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Re: [John Muir Trail] Re: Half Dome

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  • Peter Burke
    ... but do they pay anything extra for that? They already have the ranger staff, add a few volunteers, and the helicopter is there anyway unless without Half
    Message 1 of 30 , Dec 9, 2010
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      On 12/9/2010 12:33 PM, Barbara Karagosian wrote:
      But then subtract the costs of SARs and recovery and it may not make so much money for the park after all.

      but do they pay anything extra for that? They already have the ranger staff, add a few volunteers, and the helicopter is there anyway unless without Half Dome it's not needed any longer? You take the revenue away, what are they using to pay for all those things? 

      Interesting that all the statistics in the report don't include one word about actual accidents or the number of SAR calls to that location. Clearly they want to make it safer, so why no numbers on actual incidents? The whole report essentially is about safety on the cables, but only comments on people at one time on the cables without every taking a look at actual events that required SAR and how those may correlate to those high use days. Guess not much stuff actually happens up there, or that data would be in the report.



      Cheers, Barbara

      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
      732)

      http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/files/YOSE-Half%20Dome%20Trail%20Use.pdf

      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
      today.

      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.


    • Kim Fishburn
      I think the last two deaths were a Japanese business man wearing leather souled dress shoes, and someone on the cables when it was wet and slippery. I don t
      Message 2 of 30 , Dec 9, 2010
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        I think the last two deaths were a Japanese business man wearing leather souled dress shoes, and someone on the cables when it was wet and slippery. I don't think the number of people had anything to do with it.



        From: Peter Burke <pburke@...>
        To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Thu, December 9, 2010 1:07:19 PM
        Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] Re: Half Dome

         

        On 12/9/2010 12:33 PM, Barbara Karagosian wrote:

        But then subtract the costs of SARs and recovery and it may not make so much money for the park after all.

        but do they pay anything extra for that? They already have the ranger staff, add a few volunteers, and the helicopter is there anyway unless without Half Dome it's not needed any longer? You take the revenue away, what are they using to pay for all those things? 

        Interesting that all the statistics in the report don't include one word about actual accidents or the number of SAR calls to that location. Clearly they want to make it safer, so why no numbers on actual incidents? The whole report essentially is about safety on the cables, but only comments on people at one time on the cables without every taking a look at actual events that required SAR and how those may correlate to those high use days. Guess not much stuff actually happens up there, or that data would be in the report.



        Cheers, Barbara

        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
        732)

        http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/files/YOSE-Half%20Dome%20Trail%20Use.pdf

        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
        today.

        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.


      • Kim Fishburn
        The subject of Half Dome reminded me of this book. http://www.amazon.com/Off-Wall-Yosemite-Michael-Ghiglieri/dp/0970097360/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_c I think I read
        Message 3 of 30 , Dec 9, 2010
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          The subject of Half Dome reminded me of this book.

          http://www.amazon.com/Off-Wall-Yosemite-Michael-Ghiglieri/dp/0970097360/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_c

          I think I read about it at http://yosemiteexplorer.com/ . I believe there is a series of similar books on other national parks. Looking at his site I'm reminded that the record for Happy Isles to the top of Half Dome and back is 2:28:18.




        • Roleigh Martin
          good find -- I added this to my amazon High Sierra Wish List which we have a link to. I have read this book though:
          Message 4 of 30 , Dec 9, 2010
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            good find -- I added this to my amazon High Sierra Wish List which we have a link to.
             
            I have read this book though:
             
             
            It's available also in audiobook form.

            On Thu, Dec 9, 2010 at 1:25 PM, Kim Fishburn <outhiking_55@...> wrote:
             

            The subject of Half Dome reminded me of this book.

            http://www.amazon.com/Off-Wall-Yosemite-Michael-Ghiglieri/dp/0970097360/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_c

            I think I read about it at http://yosemiteexplorer.com/ . I believe there is a series of similar books on other national parks. Looking at his site I'm reminded that the record for Happy Isles to the top of Half Dome and back is 2:28:18.





