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Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome
#20986 01/24/12 06:13 PM
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wagga Offline OP
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"Officials recommended a 300-per-day limit in their draft of the Half Dome Trail Stewardship Plan released Tuesday, following years of study."

Details from the Mercury-News.

"Public comment on the report will be accepted through March 15.

Other options on the table range from requiring no permits at all to removing the safety cables.
"


Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII
Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome
wagga #20987 01/24/12 09:30 PM
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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)
    Draft Environmental Assessment
    January 2012

Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome
Steve C #21017 01/26/12 09:09 AM
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Thanks for posting the proposed plan, Steve. Having read it through...whew...I think the maximum of 300 people seems reasonable. There would still need to be a ranger posted at the bottom of the cable to ensure only hikers with that day's permit ascends the cables.

Personally, I'm in favor of removing the cables, allowing only technical means for ascending that part of the dome. There might still be people trying to go up, but they won't get far without climbing gear. I wonder what cable-free routes would look like in that area - perhaps slick rock?

Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome
Bob West #21019 01/26/12 09:32 AM
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Aside from the slick polished granite between the cables, the rock is pristine Yosemite granite. It is easy to walk up the first & last thirds, using the cables for a small assist in the center third.

Now, if they remove the cables without filling in the postholes, there will be a new item of outdoor gear invented the same day.


Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII
Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome
Bob West #21020 01/26/12 10:30 AM
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> Personally, I'm in favor of removing the cables

I'm not sure I understand the reasoning. Removing the cables would prevent all but a tiny few from ever climbing Half Dome. Is that the objective?

Have you ever climbed Half Dome by the cables? And by any non-cable route?


Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome
Steve C #21028 01/26/12 01:22 PM
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Perhaps they should have a demo setup at the permit station, so people might know exactly WTH they're getting themselves into?

This just might work:



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Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome
wagga #21031 01/26/12 03:08 PM
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LOL! "someones got to go back and get a shit load of dimes"

Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome
Steve C #21037 01/26/12 06:36 PM
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You said: "I'm not sure I understand the reasoning. Removing the cables would prevent all but a tiny few from ever climbing Half Dome. Is that the objective?"

Yes, but restricting the daily head-count on the dome is better than doing nothing. Banning private vehicles from Yosemite-Disney-Valley would also be a good thing.

You asked: "Have you ever climbed Half Dome by the cables? And by any non-cable route?"

I've climbed many technical routes throughout the Valley and in the Tuolumne Meadows area. Would you like me to list them for you, so that you can check my credentials? LOL.




Last edited by Bob West; 01/26/12 06:43 PM.
Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome
RoguePhotonic #21038 01/26/12 06:42 PM
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Yep, and plenty of other coins and sundry objects are sure to be found near the start of Tis-a-ack.

But it would take a metal detector to find them in the impact zone.

Last edited by Bob West; 01/26/12 06:50 PM.
Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome
Bob West #21039 01/26/12 07:04 PM
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There are several conversations taking place on this topic. One of particular interest is on the yosemitenews.info forum (Steve C and I both post over there, too)

I am always fascinated by this particular topic -- Half Dome Cables -- because they (the cables) are the closest thing to the Via Ferrata in the USA that I have experienced. As with Half Dome, people die using the European cables, too (recently, an internationally known climber was lost because he did not "clip in")but due to the fact that "rescue"(huh? What's THAT?) "risk"(everything is more fun after a Pint) & "dying"(we all gotta go some time) is viewed much differently, a conversation such as this would never occur.




Last edited by Bee; 01/26/12 09:06 PM. Reason: Via Ferrata

The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome
Bob West #21041 01/26/12 07:27 PM
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Bob West wrote:
> I've climbed many technical routes throughout the Valley and in the Tuolumne Meadows area.

I wasn't asking for credentials, but was certainly curious regarding the somewhat extreme view. And now I understand -- you don't need no stinkin' cables.

Unfortunately, taking the cables down would render that beautiful natural phenomenon entirely out of reach for the rest of us common pedestrians. (ouch!)

Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome
Steve C #21045 01/26/12 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted By: Steve C
Bob West wrote:
> I've climbed many technical routes throughout the Valley and in the Tuolumne Meadows area.

I wasn't asking for credentials, but was certainly curious regarding the somewhat extreme view. And now I understand -- you don't need no stinkin' cables.

