October 29, 2013 - After our first failed attempt 4 years ago, we finally made the ascent up Half Dome. It was much easier than we had feared. Was it because we trained for the climb, or that we were better equipped, or was it because we took the shorter route from the valley floor? Well, probably all the above, but most importantly perhaps - the slow moving line of people was now gone.
A long climbing single-file line of people only moves as fast as the slowest climber - we encountered that problem four years ago. To cut down on the number of people making the climb, the National Park Service has instituted a lottery this year that allows only 300 people a day to make the attempt.
The difference is startling. Four years ago it would have taken 4 hours to traverse the final mile and a half. Today it can be done in less than an hour.
And with fewer people, the sometimes deadly climb is much safer as everyone can now go at their own speed.
Four years ago, Steve and Alison Delaney with Xanik Xeus began their trek to Half Dome from Glacier Point in Yosemite. The 23 mile round trip was a challenge but they hadn't anticipated the log-jam at sub dome - the steep, stepped hump that gives everyone a healthy warning dose of vertigo. People on the way down said it was going to take us four hours to make it to the top.
The difference in completing the climb or trying another year was the difference in returning in the dark at 10PM or 3AM. So we wimped out, promised to be better equipped the next time, better physical condition and we planned on leaving earlier, taking the shorter valley floor route.
And this time we'd be taking our daughter Athena and her husband Jonny McDonald.
This is the 3rd part of journey up Half Dome. This part is the ascent of Half-Dome itself.
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