Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Half Dome, Yosemite Nat Pk, Ca, USA


2018 May: Day trip - climb Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Half Dome & its cables

Half Dome and its world-renowned cables

The final 120 meters (400 ft) ascent (red oval of the above pic) is steep up the rock between two steel cables used as handholds. The cables are fixed with bolts to the rock and raised onto a series of metal poles in late May of each year. They are taken down from the poles for the winter in early October; but they are still fixed to the rock surface and can be used.

The National Park Service recommends against climbing the route when the cables are down and when the surface of the rock is wet and slippery.


Lottery draw for Half Dome climbing permit

The Half Dome hike goes from the Yosemite Valley floor to the top of the dome in 13 km (8.2 miles) via the Mist Trail. It is a 1,460-meter (4,800-ft) gain in elevation. The length and difficulty of the trail used to keep it less crowded than other park trails. Nonetheless by 2010 the trail traffic has grown to as many as 1,000 people on a good summer's day.

This crowd factor became so high that one would need to wait for 45 minutes just to get onto the cables ... a perennial source of bottleneck.

And so, in 2011 a climbing permit was required to climb Half Dome to keep the crowd down.

But that only shifted the bottleneck from the cables to the permit-reservation system. In 2011 the permits sold out within an hour of becoming available !

In 2012, the park service switched to a lottery system, which remains in place till today (May 2018). While getting a permit is a pain for us hikers, the system has definitely reduced crowding, and the days of long waits to get onto the cables are over.

At the time of writing this report, 350 permits per day are issued for the cable ascent and its preceding climb up the slope of Subdome:
    - 225 for day hikers and 75 for backpackers via a season's lottery draw in March.
    - Plus another 50 or so given out via lottery two days in advance.


Success in the lottery draw

I was not successful in the March lottery draw. But by then my plane ticket was booked, my hotel was booked; I flew to California anyway.

Luckily I was successful in the 2-day-in-advance daily lottery draw. And so, today, I'm climbing Half Dome !  (Many thanks to Julie K who submitted the lottery draw for me while I was still in transit from Sydney to California.)


Maps

Topographic map can be downloaded from this link:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Wu7pMPXFbeyx5YAlY5AoCGU6NRy9RnNI/view?usp=sharing

The map is reproduced below.
Click on the image to enlarge it. But you are better off to download the map from above link.


OpenStreetMap: (To enlarge the image, click on it.)
- 4 red arrows, anti-clockwise from left:
       1 Trailhead Parking
       2 Nevada Fall
       3 Little Yosemite Valley Campground
       4 Half Dome, 2694 meters


Satellite image:
- 3 red arrows from left to right:
       1 Top of Half Dome
       2 Bottom of Cable Route
       3 Top of Subdome
- 3 yellow arrows from left to right:
       1 Trailhead Parking
       2 Vernal Fall
       3 Nevada Fall


Near the trailhead:
- 2 red arrows from left to right:
       1 Trailhead Parking, the closest carpark for the Half Dome hike
       2 Happy Isles Fen Boardwalk through Happy Isles Fen
- Small blue circle: Toilet block at Happy Isles
- Blue arrows: Direction of walk to Half Dome


GPS tracklog files & Route

The GPX tracklog files of the hike can be downloaded from:
- Carpark to Half Dome:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xufiq0Kc-act4qU-wXI3AaS_0lCRRjGF/view?usp=sharing

- Half Dome to carpark:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1u0kRS18SqlUB2O2nbRYR60oaS7Rv4Sbz/view?usp=sharing

Here is my tracklog, from carpark to Half Dome, superimposed on OpenStreetMap: (To enlarge the image, click on it.)
- 4 red arrows, anti-clockwise from left:
       1 Trailhead Parking
       2 Nevada Fall
       3 Little Yosemite Valley Campground
       4 Half Dome, 2694 meters


The tracklog, from Half Dome to carpark:
- It is almost the same as the previous map, but in reverse order, with additional detours to:
       • Little Yosemite Valley Campground
       • Top of Nevada Fall
- 4 red arrows, anti-clockwise from left:
       1 Trailhead Parking
       2 Nevada Fall
       3 Little Yosemite Valley Campground
       4 Half Dome, 2694 meters


A summary of my route:
-  Start at Trailhead Parking, the closest carpark for the Half Dome hike
-  Walk on Mist Trail
-  Then on John Muir Trail
-  Then on Half Dome Trail to Subdome
-  Then on cable route to top of Half Dome
-  Explore around the top of Half Dome, including the 2684-meter rocky mound south-west of Half Dome
-  Return via the same route
-  Along the way, detour to visit Little Yosemite Valley Campground and top of Nevada Fall


Timeline & Distance

Park car at Trailhead Parking in Yosemite Village.
The carpark is on the east side of Half Dome Village, also known as Curry Village.
It is the closest carpark for the Half Dome hike.

