How to prepare for Half Dome Hike in Yosemite National Park – Although I hesitate to use the phrase “bucket list” there are definitely some things in life I want to do. One of them is to hike Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Preparation is key for this grueling adventure.
Yosemite Hike Half Dome Preparation
From Fresno, it is only 45 minutes to Yosemite park gates! In
Though I’d lived in California for 10 years, I had never visited Yosemite. Once we drove thru Tunnel View, I was hooked! This year Dan and I set a goal to hike Half Dome!
How the Permit Process Works
How to prepare for Half Dome hike starts with a permit. They are required for the hike and the window to apply is only open for one month during the year.
You can apply for a permit March 1 – 31, yearly on the National Park Website (click here) The NP service offers a pre-season lottery awarding 225 permits daily.
After applying, the results of the lottery are posted mid-April so you can plan accordingly.
Cable Hike to the Summit
In the picture above see the line that looks likes ants climbing the mountain? Those are not ants, but people using cables that assist in the final ascent to the summit. Dan has hiked Half Dome and to the top of Mount Whitney!
Dan knows his stuff! He is going to make sure we are well trained!
So we’ve begun hiking in preparation and of course I pack a picnic lunch.
Bagels make a great sandwich for a hike (they are sturdy and don’t get squished). Sandwiches filled with fresh veggies and thick slices of cheese. As we continue training, I’ll learn what we need for consumption and how to get the best calories for energy.
As a bonus our training preparations will fill our summer with fun hikes and great picnics with terrific nutrition! We will enjoy the most amazing scenery the Sierras have to offer.
Hiking Half Dome Tips
How to Prepare for Half Dome Hike
Permits are required to hike Half Dome! Only 300 hikers are permitted per day. There is a pre-season lottery March 1-31st. You can apply right online, submitting your preference of days. Check back to see if you have been accepted. For more information click here.
It’s best to begin your training with a minimum of three months. Hiking Half Dome is exhilarating but also grueling. It is a 14-16 mile hike (depending on where you start) and will take 10-12 hours. Begin your training with short 4-5 mile hikes gradually progressing in length and altitudes. The hike at Half Dome rises 5000 feet from Yosemite Valley floor (8600 feet above sea level).
You’ll start the hike early in the morning. By the time you get to the top of Half Dome the weather can increase/decrease several degrees.
A minimum of one gallon per person is recommend or if you carry less bring a water filter. We are going to do both.
For this hike you’ll need hiking boots or hiking shoes. Begin breaking them in early. Wear them at every opportunity; around the house, a walk around the neighborhood. Comfortable? Start wearing them on your hikes!
Invest in quality socks that wick the water away from your feet. This will (hopefully) save you from blisters.
Light jacket, gloves, a sunhat, sunscreen, extra socks, flashlight with fresh batteries, map, water filter, first aide kit and cell phone (cell phone service may be available in different areas along the trail).
Important – keep your pack as light as possible.
You’ll be expelling a lot of energy during this 12 hour hike. On your practice hikes learn what food best fuels your body!
Grueling, but very do-able! Preparation is key.
Depending upon your endurance it will take 10-12 hours.
This is not a casual day hike – it’s strenuous and demanding.
Yes, currently there are 9 reported deaths. Common sense and preparation are essential for this adventure. If there is lightening, don’t attempt the summit. The cables can be slippery and are steep.
Hungry for more adventure? Be sure to read the Lois and Clark Expedition where you’ll see more of my Dad’s Photoshop handiwork. Love nature’s beauty?
Visit Exploring the Eastern Sierras to see a real live (dead?) ghost town!
What are your plans for summer, are you checking anything off your bucket list?