How to Climb Half Dome

Many experienced and amateur hikers wonder how to climb Half Dome. The Half Dome is located in Yosemite National Park and is an amazing and beautiful location for a hike.  The following guide will help you climb Half Dome safely and effectively.

To climb Half Dome, you will need:

  • Bottled water
  • A map
  • Hiking shoes
  • First Aid Kit
  • Ponchos
  • Sunscreen
  • Tennis balls
  • Bug repellent
  • Gloves
  1. The round trip hike at Half Dome is about 17 miles.  So the first step to climbing Half Dome is adequate training. You will not be able to make this hike if you are not in good physical shape.  Practice on several shorter hikes in the weeks prior and exercise everyday. You should make sure that your body is in peak physical shape to endure such a strenuous activity.
  2. Practice climbing stairs.  Part of the Half Dome climb will include a stone staircase.  You will improve your ability to climb the stone stairs if you alternate between climbing up one and two steps at a time in your training. Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work or run stairs at the nearest high school or college sports stadium near you.
  3. Another part of the Half Dome climb features hand rails.  You will have to be able to pull yourself along the path, requiring large amounts of arm and upper body strength. Squeeze tennis balls to help train your hands to grip tightly. Push-ups and pull-ups will also help train your upper body.
  4. The day of your hike, arrive at Yosemite as early as you can.  If you can arrive a few days before your hike you will have even more time to adjust to the altitude.
  5. Make sure that your bag is properly packed with all the essentials of a hiking trip
  6. Start hiking as early in the morning as possible.
  7. Start your hike at the Happy Isles trail head and then continue to Mist trail.  Follow the signs along the path to continue your hike.
  8. When you arrive at the cables, wear gloves during your climb to protect your hands. You do not want to get a cable burn.
  9. Try taking the John Muir trail on the way back.  This trail will not have large crowds, which can make the hike more enjoyable.  The John Muir trail is slightly longer than the Mist trail, but well worth it because you'll be avoiding the crowds.
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