05:37   0.0  km  Start walking along a foot track south of, and parallel to Happy Isles Loop Rd
05:48   0.75km  At toilet block at Happy Isles, just west of the bridge over Merced River

Toilet break

05:58   0.75km  Resume walking
06:03   1.05km  At junction of Happy Isles Loop Rd and Mist Trail to Half Dome
06:06   1.3  km  At a lookout over Merced River (See photo #5 below.)
06:57   3.4  km  At top of Vernal Falls

06:59   3.4  km  Resume walking
07:59   5.15km  At junction of Mist Trail & John Muir Trail (Access to top of Nevada Fall is from here.)

Morning tea #1

08:07   5.15km  Resume walking
08:33   7.05km  At junction of John Muir Trail & track to Little Yosemite Valley Campground
09:47  10.7 km  Stop for morning tea

Morning tea #2

09:55  10.7  km  Resume walking
10:30  11.9  km  At top of Subdome
10:33  11.95km  At start of cable ascent up Half Dome

Waiting for others to get on and get off the cables

10:37  11.95km  Start to climb up the cables
10:57  12.1  km  End of cable ascent
11:00  12.15km  At Half Dome summit
11:03  12.25km  At The Visor of Half Dome
11:08  12.5  km  At 2684-meter mound south-west of Half Dome

Explore around

11:16  12.7  km  Turn around
11:20  12.95km  Back at Half Dome summit

Lunch

11:34  13.0  km  Resume walking
11:36  13.05km  At The Visor of Half Dome (again)

11:37  13.05km  Start to head towards the top of the cables
11:39  13.15km  At top of the cables and start the descent
12:01  13.35km  At bottom of the cables

12:02  13.35km  Resume walking
12:07  13.4  km  At top of Subdome

12:08  13.4  km  Resume walking
13:36  18.2  km  At junction of John Muir Trail & track to Little Yosemite Valley Campground
13:41  18.35km  Stop for afternoon tea in Little Yosemite Valley Campground

Afternoon tea #1

13:50  18.35km  Resume walking; Start to head back towards the main trail
13:52  18.5  km  At junction of John Muir Trail & track to Little Yosemite Valley Campground (same spot as at 13:36)
14:19  20.3  km  At junction of John Muir Trail & Mist Trail (same spot as at 07:59)
14:26  20.6  km  At top of Nevada Fall

Afternoon tea #2 & explore around

14:47  20.95km  Leave Nevada Fall
14:55  21.3  km  Back at junction of John Muir Trail & Mist Trail (same spot as at 14:19)
15:49  23.05km  At top of Vernal Falls
16:40  25.4  km  At junction of Mist Trail & Happy Isles Loop Rd (same spot as 06:03)
16:44  25.6  km  At toilet block at Happy Isles, just west of the bridge over Merced River (same spot as 05:48)

Toilet break

16:47  25.6  km  Resume walking
17.01  26.55km  Back at carpark

==============================================
Total:  11 hrs 24 mins
           26.55km  Distance based on plotting an idealized route, not from GPS recording
           ??.??km  Distance from Garmin GPS is not available


Park entrance fee

As at May 2018, you need to pay an entrance fee for visiting Yosemite National park ... US$35 per private vehicle (no charge for people in the car). Pay upon arrival ... no need to pay in advance.

If you arrive at the park too early, no one will be manning the park entrance, and you drive in for free. But when you leave, you will be asked to pay  :-)


Trailhead Parking

For the number of people who go on hikes to Half Dome, Nevada Fall and other areas in that vicinity of Yosemite National Park, the Trailhead Parking is quite small. If you wish to obtain a parking space there, make sure you get there before sunrise !


