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Throughout the Years, Half Dome Beckons

July 20, 2002

Thank you for your July 15 article and pictures on the present state of affairs regarding the Half Dome climb in Yosemite National Park. I have never seen a better view of the back of Half Dome and the cable ladder. I was very surprised to read of the high volume of hikers these days.

My first visit to the park was in the early summer of 1932, when park visits were limited to two or three weeks to prevent campers from staying all summer. There were no specific campsites; you set up your tent, or whatever, where it was convenient. The only rule given by the park ranger was "No nails in the trees."

The following year my dad, brother and I set out to climb Half Dome, first hiking to the top of the Upper Yosemite Falls as a warmup two days prior. We left Happy Isles about 7:30 a.m., went up the mist trail and from there on encountered no one on the trail all the way to the top of the Dome. Outside of scaling the Dome, the toughest part of the hike was going up the shale trail on the left approach to the top of Vernal Falls. Once on top we did see three or four other people, but they were to our left on the slightly lower elevation. As I recall, the scariest part of the trip was starting down the cable near the top. It appeared that we would walk right off the face of the Earth. I was 10 years old at the time and will never forget the thrill of that climb.

T.W. Harrigan

El Camino Village

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