Half Dome!!!

I have always wanted to climb Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. It is an over 16 mile hike (round trip) up the the top of a granite mountain. It is very steep, strenuous and potentially dangerous. You gain almost 1 mile in elevation (4,800 feet) on the way up. The last leg of the trip, to get to the summit is accomplished by pulling yourself up the side of the mountain via cables that are in place from May to October. It is very steep and slippery and besides the cables and wooden planks there are no foot hold or crevasses.
I did some research on it and I guess someone fell while going up the cables last summer and died. This is very scary, but on the other hand, a lot of people climb it everyday while the cables are up.
Danger is NOT my middle name and actually the BF jokes that I am “Safety Suzy”, but for whatever reason I was determined to do this. Here is my adventure:

Half Dome at sunset
Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+084 Half Dome!!!We woke up at 4am, got changed and drove to the trail head. We started hiking around 5:30am. The shuttles are not running yet at that point so it is an extra walk to the trail head from the parking lot. We parked in Curry Village not knowing there was closer parking on the way.Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+003 Half Dome!!!The BF asks, “You want me to climb what?”Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+004 Half Dome!!!The sun is starting to rise and we can see Nevada Falls. We will hike by the top of this in a bit. Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+007 Half Dome!!!Sign of different hikes that start here:Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+005 Half Dome!!!Kashi for fuel! What is better than a Kashi bar to fuel my long hike?Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+012 Half Dome!!!The BF stalling while reading a sign. Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+010 Half Dome!!!Here is the top of Nevada Falls. It’s a long way down and we’re not even half way there. Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+014 Half Dome!!!Deer! I know this isn’t a big deal to most of you guys, but we live in LA and there are not deer around.Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+018 Half Dome!!!The sun rising on the mountain. Beauty. Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+008 Half Dome!!!

Shit happens.Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+027 Half Dome!!!Those ants are people.Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+025 Half Dome!!!I think I can…I think I can… This is the final push before you get to the cables. Before this there were a ton of “rock stairs” switchbacks. You have to go one at a time and slow to be safe.Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+028 Half Dome!!!Yes, it’s that steep!Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+071 Half Dome!!!At this point I started to have second thoughts. Maybe this isn’t such a good idea. But, it was my idea not the BF’s and I dragged us all the way up here. We brought gloves to use so our hands wouldn’t get torn up by the cables. We sat down for a few minutes and then decided to go for it.

My shoes were slipping a lot and I could not get any grip to stop myself from sliding down. I had to use all arm strength to pull myself up to the next wooden slat and rest for a second before doing it again. It was scary! And it didn’t help that I read all those things about people falling off before we went.Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+033 Half Dome!!!Peligro! Danger! This doesn’t make me feel any safer: Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+032 Half Dome!!! It’s all down hill from here. This is the view right as we are done with the cables. It looks like it drops straight off!Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+068 Half Dome!!!This is the BF as soon as we got up. He sat down and looked at me like he was going to kill me. He obviously decided against killing me because he couldn’t brag about climbing Half Dome from jail. He called his dad from the top and I asked him to tell the BF not to break up with me. His reply, “I’ll try.” Ouch.Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+034 Half Dome!!!You can’t beat these views.
Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+054 Half Dome!!! Beautiful and worth it.

Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+036 Half Dome!!! Eating lunch on top of the world! A well de
served PB&J.
Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+037 Half Dome!!! The BF and I on the edge of Half Dome.
Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+044 Half Dome!!! This is the cliff we were just standing on from a different view.
Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+055 Half Dome!!! We did it!

Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+073 Half Dome!!! I went backwards on the way down. It was so scary I was afraid I would freak out and I didn’t want to see how high we were or how steep it was. I walked back down facing the rock and basically just tried to slowly slide myself down to each wooden slat and wait until it was clear to go down to the next one. The BF, because he is a great guy, helped verbally guide me down. Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+069 Half Dome!!!We did it!
Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+074 Half Dome!!! Then, I fell. There are a ton of very steep rock steps that you climb before you get to the cables. I fell coming down these. I had a feeling all day I was going to fall I was just hoping it wasn’t a big fall from the side of the dome. Luckily, only my pride and knee were hurt. I wanted to take this picture to show off my “war wound” and how sad I was. I hope it scars so I can show it off forever. I’ll be like, “and this is from when I was climbing Half Dome and my foot slipped, I saw my entire life flash…”
Yosemite+ +Half+Dome+08 08+081 Half Dome!!! I climbed Half Dome! I am super proud of the BF and myself. It was pretty difficult and I am in pretty good shape from running. My calves are super sore from all the uphill climbing and then down hill. It took us about 6 hours to get up there and 4 hours to get down. It was a long day. We ran out of water on the way down and only had a little bit of Gatorade on the way up so I think part of my soreness is built up lactic acid in my calves. Boo. I hope you enjoyed my latest adventure. There are plenty more to come!


  1. chandra says

    Congrats Monica!! That is such a huge accomplishment, I can’t even imagine how proud yo must feel that you climbed the half dome!! A.MAZ.ING. :)

  2. Sarah says

    I read your blog regularly, but had no idea you did this until I googled “half dome recap”.

    Do you have any advice in terms of shoes to wear and how to train? I run 3-4 times per week, but my friend who is in the ‘worst’ shape of the group was awarded the permits. She’s also the most afraid of the whole group.

    We have been doing ‘practice hikes’ but this past weekend she threw up after just 1.5 miles (she had been drinking the night before). Advice on how to gently motivate her more?

    • says

      Just lead by positive example :)

      I think you should get ‘real’ hiking shoes with a good, tough sole. I used running shoes and would NOT recommend that.


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