Pictures - Trailhead Parking

1)  Trailhead Parking ... The closest you can park your car for the Half Dome hike.
- Impressive cliffs towards the south ... Glacier Point is somewhere above and behind the cliffs there.
- Red circle: Toyota Camry ... a hire car for the duration of my holiday in USA


Happy Isles

The route to Half Dome is:
- First, walk through Happy Isles Fen Boardwalk to the toilet block at Happy Isles.
- Then cross Happy Isles Bridge over Merced River.

2)  Happy Isles Fen Boardwalk through Happy Isles Fen


3)  Toilet block at Happy Isles


4)  Happy Isles Bridge over Merced River on Happy Isles Loop Road ~~~
- Lower pic: Merced River, upstream, towards north ... photograph taken from the bridge
       • 2 red arrows, from left to right: North Dome, Basket Dome


Mist Trail

After crossing the bridge in photo #4, it is then onto the trail to Half Dome. The trail will follow Merced river upstream to Little Yosemite Valley Campground.

5)  Not long after crossing the bridge, a gazebo cum lookout over Merced River


6)  The initial part of the trail is extremely smooth. A wheelchair can negotiate along it easily. It is only when the trail approaches Vernal Fall that it becomes a bit rougher.


7)  The cliff on the left side of the pic is Panorama Cliff. (To enlarge the image, click on it.)
- Red arrow: Towards south ... Panorama Point is somewhere above and behind the cliff there.
- Red oval: Illilouette Creek and Illilouette Gorge


8)  Bird on the trail to Vernal Fall ~~~
If you know the its name, please let me know.
(Photograph not well taken ... the bird never stands still and the light level is low ... still early in the morning.)


Footbridge over Merced River

9)  Vernal Fall Footbridge over Merced River ~~~
- Upper pic, yellow arrow: Direction of hike
- Lower pic: On the footbridge, facing upstream (left side of upper pic)
       • You should be able to match some of the rocks here with the rocks in the upper pic.
       • Red oval: Vernal Fall ... the trail now leads towards there.


Vernal Fall - bottom

10)  Approaching the bottom of Vernal Fall ~~~
The misty look of the photographs are due to the heavy water spray caused by the fall.


11)  The steps climbing towards Vernal Fall


12)  Looking back at Merced River flowing downstream


13)  Vernal Fall in its glory


14)  Closer to the bottom of the fall ... beautiful rainbow !


Climbing to the top of Vernal Fall

15)  Stairs to top of Vernal Fall
- Lower left: Looking up the stairs
- Lower right: Looking down the stairs


Vernal Fall - Top

16)  At top of Vernal Fall ~~~
- Lower pic: Red arrow: Grizzly Peak


17)  I am at the railing of the previous pic, looking down at the fall.


18)  (Continuation to the right of previous pic)
- Merced River just before it plunges down Vernal Fall
(To enlarge the image, click on it.)


Emerald Pool & Silver Apron

19)  Not far to the right of previous pic is this quieter part of the river called Emerald Pool.
Red oval: Silver Apron ... Merced River flows down the Silver Apron into Emerald Pool.


First glimpse of Half Dome

20)  Near where the previous pic was taken, I have my first glimpse of Half Dome.
- The 3 red arrows point to, from left to right:
       1 Half Dome
       2 Mt Boderik
       3 Liberty Cap
- It is still a long way to Half Dome. The trail is not directly towards it. The trail goes towards the right edge of this pic. Then turns to way behind Mt Boderik and Liberty Cap, then turns left towards Half Dome.


Another footbridge over Merced River

21)  About to cross Merced River again, and for the last time.
(The previous crossing was in photo #9.)


22)  On the footbridge of the previous pic ~~~
- Upper pic: Facing upstream
- Lower pic: Facing downstream
       • Red arrow: Grizzly Peak
       • 2 red ovals: Emerald Pool & Silver Apron ... refer to photo #19


Nevada Fall - bottom

23)  Approaching Nevada Fall ~~~
- Right pic: Merced River flowing off Nevada Fall


Climbing towards the top of Nevada Fall

24)  Climbing up towards the top of Nevada Fall


25)  Plenty of these purple flowers by the side of the trail.  If you know what they are, please let me know.


26)  Climbing up towards the top of Nevada Fall ~~~
- Upper pic: Red Oval: These 2 girls are fast. They soon overtake me.
- Lower pic: They are the 2 girls in the red oval of the upper pic.


