CaT]
LJB Offline


Registered: 02/10/12
Posts: 4
Loc: California
I really don't understand limiting the number of people who can use these trails. There are 1000's of miles of trails in the sierras, why is it a problem if a very tiny number of them are heavily used?

The HD cables may be a special situation, but I really don't see the harm if 300+ people hike Whitney in the same day.

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#21559 - 02/21/12 04:56 PM Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome [Re: wagga]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles

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#21560 - 02/21/12 08:42 PM Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome [Re: Ken]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7871
Loc: Fresno, CA
Each person has his own limit for what he fears. I certainly hope Yosemite isn't trying to limit access just because a few people don't cling to the cables.

                   

                                       

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#21561 - 02/21/12 09:29 PM Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome [Re: Steve C]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
C'mon, you know that was not the point of posting the video.

The quotas went into effect because people fall into the herd mentality, thus, rather than 1,200 people spacing themselves out throughout the day (if this is possible as a day hike?), it seems like they all went up at the same time over a 3 hour span. Within the crush of the herd, also came the rise of the occasional bad judgement quotient, and from that bad judgement culminated the year of 2009 with its staggering spike of incident reports/fatalities/rescue costs. This is the USA; I am sure that along with many of the "incidents" came the accompanying litigation$.

Unfortunately, now it will be 300 people going up all at once, and the rest of the time, the cables will be virtually empty.
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#21613 - 02/25/12 03:51 AM Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome [Re: LJB]
lori2000 Offline


Registered: 02/16/12
Posts: 3
Loc: central California
I understand the limits completely and fully support them.

Fewer injuries on that hike mean fewer taxpayer dollars spent rescuing fools and unfortunates from it. And fewer deaths. The real death toll for Half Dome is much higher if you include all the people who died on the trail heading for it. 70+ people dead, a dozen per day injured, all because people think this is something they NEED to do. The permits have cut the daily injury rate down significantly.

The sense of entitlement surrounding the cables flabbergasts me. I would not be surprised if the park ends up ripping them off the dome. They were *never* intended to be a tourist trap drawing thousands and thousands of out-of-shape people in for the "kill." Let people hire a guide if they don't want to learn how to climb to do it without cables. The ridiculous amount of damage done to the area around the trail and the top of the dome (we will likely never see a tree on top again) plus the incredible number of SAR and medical interventions (try listening to the radio traffic sometime! OMG.) are enough for me to look at the cables as an attractive nuisance.

That entire area is so trashed and ridden with problem bears and tourists I go out of my way to start from other trailheads if at all possible to head to other destinations in the park. It's not fun to me at all to hike up wincing all the way as I pass people limping in high heels, flipflops, under 100 lb packs, no water, heat stroke symptoms, crawling, lost, or on the verge of breaking up with the spouse who's marching determinedly ahead of them as they plead to turn around.

Viva la permit system!

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#21982 - 03/14/12 03:20 PM Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome [Re: lori2000]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7871
Loc: Fresno, CA
> Fewer injuries on that hike mean fewer taxpayer dollars spent rescuing fools and unfortunates from it. And fewer deaths. The real death toll for Half Dome is much higher if you include all the people who died on the trail heading for it. 70+ people dead, a dozen per day injured, all because people think this is something they NEED to do. The permits have cut the daily injury rate down significantly.

By that logic, they should cut the number of permits to zero. And take out the Mist Trail. And close the park to automobiles -- all those accidents, you know. That is unfortunately the mentality of some park administrators, and the result is this proposal. The result is fewer and fewer people are given access to the wilderness. At some point, you reach a critical point, where few people are left who even support wilderness.

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#21983 - 03/14/12 03:31 PM Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7871
Loc: Fresno, CA
Today is the last day to comment on the plan to limit access to Half Dome even more than it was last year.

Please PLEASE, go to the Yosemite web site and ask them to think outside the box, and find more ways to allow people to access Half Dome without the rush hour crowding.

There are lots of people who would adjust their schedules and start their hike super early, or to arrive later in the afternoon to avoid the crowds. Yosemite could give out three or four times the current number of permits, if they would just invent a time-slot system.

If they would try it for just one day or maybe a week, it would be easy to observe the possibilities.

Please comment on the proposal!

But one last note: If you are someone with the attitude that people in flipflops, or those who are out of shape, Disneyland tourists, or fat or dumb -- or whatever, don't deserve to hike, please do NOT comment.

The Yosemite main page is here:
    Half Dome Trail Stewardship Plan - EA Public Review

Here is the link to "Comment on Document"

Here's the document:
    Half Dome Trail Stewardship Plan EA (1.7 MB, PDF file)

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#22020 - 03/16/12 09:42 PM Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome [Re: Steve C]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
My guess is the National Park service will proceed with their plan, in particular because of the following factors (from the Park Service's website):

The Half Dome trail's popularity is taking a toll on its wilderness environment:

•   Vegetation damage and soil loss on and near the trail corridor, including many sections that are very wide and deeply eroded
•   Habituation of wildlife along the trail corridor, and particularly at the summit and subdome, from improper food storage and feeding
•   Threats to a population of the Mt. Lyell Salamander, a California Specie of Special Concern
•   Severe crowding on the subdome, summit and cables, including long lines to use the cables
•   Very high encounter rates on the entire trail
Increases in the number of people hiking to Half Dome are impacting the environment so that it no longer reflects the conditions called for in the Wilderness Act.

