A view of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park on August 28, 2013.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Hiking Cables Re-Installed On Yosemite's Half Dome

Tim Ryan
June 16, 2019 - 12:15 am

It's been a full century since someone got the bright idea to install trail cables atop Half Dome at Yosemite National Park.

And that bright idea sustains. To the delight of hikers descending on the park in the summer months. the cables have been re-installed for the hiking season.

Park Ranger Scott Gediman expects that, as in previous years, the cables will see their share of use on Yosemite’s iconic peak.

"Folks look at Half Dome; it's sort of the unofficial symbol of Yosemite National Park,” Gediman said. “So, it's just one of those things that people see it… and you can see it throughout Yosemite Valley. It's on the eastern end of the valley and it just has this allure."

The cables are at the very end of the 15-mile hike up Half Dome, a march that takes most people more than 10 grueling hours. But climbers may only go for the summit if they win one of the 300 permits offered daily to scale the cables. 

Gediman said some days are easier than others to win a permit. 

"Best advice for folks is, get a permit midweek," said Gediman. "If someone doesn't have a permit already, I would say just go on [the Yosemite National Park> website and the best days of the week [to apply for a permit> are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays."

Park officials decided this year to make another 50 permits available each day in a second lottery that will be based on cancellations and no-shows.

Those who get the chance to summit Half Dome are in for the same iconic views that inspired mountaineers like John Muir or George Anderson, who was the first person to reach the top of Half Dome more than 100 years ago.