Junction of Mist Trail & John Muir Trail

27)  In fact, the junction is the end of Mist Trail and I am looking down at the stairs of Mist Trail leading to the junction.
When one reaches the junction:
- Turn right (south) is a short hike to the top of Nevada Fall. I'll go there in the return trip.
- For now, I'll turn left (north) and head for Half Dome.


28)  I've passed the junction mentioned in the previous pic.
This is Merced River not far from the junction.


To Little Yosemite Valley Campground

29)  Now on the trail to Little Yosemite Valley Campground


30)  Further along the trail ~~~
- Upper pic: Looking at Liberty Cap ... This rocky peak was featured in photo #20.
- Lower pic: Further along the trail ... I have my first good view of the impressive Half Dome !


To Subdome

I've past Little Yosemite Valley Campground and didn't go in. I'll visit the place on the way back ... see photos #73 and #74.

31)  Forest scene ... not far after passing Little Yosemite Valley Campground


32)  Around where the previous pic was taken, someone had scribbled this message on the trail:
       ARNOT
       YOU GLAD
       you're hiking
       HALF DOME
Well, that's exactly my feeling now  :-)


33)  These are magnificent trees ... If you know their name, please let me know.


34)  Another magnificent tree ... If you know its name, please let me know.
- Right pic: Same tree as the one in left pic
- Lower right pic: Plenty of pines cones around ... The one here may not belong to this tree.


35)  More of the majestic trees ... If you know their names, please let me know.
The lichen covering the trees are Letharia vulpina, commonly known as the Wolf Lichen.


36)  Letharia vulpina, commonly known as the Wolf Lichen covering the bark of a tree.
Can someone please let me know the name of the tree.


37)  Closer to Half Dome now, but still a long way to hike up there !
- Lower pic: Red oval: This rocky dome in front of Half Dome is called Subdome. It will be a steep slog just to climb up there ... See photos #44 to #46.


38)  More pictures of Half Dome


39)  I am now high enough to start having a decent view of the Sierra Nevada Range in the Yosemite National Park area ... in particular:
- Upper pic: The 4 red arrows point to, from left to right:
       1 Tenaya Peak
       2 Quarter Dome
       3 Clouds Rest ... Had I failed in the lottery draw for the Half Dome climbing permit, this is my backup mountain.
       4 The Pinnacles


40)  Walking further forward ~~~
- This pic and photos #41 to #43 form a 360-degree panorama. (To enlarge the image, click on it.)
- The 5 red arrows point to:
       1 Clouds Rest ... towards north-east-ish
       2 Mt Clark ... towards south-east-ish
       3 Gray Peak
       4 Mt Starr King ... towards south
       5 Part of Mt Starr King complex ... a peak to the north-west of Mt Starr King


41)  Closer look at the scenes in the previous pic ~~~
- Upper pic: Zooming into the middle part of photo #40
       • The 2 red arrows point to, from left to right:
            1 Mt Clark ... towards south-east-ish
            2 Gray Peak
- Lower pic: Zooming into the right part of photo #40 (also continuation to the right of the upper pic)
       • The 2 red arrows point to, from left to right:
            1 Mt Starr King ... towards south
            2 Part of Mt Starr King complex ... a peak to the north-west of Mt Starr King


42)  Half Dome ~~~
- Upper pic: (Continuation to the right of previous pic)
- Lower pic: Closer view of Half Dome; and Subdome in front of it
       • Small red circle: Hikers
       • Red oval: The cable route
       • Blue oval: Top of Subdome


43)  (Continuation to the right of photo #42 ... To enlarge the image, click on it.)
- Red arrow: Mt Hoffmann ... towards north
- Continuation to the right of this pic is photo #40, thus completing a 360-degree panorama.


Climbing up Subdome

So far you don't need a climbing permit to hike to where photos #42/43 were taken. But from then on, to climb up Subdome and then Half Dome later on, you would need a permit.

44)  Climbing up Subdome ~~~
Stairs cut into the rocks
- Upper pic: Red arrow: Mt Starr King


45)  It is a long and steep climb, guarantee to tire you quickly  :-)
(Lower pic is taken while I'm on my way down ... the clouds have come in at that time and the sky is no longer blue.)


46)  Looking down the slope at hikers climbing up Subdome ~~~
- Lower pic:
       • The 5 arrows point to, from left to right:
            1 Polly Dome
            2 Tenaya Peak
            3 Quarter Dome
            4 Clouds Rest
            5 The Pinnacles
       • The large valley below Tenaya Peak is Tenaya Canyon & Tenaya Creek ... Also, refer to photo #69.