Crowding on the Half Dome cables can increase exit time from the summit and the amount of time visitors are exposed to hazardous natural conditions such as slippery wet rock, extreme temperatures, and lightning.

PURPOSE OF THIS PLAN
1. Protect the wilderness character of the project area
2. Improve the visitor experience on the Half Dome Trail by reducing crowding
3. Protect the area's natural and cultural resources
4. Improve the ability of its visitors to manage their own risk

I fully support the Park's plan; it seems a reasonable compromise between the current free-for-all and a more carefully managed environmental situation, as well as providing more safety for the average tourist hiker.

I didn't see a fee schedule for Half Dome permits; is there a fee?

Will the Park have a "gate-keeper" to check for permits?





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#22024 - 03/16/12 11:46 PM Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome [Re: Bee]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7871
Loc: Fresno, CA
> it seems a reasonable compromise between the current free-for-all
Are you not aware that the "free-for-all" ended in 2009? There have been 400 per-day quotas ever since. This new plan chokes it down to 300 per day.

> for the average tourist hiker

They should keep all the Disneyland tourists out of our mountains! ...oh, wait.... I've been to Disneyland, too.


Edited by Steve C (03/16/12 11:51 PM)

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#22026 - 03/17/12 12:08 AM Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome [Re: Steve C]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
They should keep all the Disneyland tourists out of our mountains! ...oh, wait.... I've been to Disneyland, too.

I agree with this. I've never climbed half dome. But it seems to me that the cables are creating a problem that they are trying to remedy with permits and regulations. I think that it's better to just remove the cables and return half dome to as natural a state as possible. Let people's survival instincts regulate the number of people who climb HD.

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#22028 - 03/17/12 01:01 AM Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome [Re: tdtz]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2249
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
A single "handrail" in a new location a little to the side of the present tombstone granite slide would allow left-up right-down (or the other way round) travel. The footing would be much better, and wear (polishing) would be spread over two paths rather than one. People's survival instincts would also play a part, usage would perhaps be more self-regulated than at present. Removing/restoring the present cables & holes would give us some valuable data on how to restore damaged areas. I think access would be safer if the cables were left up year-round.
_________________________
Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII

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#22039 - 03/17/12 09:06 PM Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome [Re: Steve C]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
How have the quotas been monitored, on site, since 2009? How will the quotas be monitored under the new system?

Is the new, proposed, system offense to you? Would you rather there be no quotas at all?

I did not call the average tourist hiker a "Disneyland tourist"; that's your term. But perhaps your term is more to the point.

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#22040 - 03/17/12 09:15 PM Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome [Re: wagga]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Perhaps a better, safer, idea would be to carve steps for both up and down traffic, with signs indicating which is which. Granite steps have been carved throughout the Sierra Nevada trail systems...why not on Half Dome? LOL

Any suggestions on how to restore the damage caused by decades of foot traffic?

If the cables were left up year-round, I wonder what the Park management and YOSAR would think of that?

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#22042 - 03/18/12 12:08 AM Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome [Re: Bob West]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: Bob West
How have the quotas been monitored, on site, since 2009? How will the quotas be monitored under the new system?

Is the new, proposed, system offense to you? Would you rather there be no quotas at all?

I did not call the average tourist hiker a "Disneyland tourist"; that's your term. But perhaps your term is more to the point.


Hi Bob,

The quota system thus far has been monitored by placing a ranger near the base of the cables, and he/she checks the permits.

While there has been plenty of whining/sniveling about the quotas on all of the boards, the statistics speak for themselves: summer 2009 (before qoutas) was the worst season on record for rescues/fatalities, Summer 2010 (first year quotas) was one of the best.

Whitney is a big mountain, yet they only allow 150 entries a day; why are people not having tantrums about this relatively small number? Perhaps it is because they have seen their own personal mountain experience improved?

Things change.

There used to be a fabulous trail in Yosemite Valley called "Ledge Trail"; it was very popular, but now it is closed due to excessive rockfall. As soon as a "trail" is placed on the landscape, the future of that landscape is forever altered and placed in a state of managed peril. Not even herds of animals travel with the frequency of humans on a trail (most mass animal movement is seasonal, giving the surrounding landscape a chance to rocover in the midseason)

It continues to amaze me that anyone who witnessed/experienced the cable crush would continue his/her befuddlement over the need for any such numbers management (there are plenty out there who oppose any and all attempts to monitor the herd up the dome.)
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#22055 - 03/18/12 09:59 AM Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome [Re: Bee]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Thank you, Bee, for injecting your words of wisdom into this discussion.

