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30871Re: Half Dome Logistics

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  • sanfran_rwood
    May 27, 2013
      Lemme see if I can help.

      --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "Erica" <xericamunsonx@...> wrote:
      > Thanks Alex! We're actually camping at/right past half dome
      > junction before hiking halfdome, so we should be in a prime
      > position to just jump on half dome trail first thing in the
      > morning. I was actually wondering where the closest/best
      > camping spots to the junction might be

      Beyond Half Dome junction, the normal place to camp would be where the trail to Clouds Rest splits off, which is also roughly where the trail crosses Sunrise Creek. LatLong is about 37.74469,-119.50348.

      The other good option is the flat sandy area below the trail about 400-500 feet after the junction. LatLong is about 37.74452,-119.51119. Check the picture at http://goo.gl/En1EY.

      The good and bad of these two:
      Comfort — the creekside soil is a bit comfier.
      Temperature — if it's hot, the creekside camps have shade. If it's cold, the sandy area gets more sunshine.
      Views/Sunrise — the sandy area has excellent views across LYV and towards Half Dome (see the photo). It also gets sun very soon, making it easier to get up on a chilly morning.
      Water — the creekside sites are somewhat better than a ten-minute one-way walk.
      Mosquitoes — pretty much proportional to the amount of water at the creek; fewer out at the sandy spots.

      > And about how long it takes to summit without anyone one
      > the trail (if we left at 5am for example from the junction
      > about how long it might take).

      Well, I think the hike from the junction to the top of the evil staircase (much more grueling than the cables) is about 1 3/4 miles or so, with a climb of roughly 1400 feet. Since you should have daypacks at most, I'd say somewhere between an hour and ninety minutes, which seems to jibe with my experience last September.

      It'll start getting light a little after 5am (astronomical twilight) in early September, with sunrise about an hour and a half later, so if you hit your times (or maybe push your numbers just a little bit), you stand a good chance at catching sunrise from the top.

      > The (lack of) water issue those first 2 days really has me
      > nervous - if anyone has any suggestions for a plan of attack
      > that would be awesome!

      The closest supply of water once you've climbed out of LYV is Sunrise Creek by the Clouds Rest junction.

      The difficulty is that the creek there can be a muddy trickle by Labor Day, or even dry. You'll know better in August how bad things have gotten; for example, it's been drizzling in San Francisco all day today, which means the central Sierras are getting a little more precip, although probably not enough to make a difference.

      If that creek is effectively dry, then the closest water was back in Little Yosemite Valley at the Merced. The next sure-thing water isn't until Cathedral Lake, although the creek uphill at the Sunrise High Sierra Camp (37.79458,-119.43323) is usually good even after the camp turns off it's public spigot.

      My suggestion for an alternate plan of attack:

      Some folks "cheat" just a tiny bit on the climb out of Yosemite Valley by stashing most of their gear at Tuolumne Meadows and doing those first days with minimal kit. For example, one bear canister for the party, no tent, etc. If you do that, you could up the amount of water you can carry. Remember that every liter is a kilogram or about 2.2 pounds, so if each hiker can drop their pack weight by ten pounds for that portion of the trail, each person could start the climb out of LYV with an extra gallon.

      Check back with this forum as summer progresses and tune your plans. If the creeks coming off Sunrise Mountain
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