          • John
            I can pretty much guarantee that leaving the cables in place has nothing to do with USNPS economics , and everything to do with politics and private sector
            Message 5 of 30 , Dec 9, 2010
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              I can pretty much guarantee that leaving the cables in place has nothing to do with USNPS "economics", and everything to do with politics and "private sector" economics. Most of my friends in VERY high places with Yosemite National Park would love to see the cables come down. Indeed, it has been considered. However, it will take a very strong Park superintendent to make that happen.
              With any luck, over time, the daily Half Dome quota will be reduced to a reasonable number of something less than 100.

              JD
              Walk the Sky: Following the John Muir Trail
              www.johndittli.com


              --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, Peter Burke <pburke@...> wrote:
              >
              > On 12/9/2010 12:33 PM, Barbara Karagosian wrote:
              > >
              > >
              > > But then subtract the costs of SARs and recovery and it may not make
              > > so much money for the park after all.
              >
              > but do they pay anything extra for that? They already have the ranger
              > staff, add a few volunteers, and the helicopter is there anyway unless
              > without Half Dome it's not needed any longer? You take the revenue away,
              > what are they using to pay for all those things?
              >
              > Interesting that all the statistics in the report don't include one word
              > about actual accidents or the number of SAR calls to that location.
              > Clearly they want to make it safer, so why no numbers on actual
              > incidents? The whole report essentially is about safety on the cables,
              > but only comments on people at one time on the cables without every
              > taking a look at actual events that required SAR and how those may
              > correlate to those high use days. Guess not much stuff actually happens
              > up there, or that data would be in the report.
              >
              >
              > >
              > > Cheers, Barbara
              > >
              > > On Dec 9, 2010, at 9:12 AM, Peter Burke <pburke@...
              > > <mailto: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
              > >> 732)
              > >>
              > >> http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/files/YOSE-Half%20Dome%20Trail%20Use.pdf
              > >>
              > >> 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
              > >> today.
              > >>
              > >> 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.
              > >>
              > >
              > >
              > >
              >
            • Linda Reitz
              Jophn, I was proud of myself the first time I made the summit at age 55! For us native Californians I think it is almost a rite of passage. To where I don t
              Message 6 of 30 , Dec 9, 2010
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                Jophn, I was proud of myself the first time I made the summit at age 55! For us native Californians I think it is almost a rite of passage. To where I don't know.
                Lind


                From: John Ladd <johnladd@...>
                To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Thu, December 9, 2010 10:27:11 AM
                Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] Re: Half Dome

                 

                For a lot of California kids, the Half dome cable route gives them their first "bragging rights" in the outdoors.  While you wouldn't want to take a really little kid up there, it's probably doable safely with many kids (ones that will be careful) at age 10 or so and they are really proud of themselves once they "summit".

                John Curran Ladd
                1616 Castro Street
                San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
                415-648-9279


              • Barbara Karagosian
                I know 3 died from falls the year I did it. At least one of those was attempting it after the cables had been taken down in the autumn. Cheers, Barbara
                Message 7 of 30 , Dec 9, 2010
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                  I know 3 died from falls the year I did it. At least one of those was attempting it after the cables had been taken down in the autumn. 

                  Cheers, Barbara

                  On Dec 9, 2010, at 11:07 AM, Peter Burke <pburke@...> wrote:

                   

                  On 12/9/2010 12:33 PM, Barbara Karagosian wrote:

                  But then subtract the costs of SARs and recovery and it may not make so much money for the park after all.

                  but do they pay anything extra for that? They already have the ranger staff, add a few volunteers, and the helicopter is there anyway unless without Half Dome it's not needed any longer? You take the revenue away, what are they using to pay for all those things? 

                  Interesting that all the statistics in the report don't include one word about actual accidents or the number of SAR calls to that location. Clearly they want to make it safer, so why no numbers on actual incidents? The whole report essentially is about safety on the cables, but only comments on people at one time on the cables without every taking a look at actual events that required SAR and how those may correlate to those high use days. Guess not much stuff actually happens up there, or that data would be in the report.



                  Cheers, Barbara

                  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
                  732)

                  http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/files/YOSE-Half%20Dome%20Trail%20Use.pdf

                  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
                  today.

                  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.