Unfortunately, taking the cables down would render that beautiful natural phenomenon entirely out of reach for the rest of us common pedestrians. (ouch!)


More importantly, I fear that it would mean a great amount of destruction to that beautiful face of rock, even more than is being done with the cables, while less than of average intelligence people tried to climb it anyway using... "unconventional" methods.

Last edited by GandC; 01/26/12 10:41 PM.

One day I'd like to hike the entire John Muir Trail and not leave a single footprint. -Randy Morgenson
Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome
GandC #21047 01/27/12 05:54 AM
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Perhaps we should ask what limits of access do we place on the average tourist/hiker?

Do we allow easier access to the summit of Mt. Whitney, by placing hand-rails all the way up the switch-backs and the summit ridge trail? How about a nice stone stair-case up the MR? Most of us would say: no way!

Should we advocate for a European system of gondolas so we can avoid the hard work of hiking to the base of Sierra climbs? How about a free-ride to the Palisade glacier? I think most of us would say a resounding NO to that idea.

As far as the meaning of "ordinary", no one needs to remain ordinary if they feel that inner challenge to go up in life. Most of us were pretty ordinary before we made the decision to do something about it by taking a climbing course, get better grades in high-school, attend a trade school, go on to college, etc., instead of relying on someone to make it easier for us for reach a high goal that others had struggled to attain.

There is a trend in this country to even things out for everyone, to make it easier and less challenging to get through high-school and college, or get a high-paying job. I would hate to see this notion applied to wilderness access. The Half Dome cables are just one small symptom of this kind of thinking.

So we have a conflict of philosophies. The question for me is: which philosophy is better for the human race?

Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome
wagga #21048 01/27/12 07:35 AM
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After reading the proposed quota revisions, I sure hope they don't become a reality. Isn't 400 too few already? So much more is getting taken away than saved by a newer reduction. Just two years ago (and for all time prior) anyone number of folks could ascend. Last year, only 400. Per this proposal maybe fewer. Soon the spigot may get turned off for the pedestrian. Crazy.

If this happens, this runs the risk of more harm than good. Only climbers will be able to enjoy this public natural resource (an its view). Can you imagine the cables being replaced with only lines of climbers waiting belay-in??? Can you imagine the belay line and time for climbers to ascend/descend via ropes one at a time? Talk about frustrating. All it is doing is reducing access more.

I say keep it at the meager 400. Trying to beat the odds of 400:1,000,000 visitors for access to the Dome is hard enough.

Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome
EPS #21049 01/27/12 08:36 AM
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I concur with EPS. After reading the EA two things stand out for me.

1) The EA does not make the case for an actual problem with the current 400 quota. Some congestion on the cables at peak times is to be expected. Go early or late or mid week if you want to avoid that. We were there last July around 7am Friday and had it almost to ourselves.

2) The EA does not explain how they came up with the estimates for people on the cables with a quota of 300 vs 400 permits. Table ES-1 has numbers that seem odd to me and they are not backup in the report. Am I missing something or is this all based on consultant estimates carried out to a false sense of accuracy? I just don't think there would be much noticeable difference in "crowding" with 25% fewer permits.

It's a popular hike and nobody should expect a true "wilderness experience" on this trail. HD lures a lot of people to get "out there" for the first time. That's a good thing in my mind. Some restrictions seem unavoidable, but keep them minimal.

I'm two cents lighter but I feel better now...

Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome
Bob West #21132 01/31/12 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted By: Bob West
Perhaps we should ask what limits of access do we place on the average tourist/hiker?

Do we allow easier access to the summit of Mt. Whitney, by placing hand-rails all the way up the switch-backs and the summit ridge trail? How about a nice stone stair-case up the MR? Most of us would say: no way!

Should we advocate for a European system of gondolas so we can avoid the hard work of hiking to the base of Sierra climbs? How about a free-ride to the Palisade glacier? I think most of us would say a resounding NO to that idea.

As far as the meaning of "ordinary", no one needs to remain ordinary if they feel that inner challenge to go up in life. Most of us were pretty ordinary before we made the decision to do something about it by taking a climbing course, get better grades in high-school, attend a trade school, go on to college, etc., instead of relying on someone to make it easier for us for reach a high goal that others had struggled to attain.