47)  180-degree panorama from the slope of Subdome ... at the same spot as where the previous pic was taken ~~~
- Upper pic:
       • The 6 red arrow point to, from left to right:
            1 Mt Hoffmann ... towards north-ish
            2 Tuolumne Peak
            3 Mt Watlkins
            4 ???
            5 Polly Dome
            6 Tenaya Peak
- Lower pic: (Continuation to the right of the upper pic)
       • The 5 red arrow point to, from left to right:
            1 Quarter Dome
            2 Clouds Rest ... towards north-east-ish
            3 The Pinnacles
            4 Mt Clark ... towards south-east-ish
            5 Gray Peak


At top of Subdome

48)  Now at the top of Subdome, looking at Half Dome ~~~
- The name "Half Dome" comes from its shape ... like a dome cut in half  :-)
- Red oval: Cables to help you to climb up the rock face ... It is almost vertical.
- Average return trip of the Half Dome hike is 10 hours.
       • To reach here from the trailhead takes about 5 hours.
       • Then another 20 minnutes to climb up the cables.
- This pic and the 3 pics in photo #49 form a 360-degree panorama.


49)  (Continuation to the right of previous pic)
- Upper pic:
       • The 2 red arrow point to, from left to right:
            1 Mt Hoffmann ... towards north-ish
            2 Tuolumne Peak
- Middle pic: (Continuation to the right of the upper pic)
       • Foreground is the top of Subdome. Hikers taking a rest before tackling Half Dome.
       • The 7 red arrow point to, from left to right:
            1 Tuolumne Peak
            2 Mt Watlkins ... towards north-north-east-ish
            3 ???
            4 Polly Dome
            5 Tenaya Peak
            6 Clouds Rest
            7 The Pinnacles ... towards east-north-east-ish
- Lower pic: (Continuation to the right of the middle pic)
       • The 4 red arrow point to, from left to right:
            1 Mt Clark ... towards south-east
            2 Gray Peak
            3 Mt Starr King
            4 Part of Mt Starr King complex (towards south) ... a peak to the north-west of Mt Starr King
- Continuation to the right of the lower pic is photo #48, thus completing a 360-degree panorama.


At bottom of cable route to Half Dome

50)  This pic is looking back at Subdome from the bottom of the cable route to Half Dome ~~~
- At the top of Subdome are hikers taking a rest.
- 3 red arrow point to, from left to right:
       1 Polly Dome
       2 Tenaya Peak
       3 Clouds Rest
- Red semi-circle: Cables at the bottom of the cable route


51)  180-degree panorama ... standing at the same spot as where the previous pic was taken ~~~
Looking back towards Subdome:
- Upper pic:
       • Red oval: Top of Subdome ... You can see hikers resting there.
       • The 7 red arrow point to, from left to right:
            1 Mt Hoffmann ... towards north-ish
            2 Tuolumne Peak
            3 Mt Watlkins ... towards north-north-east-ish
            4 ???
            5 Polly Dome
            6 Tenaya Peak
            7 Clouds Rest
- Lower pic: (Continuation to the right of the upper pic)
       • The 4 red arrow point to, from left to right:
            1 Mt Clark ... towards south-east
            2 Gray Peak
            3 Mt Starr King
            4 Part of Mt Starr King complex (towards south) ... a peak to the north-west of Mt Starr King


52)  Gloves abandoned by hikers after climbing Half Dome ~~~
You would need gloves to hold onto the cables. If you forgot to take a pair to the climb, you can pick up one from here.


Half Dome Cable Route

53)  This is the world-renowned Half Dome cable route.
- Upper pic, red arrow: The gloves of the previous pic are here.


54)  Facing down slope ... It is steep !


55)  Facing up slope


56)  The cables end here.
- The 5 red arrows point to, from left to right:
       1 Polly Dome
       2 Tenaya Peak
       3 Quarter Dome
       4 Clouds Rest
       5 The Pinnacles


Top of Half Dome

Once you are off the cables, a few more steps will take you to the top of Half Dome.

57)  Some cairns to greet you after you get off the cables.


