Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Hikers to Half Dome will need paperwork next time

Comes word from the National Park Service that if you're above the subdome, you're going to need a permit for that, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays when the cables are up - and they're only giving out 400 a day. I say "only" - that seems like plenty, and you'll still see crowds up there, I'm guessing. But it seems Yosemite - likely with the input of the climbing community - is looking to cut down on the Russian-bread-line aspect of Half Dome hiking. (You can see a line of hikers packed in on the cables here.

It's become a safety issue - cries for more safety grew louder last June when a young man fell to his death from the congested area. A genius outdoors writer from my hometown paper, Tom Stienstra, has an eyewitness account of the accident and smart discussion of the issues here.

As for the cables -

The Half Dome Cables are usually in place and available for use the third Friday in May, conditions permitting. The last day to use them usually is Columbus Day Monday. We can not guarantee the cables will be available on any given date. If you choose to get a permit for dates in May or October, there is an increased chance the cables will not be in place.

The only place to get permits is online; they cost $1.50. May and June dates open up March 1; July and August on April 1; September and October on May 1.

Anybody out there been up to Half Dome lately?