                • Kim Fishburn
                  Some of you might be interested in efforts remove the dam at Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite.
                  Message 8 of 30 , Dec 10, 2010
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                    Some of you might be interested in efforts remove the dam at Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite.

                    http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2010/12/it-quioxtic-work-towards-restoration-hetch-hetchy-valley-yosemite-national-park7321
                  • herbstroh@charter.net
                    I hiked half dome about 4 years ago. The number of people on the cables was out-of-control (a Saturday in August). It took us a good 45 minutes to get down.
                    Message 9 of 30 , Dec 10, 2010
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                      I hiked half dome about 4 years ago. The number of people on the cables was
                      out-of-control (a Saturday in August). It took us a good 45 minutes to get
                      down. People became impatient, and started to go up and down on the outside
                      of the cables. That works in some places, but they have to come inside to
                      go around obstacles, and do not have the benefit of the 2x4s to perch on
                      while waiting. It started to get ugly.

                      Ahead of me was a 14-15 year old kid who was the last member of his group.
                      He started to panic with the crush of people and didn't want to move. His
                      lead group got too far ahead and apparently did not realize the kid iced
                      over. I had to talk him down, encouraging him to walk down to the next set
                      of poles and 2 bys whenever space opened up.

                      Reaching the bottom there was--no exaggeration--150-200 people lined up to
                      ascend. The line went past where the big rock near the base. I could not
                      believe there was no control over the number of hikers on the cables.

                      When we did the JMT in 2008 I knew I did not want to do HD again. We choose
                      to go to Clouds Rest, and as Peter suggests, it is a far better experience.
                      About 1,000 feet higher, the view is better and we even had it to ourselves
                      for awhile. I am not a big fan of regulating and permitting everything, but
                      in this case the Park Service needs to manage the numbers or pull the
                      cables.

                      Herb



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                    • Ed Gilroy
                      I have been up HD twice, the people and the risks are part of the experience. I wouldn t change a thing. I agree with Herb, if you don t like the crowds, do
                      Message 10 of 30 , Dec 10, 2010
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                        I have been up HD twice, the people and the risks are part of the experience. I wouldn't change a thing.

                        I agree with Herb, if you don't like the crowds, do Clouds Rest from the other side (TM). Much more of a wilderness experience and the view is superior.

                        Ed

                        On Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 11:55 AM, herbstroh@... <herbstroh@...> wrote:
                         

                        I hiked half dome about 4 years ago. The number of people on the cables was
                        out-of-control (a Saturday in August). It took us a good 45 minutes to get
                        down. People became impatient, and started to go up and down on the outside
                        of the cables. That works in some places, but they have to come inside to
                        go around obstacles, and do not have the benefit of the 2x4s to perch on
                        while waiting. It started to get ugly.

                        Ahead of me was a 14-15 year old kid who was the last member of his group.
                        He started to panic with the crush of people and didn't want to move. His
                        lead group got too far ahead and apparently did not realize the kid iced
                        over. I had to talk him down, encouraging him to walk down to the next set
                        of poles and 2 bys whenever space opened up.

                        Reaching the bottom there was--no exaggeration--150-200 people lined up to
                        ascend. The line went past where the big rock near the base. I could not
                        believe there was no control over the number of hikers on the cables.

                        When we did the JMT in 2008 I knew I did not want to do HD again. We choose
                        to go to Clouds Rest, and as Peter suggests, it is a far better experience.
                        About 1,000 feet higher, the view is better and we even had it to ourselves
                        for awhile. I am not a big fan of regulating and permitting everything, but
                        in this case the Park Service needs to manage the numbers or pull the
                        cables.

                        Herb

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                        hosting - http://link.myhosting.com/myhosting


                      • seatreesky
                        Ah yes, Half Dome, I remember now! -postholer
                        Message 11 of 30 , Dec 10, 2010
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                          Ah yes, Half Dome, I remember now!

                          -postholer

                        • ekacura
                          Thanks for the info on Hetch Hetchy Kim, that s great to hear !!! A tribute to the great John Muir !
                          Message 12 of 30 , Dec 11, 2010
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                            Thanks for the info on Hetch Hetchy Kim, that's great to hear !!! A tribute to the great John Muir !

                            --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, Kim Fishburn <outhiking_55@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Some of you might be interested in efforts remove the dam at Hetch Hetchy in
                            > Yosemite.
                            >
                            > http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2010/12/it-quioxtic-work-towards-restoration-hetch-hetchy-valley-yosemite-national-park7321
                            >
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