58)  Finally, I am at the top of Half Dome, 2694 meters in elevation.
- Upper pic: Me ... with an overhang called "The Visor" as background
- Lower pic: Red circle: Me ... at The Visor
Some people mistakenly call the overhang "Diving Board". It is actually called "The Visor". There is a "Diving Board" but it is below Half Dome, and is a separate walk from the Half Dome hike. It is where Ansel Adams took his famous photograph "Monolith, The Face of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, 1927".

You can hike to the Diving Board, but it is not nearly as popular as the Half Dome hike.


59)  More photographs of The Visor ~~~
- Red circle: Yosemite Village ... towards east
- The large green valley running vertically from top to bottom of the pic is Yosemite Valley.
- Lower pic: Together with photos #60 and #61, they form a 360-degree panorama.


60)  (Continuation to the right of the previous pic)
- Upper pic:
       • The 5 red arrow point to, from left to right:
            1 Mt Hoffmann
            2 Tuolumne Peak
            3 Mt Watlkins ... towards north-north-east-ish
            4 Polly Dome
            5 Tenaya Peak
- Lower pic: (Continuation to the right of the upper pic)
       • The 4 red arrow point to, from left to right:
            1 Clouds Rest
            2 The Pinnacles ... towards east-north-east-ish
            3 Mt Clark ... towards south-east
            4 Gray Peak
- Continuation to the right of the lower pic is photo #61.


61)  (Continuation to the right of the previous pic)
From the top of Half Dome, towards south-west is a 2684-meter rocky mound. I'm heading towards it now.
- Upper pic:
       • Red arrow: Mt Starr King ... towards south-south-east-ish
       • Continuation to the right of this pic is photo #59's lower pic, thus completing a 360-degree panorama.
- Lower pic: Zooming to the 2684-meter rocky mound


At 2684-meter rocky mound south-west of Half Dome

62)  I'm now at the 2684-meter rocky mound, and looking back at Half Dome.
- The 4 red arrows point to, from left to right:
       1 Mt Hoffmann
       2 Top of Half Dome ... towards north-east
       3 Polly Dome
       4 Tenaya Peak
- This pic and the 3 pics in photo #63 form a 360-degree panorama.


63)  (Continuation to the right of previous pic)
- Upper pic:
       • The 4 red arrows point to, from left to right:
            1 Clouds Rest
            2 The Pinnacles ... towards east-north-east-ish
            3 Mt Clark ... towards south-east
            4 Gray Peak
- Middle pic: (Continuation to the right of upper pic)
       • Red arrow: Mt Starr King
- Lower pic: (Continuation to the right of middle pic)
       • Small red dot: I'm go there now to have a look. It has a good view of Yosemite Valley.
- Continuation to the right of lower pic is photo #62, thus completing a 360-degree panorama.


64)  Now at the red dot of the previous pic and looking back at Half Dome.
- Upper pic: Top of Half Dome
- Lower pic:
       • Left red arrow: Mt Hoffmann
       • Right red arrow: Tuolumne Peak ... towards north-north-east-ish
       • This pic and the 3 pics in photo #65 form a 360-degree panorama.


65)  (Continuation to the right of previous pic)
- Upper pic:
       • Left half of the pic: 2684-meter rocky mound south-west of Half Dome ... I was standing on top of that mound when taking photos #62 and #63.
       • Red arrow: Mt Starr King ... towards south-south-east-ish
- Middle pic: (Continuation to the right of upper pic)
       • Red arrow: Mt Starr King ... towards south-south-east-ish
       • Small yellow dot: Carpark where I started the hike to Half Dome early this morning
- Lower pic: (Continuation to the right of the middle pic)
       • Red circle: Yosemite Village
       • Yosemite Valley (towards east) is the large dark green valley near the left edge of this pic.
       • Mercer River runs in Yosemite Valley.
- Continuation to the right of lower pic is photo #64's lower pic, thus completing a 360-degree panorama.


