Half Dome, July 2002

I was once told that the climb up Half Dome in Yosemite Valley was a challenging, yet not too difficult hike. Which is true, if you regularly run marathons, do triatholons, or any such super endurance sport.

It might not have been so bad if we'd actually brought enough water (like everyone said to), and not relied on water filters. Water filters only help you if there is water available to filter - which beyond about 1/2 way up, there isn't. Good shoes. I found out that good traction was necessary for the last bit of the climb, so my 5 year old, well-worn hiking boots did not meet the requirements.

My desperate fear of heights did not help, either.

(Click on image to see larger version)

Look at us - all happy and excited to start our hike, 8:45 AM.

The water falls were incredible.

Sean, keeping hydrated!

Topping off our water at the only water fountain I saw on the entire trail. 9:20AM.

Another water fall.

Sean and me - starting to get tired, but still managing to stay with the group. 12:35PM

Sean, at "quarter dome". A very nice resting place. 1:15PM.

It is really beautiful, though the pictures look hazy.

Me and Sean, still at "quarter dome". I'm exhausted, heart rate going steady around 170-185.

That's Half Dome - we still have to climb up the scary rickety "stairs". There are no pictures of those - I was too terrified.

Getting closer... but we've fallen behind the rest of the group.

Closer still... now you can see the people doing the final stretch, using the cables to pull themselves up the mountain. I found out, that is where really good shoes help. 2:00PM

Yep, I actually got about half way up the cables, but too many missing "resting" platforms, bad shoes, a general fear of heights, several terrifying slips, hands completely cramping up so I could no longer stop from falling, dehydration, being certain I was plunging to my death, and full scale panic sort of stopped that from happening.

Thanks to a doctor who was on his way up, Rolly who was on his way down, lots of hand and arm massaging so I could again feel my extremities, and Sean bearing my weight all the way back down - I was able to make it back off Half Dome without dying. 3:13PM.

A very disappointed Sean

We took the John Muir trail down, in addition to being less traveled and more beautiful, it has about a 1000 less "death stairs". Yeah, it's a bit longer, but so much nicer. 6:30PM

Sean, wandering down the trail.

Incredible views.

A tiny waterfall.

A last glimpse of Half Dome, the mountain that defeated me. 7:00PM.
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