There is a trend in this country to even things out for everyone, to make it easier and less challenging to get through high-school and college, or get a high-paying job. I would hate to see this notion applied to wilderness access. The Half Dome cables are just one small symptom of this kind of thinking.

So we have a conflict of philosophies. The question for me is: which philosophy is better for the human race?


Bob, as a mountaineer and rock climber myself, I understand where you are coming from.

Where I get lost is in your apparent assumption that allowing the HD route means allowing building such routes on all mountains, everywhere.

I think I am on safe ground when I say it does not. I am unaware of any proposal for any mountain in the Sierra, anywhere.

Take your example of the Mountaineer's route. One could easily draw the conclusion that the answer to the technical MR was the main trail, and that you therefore oppose it, as it "pollutes" the pure experience of the mountain "as God intended that it be experienced."
I imagine that the road to Glacier Point to be in the same category.

It comes across as "those" people don't deserve to see/experience those places. I see that sentiment often in the mountaineering community.

Problem is, "those" people paid for these places, through support of laws and taxes. As my military friends say: "no Buck, no Buck Rogers." Without "their" support, Yosemite would be condominiums by now. EVERY SINGLE PERSON who climbs HD becomes a supporter of the outdoors and wilderness, and a supporter of preservation by way of parks. I think the sacrifice of ONE out of THOUSANDS of mountains, is a small price to pay to HAVE THEM ALL, mostly exclusive to mountaineers, don't you think?

Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome
Ken #21138 01/31/12 09:03 PM
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Yes....and Yes! A refreshingly eloquent expression of the two main opposing views of the Half Dome cables. So many of the posts on this topic -- or any 'hot' topic, for that matter -- are a sloppy shot from the hip, a sad consequence of our post modern sound-bite society.

I recently read an article on how the emphasis on raising children has been shifted away from becoming a better person by giving to society, to taking from society to make one's life better (grossly over simplified here) As I read Bob's response, I was reminded of the latter group, and as I read Ken's I thought of the former. Yin and Yang. I have known of mountaineers who would tear the hell out of a mountain to get to the top, and hikers who would pick up other people's crap on the way down.

Thanks for taking the time to craft thoughtful replies, gentleman.


The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome
Bee #21198 02/03/12 09:53 AM
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Its interesting how the timing of all this has unfolded.

I sincerely believe that these restrictions are set to help improve visitation to HD, but with them, I know it'll only increase the amount of people who race to the top before a Ranger is at the base to check for permits.

How do you think Yosemite HD was filmed up there? You think a Ranger was gonna allow two individuals to go up the cables with huge packs, 6 foot dollies, and stay there overnight?!

HD is an awesome attraction for Yosemite National Park. Its so iconic and is really how they've branded themselves apart from the other parks within the NPS.

All in all, I love HD, but I'm not sure I can agree with their recent arrangements. My 2 cents.

Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome
Steve C #21431 02/13/12 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted By: Steve C
Bob West wrote:
> I've climbed many technical routes throughout the Valley and in the Tuolumne Meadows area.

I wasn't asking for credentials, but was certainly curious regarding the somewhat extreme view. And now I understand -- you don't need no stinkin' cables.

Unfortunately, taking the cables down would render that beautiful natural phenomenon entirely out of reach for the rest of us common pedestrians. (ouch!)


I think that it goes beyond taking beauty out of the reach of commoners. Doing half dome with the cables is not for commoners, it takes a reasonable about of desire and conditioning. Without cables it is significantly more dangerous. The problem is that over limiting access to the beauties of nature creates fewer and fewer that are allowed to understand the beauty. My theory is that those that appreciate true nature will always desire to truly preserve it. Those that favor limiting access often carry the issue too far by arguing that ANY assistance in access destroys nature. Well nature that is not appreciated has already been destroyed. Of course we will always hear the argument that increasing access will lead to freeways through the Sierra, but that argument should be seen for what it is: hyperbole.

The best example that I have seen to explain the value of some access being for the good of all is Morro Rock in Sequoia. Many would scream of the railings were proposed to be added today, but those railing provide access and I am certain that people that have used that access to hike to the edge of Morro Rock are forever sold on preserving and SUPPORTING National and State parks. I see it as a minor sacrifice for a greater good.

Re: Yosemite: Fewer People Should Climb Half Dome
CaliHawk #21433 02/13/12 12:52 PM
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> "nature that is not appreciated has already been destroyed"

like! like! like!

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