Yosemite National Park, CA, just announced that the Half Dome cables would be up for the season on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.
A permit is required to summit Half Dome. Most permits are available via preseason lottery, but a limited number are available every day, two days in advance. Additionally, all permits for May 19–May 27 will become available two days in advance. See https://www.recreation.gov/permits/234652 for details.
If you are hiking to Half Dome, be prepared with several liters of water, good hiking boots, and a headlamp (with extra batteries). Be prepared to turn around if a thunderstorm appears possible. Stay back from the Merced River, which is running high right now. If you see a bear on the trail or approaching you, scare it away by yelling loudly, aggressively, and persistently. Always keep your food within arm’s reach. Oh, and have fun!
Half Dome is a granite dome at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, California, named for its distinct shape. One side is a sheer face while the other three sides are smooth and round, making it appear like a dome cut in half. The granite crest rises more than 4,737 ft above the valley floor.
Half Dome in Yosemite National Park has seen at least 290 accidents and fourteen deaths in the past seventeen years, according to Business Insider.
- Related: Eyewitness Account of Terrifying Moment Woman Slipped to Her Death Off Half Dome, Yosemite, CA
Yosemite’s website says this about the final climb to the summit of Half Dome:
“For most, it is an exciting, arduous hike; for a few, it becomes more of an adventure than they wanted. Indeed, park rangers assist hundreds of people on the Half Dome trail every summer. Most of these emergencies could have been prevented…”
– Yosemite National Park website
The hike up Half Dome is a 16-mile round trip that involves climbing about 5,000-vertical-feet from the Yosemite Valley floor.
The final part of the hike up Half Dome is very steep, is about 400-vertical-feet, and has metal cables that have been installed so that hikers can use them to ascend and descend that steepest part of the climb safely.
Permits are required for anyone who wants to climb the cables to the top of Half Dome.