66)  The small red dot in the lower pic of photo #63 is on the north side of the 2684-meter rocky mound. I am now at the south side of the mound.
- The 4 red arrows point to, from left to right:
       1 Mt Clark ... towards south-east
       2 Gray Peak
       3 Mt Starr King ... towards south-south-east-ish
       4 Liberty Cap .. towards south


At The Visor of Half Dome

67)  I'm now at The Visor (photo #59).
The 3 pics below plus the 2 pics in photo #68 form a 360-degree panorama.
- Upper pic:
       • Red arrow: Mt Starr King
       • Red oval: 2684-meter rocky mound south-west of Half Dome ... I was standing on top of that mound when taking photos #62 and #63.
- Middle pic:
       • Left red circle: Carpark where I started the hike to Half Dome early this morning
       • Right red circle: Yosemite Village
       • Yosemite Valley (towards east) is between the 2 red circles.
       • Mercer River runs in Yosemite Valley.
- Lower pic:
       • Red circle: Yosemite Village


68)  (Continuation to the right of previous pic)
- Upper pic:
       • The 5 red arrows point to, from left to right:
            1 Mt Hoffmann
            2 Tuolumne Peak
            3 Mt Watlkins ... towards north-north-east-ish
            4 Polly Dome
            5 Tenaya Peak ... towards north-east
       • The main valley below Tenaya Peak is Tenaya Canyon. Tenaya Creek flows there.
- Lower pic: (Continuation to the right of the upper pic)
       • Main feature in this pic is the area near the highest point of Half Dome.
       • The 2 red arrows point to, from top to bottom:
            1 Clouds Rest ... towards east-north-east-ish
            2 Quarter Dome
- Continuation to the right of lower pic is photo #67, thus completing a 360-degree panorama.


69)  Another look at the beautiful valley from The Visor:
- The 7 red arrows point to, from left to right:
       1 Mt Hoffmann
       2 Tuolumne Peak
       3 Mt Watlkins ... towards north-north-east-ish
       4 Polly Dome
       5 Tenaya Peak ... towards north-east
       6 Quarter Dome
       7 Clouds Rest ... towards east-north-east-ish
- The main valley below Tenaya Peak is Tenaya Canyon. Tenaya Creek flows there.
- The cliffs on the right side of the pic belongs to Half Dome ... Refer to the lower pic of photo #68.

That's it, the end of the climb to Half Dome.

Start to retrace steps back to the car.


Fauna around Half Dome

70)  Plenty of squirrels all the way from the carpark to the top of Half Dome


71)  And plenty of this Sierra Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis taylori) from the carpark to the top of Half Dome too.
They are often seen darting across granite slabs or heard skittering through dry leaves.


72)  I heard a rattle and found this Northern Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus). It is too quick for me ... It ducks its head under a log before I can click on the camera !


Little Yosemite Valley Campground

On the way back to the carpark, I make a detour to Little Yosemite Valley Campground.

73)  At the campground ~~~
- Upper pic: Toilet block
- Lower pic: It is a large campground. This pic is a small part of the area.


74)  From the campground, looking north-west at Half Dome (left red arrow) and Subdome (right red arrow)
Above pic is similar to the lower pic of photo #30. There, I was on the trail not far west of the campground ... hence the similarity between the 2 pics.


Junction of Mist Trail & John Muir Trail (again)

75)  I'm going to take a detour to visit Nevada Fall.
The detour starts here, at the junction of Mist Trail & John Muir Trail. This is where photo #27 was taken.
- The stairs in photo #27 is to the left of this pic.
- The building here is a toilet block.
- The mountain dominating the scene is Liberty Cap.


Detour to Nevada Fall

76)  On John Muir Trail to Nevada Fall ~~~
- Upper pic: Zooming into the red square of the middle pic
       • Near the right edge of this pic is where Merced River plunges down Nevada Fall.
- Middle pic: John Muir Trail to Nevada Fall
       • Red square: The upper pic zooms into this area.
- Lower pic: Closer to Nevada Fall


Nevada Fall

77)  Merced River ~~~
Shortly after flowing pass the bridge in this pic, Merced River plunges down Nevada Fall ... just beyond the right edge of the pic.



78)  Merced River ~~~
- Picture taken while standing on the bridge of the previous pic ... looking upstream
- I was standing at the railing on the left edge of this pic when taking the previous photograph.


79)  Merced River ~~~
- Picture taken from the bridge in photo #77 ... looking downstream at the river plunging down Nevada Fall
- Red arrow: Grizzly Peak


80)  Merced River plunging down Nevada Fall ... from another view point


81)  This is it, Nevada Fall !


82)  Liberty Cap towers over Nevada Fall.

Afterwards, it is retracing steps back to where photo #75 was taken, then back to the car.

However, if I am to re-do this hike, at Nevada Fall, I would continute along John Muir Trail to Clark Point. From Clark Point, cut back to Mist Trail. 


Comment

It is definitely a memorably hike !  No wonder so many people like to climb Half Dome !

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