Re: [John Muir Trail] Re: Half Dome
- But then subtract the costs of SARs and recovery and it may not make so much money for the park after all.
On Dec 9, 2010, at 9:12 AM, Peter Burke <pburke@...> wrote:
On 12/9/2010 7:23 AM, judy wrote:
> I started the JMT on Friday 30 July last summer and the permit system definitely made that part of the hike much more pleasant with far fewer people on the trail. Those there, in general, seemed much better prepared. Perhaps the permitting process provides an opportunity for some pre-trip education (a good thing) in addition to reducing the numbers on the cables. --Judy
mostly the pleasant part was due to be out there on the least busy day
of the week, Friday (average 273 visitors per day, while Monday averaged
on page 30 of the report you will also see that it was a 250 visitor day
on July 30, but just the Monday after that date, you would have shared
the trail with almost 900 people up to Half Dome Trail Junction. Permits
every day will come for sure to shave those peaks down to the same level
now seen on weekends and holidays, but it really doesn't address the
deeper issue - why are these cables up there in the first place?
I find the whole thing with the cables is a far cry from the whole
untouched wilderness concept they seem to put so much emphasis on with
comparably minor impact issues such as fire circles and (the elimination
of) bear lockers in the backcountry. If the cables had not been put up
in a period with less concern for impact, they'd never be placed there
However, the cable route to Half Dome is there today, and it is an
attraction to many and it draws paying patrons into the valley, I guess,
hundreds each day who may not visit without this goal for their trip.
The money generated by these extra visitors is probably the overriding
economic factor for park management - 500 $20 car entrance tickets alone
each day is $10,000 in the bank. Do that for 3 months and you have a
million bucks you may not collect without the cables. Add money spent at
stores in the valley, and suddenly a set of cables that's not visible
from anywhere but up close by those who venture up there to take
advantage of them makes sense. The side effect of heavy trail erosion up
to the peak is something they have to deal with, though. The steep
section from Little Yosemite Valley to the HD trail intersection is
probably the most eroded and widest section of the entire JMT, although
compared to some French Alsp trails I have been on, this is in perfect
shape. This is all relative, I guess. In Europe, many trails are built
by erosion, nothing else.
- The best spot for easy access to tag Half Dome WITH access to water is the JMT/Clouds Rest Jct if you have to go past LYV backpackers campground. There are some really nice camping locations on the way up to Half Dome on the ridge before steep steeps, but they are DRY camping spots, so you'll need plenty of water.