Lost Creek Wilderness {November 2011}

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Half Dome Cables

Permit reservation day: 8 am Mountain Time, March 1st 

From Recreation.gov

Beginning in 2011, each person who ascends Half Dome via the Cable Route is required to have a permit every day of the week that the cables are in place (mid-May/early June through Columbus Day weekend in October, depending on snow conditions). Although wilderness permits can be secured up to six months in advance, a day-hike permit cannot be reserved until a specified date - in our case, March 1st.

You can only reserve a day-hike permit online through Recreation.gov as early as 7 am Pacific Time (8 am Mountain Time). Out of a 400 per-day permit quota, there were none remaining at 8:05 am for June 21st, the day we'd planned our climb. Within minutes of becoming available, every single day in both May and June was sold out {July hikes can't be reserved until April 1st, otherwise I can guarantee that the month would be sold out as well}. Thankfully, Justin and I were among the lucky 400 ... we had ours reserved and confirmed by 8:01!

Apparently I've underestimated the popularity of this hike (despite the craziness of day-hike permit demand). We'd been unable to obtain a wilderness permit allowing us to camp at Little Yosemite Valley on the night of the 20th (thus dividing our 17-mile round trip - & 4,800 feet of elevation gain - climb into two parts); every day through mid-August was completely reserved. However, the park service allows only 60% of these permits for any particular trailhead to be reserved ahead of time; the other 40% is held for hikers the day of travel, or up to 24 hours in advance. So, if we can make it to the wilderness office long before they open on the 19th, we should be good to go. If not, at least we've ensured a day-hike permit and the opportunity of a lifetime to climb this famous granite rock formation.

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