Several years ago I participated in a trans-Sierra migration re-enactment hike with American Indians from the West and East sides of the range. Long before the white man came, Indians would gather at Tuolumne Meadows for the Summer, and socialize, exchange trade items and perhaps, find a wife or husband. Our hike that year started south of Lee Vining, crossed Mono Pass, traversed the Tuolumne area and ended in Yosemite Valley. As we entered the Valley it was our hope to conduct a remembrance ceremony near to location of an ancient village, a spot regarded as sacred by local Indians. We arrived at the site to discover an "dig" in progress. A Phd candidate was trying to prove a theory she held regarding arrow point development. My indian brothers and sisters were dismayed and emotionally upset to see a sacred site being ripped apart in order to satisfy someone's intellectual goals and career. Some of my friends great-grand parents had been born nearby and worshiped the Creator at that very spot. The site has since been repaired by the Park Service, but the pain is still remembered by local Indians as "bad medicine."

Half Dome itself, among other formations in the area, might have been regarded with awe by our Indian ancestors as manifestations of the Creator and the spiritual realm. Great respect was shown by them for all of creation. Unfortunately, our dominate European/American culture seldom demonstrates the same respect for our natural world; we often seem more interested in using nature to increase our fun, instead of showing it respect and caring for it.

Perhaps the Park Service is starting to realize that some of its past decisions were not in the best interest of the natural world.

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#22074 - 03/19/12 07:03 AM Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome [Re: Steve C]
lori2000 Offline


Registered: 02/16/12
Posts: 3
Loc: central California
Originally Posted By: Steve C
> Fewer injuries on that hike mean fewer taxpayer dollars spent rescuing fools and unfortunates from it. And fewer deaths. The real death toll for Half Dome is much higher if you include all the people who died on the trail heading for it. 70+ people dead, a dozen per day injured, all because people think this is something they NEED to do. The permits have cut the daily injury rate down significantly.

By that logic, they should cut the number of permits to zero. And take out the Mist Trail. And close the park to automobiles -- all those accidents, you know. That is unfortunately the mentality of some park administrators, and the result is this proposal. The result is fewer and fewer people are given access to the wilderness. At some point, you reach a critical point, where few people are left who even support wilderness.



There was actually a plan to close the valley floor to automobiles, or so it was rumored.

The issue remains - Half Dome is head and shoulders above the rest of the park in terms of incidents on the trail and fatalities related to it. In terms of hiking incidents, there is no equal (except perhaps Whitney) and there is no question - something needs to be done about it.

It has nothing to do with the wilderness at large. People act like Half Dome is the best place in the park, the only thing they want to do - if they don't get that golden ticket to go up it I've had folks tell me they cancelled their Yosemite vacation. That's the real shame - people focus so much on the single location that they are blind to the wonders of the rest of the perfectly accessible dayhiking opportunities out there.

I was called out for three searches last year - one of them was a mutual aid in Yosemite. Not sure what the figures are for the rest of the mountain range for SAR activity but I doubt they can compete with the number of injuries on the Half Dome Hike.

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#22149 - 03/22/12 10:39 AM Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome [Re: lori2000]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Yep, Lori, there are many hikes that offer views equal to the view from Half Dome. among which is the Snow Creek trail, which starts near Mirror Lake and tops out near the Snow Creek area, and offers relative solitude and a stunning view looking directly across at Half Dome. And beautiful vistas up Tenaya Canyon toward Tuolummne Meadows and the upper high country.

The hike to the top of upper Yosemite Falls is another great view.

Or...drive up to Glacier Point for the remarkable view all around the park from the top of Glacier Point apron.

Unfortunately, the Half Dome cables seem to offer the casual visitor with the impression that they are actually climbing a mountain...they are not. No more than the trail hike to the summit of Mt. Whitney is actually a "mountain climb."

I've oftened wondered if local business interests have helped spur the popularity of the Half Dome cable "climb."

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#22154 - 03/22/12 06:57 PM Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome [Re: wagga]
Jonishiker Offline


Registered: 02/06/12
Posts: 30
Loc: Socal,US
Wagga,
Oh I have a sick sense of humor and your term made me laugh out loud, but the topic is important to me because Half Dome is important. Over the years I have grilled the Yosemite Rangers with every viable solution that has ever been suggested to the point they would act occupied when they saw me coming. But there is no perfect answer to this debate. My absolute true preference is that they would take the cables down, fill in the holes to match the slick granite. Then I want permanent climbing bolts drilled in at the perfect interval to match my height 5.5' because every climb done on point is protected for the average guy, not a woman. And Half Dome would be on the front cover for every climbing guide as the best 5* 5.3 climb in the world. A few wouldn't do it because of the difficult approach or the weather...

But on the other hand....
I have also seen the joy and the transformation of people's faces including children, with that look of utter exhaustion mixed with complete delight due to that first view of the valley.

Half Dome is an incredible sliced off hunk of glaciated rock.
But I don't believe the park service will ever pull the cables and fix it to my specs. So I vote for the 300 people permit option. Possibly I missed some postings but why would everyone go as a giant clump at the same time? Some hikers run,walk,do the poky or barely succeed (sometimes me) especially on a difficult trail, many people do quit and turn around. I didn't quite understand the mention of a start time or is it just the Kitty Litter Clump Thing.

Please inform, I must have missed something.
_________________________
"If you don't have a strategy, you're part of someone else's strategy."
-- Alvin Toffler

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