Pashnit Motorcycle Forum

CA Moto Roads Get your Pashnit PASHNIT
Go Back   Pashnit Motorcycle Forum > Pashnit Roads, Rides & Bikes > California - Road Trips & Pics, pics, pics

Notices


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-12-2006, 09:17 PM   #1
parkmeister
cager on a scooter
 
parkmeister's Avatar
 
Name: Gary

Location:
  Sacramento

Motorcycle:
  01 VFR800

Join Date: Sep 2005

Posts: 89
Yosemite's Half Dome: Journey to the Top

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves." - John Muir

View from the top of Half Dome: Tenaya Canyon and the High Sierras on Saturday, October 7, 2006:

Name:  01PA070123e.JPG
Views: 1067
Size:  84.7 KB

Name:  02PA070136e.JPG
Views: 1059
Size:  83.5 KB

I apologize up front for the fact that there is nothing motorcycle related in this post. However, it is apparent that many here at Pashnit.com have a deep appreciation for the beauty of nature in general and the grandeur and majesty of Yosemite and California's Sierra Nevada Mountains in particular. I have spent many, many hours on Pashnit.com enjoying the numerous posts of rides throughout this wonderful mountain range. I am especially inspired and delighted by the beautiful and sublime images captured by Tim/Pashnit, Donna/Demenshea, Will/Orson and of course, Chandi. In this post I offer you many of the same scenes, but from a slightly different perspective. With that in mind, I hope you enjoy my little sans moto travelogue.


The hike to the top of Half Dome from the Valley floor is approximately seventeen miles long, gains 4,800 feet to a peak elevation of 8,842', and takes about ten to twelve hours to complete. The booklet given to visitors at the park entrance lists a variety of hikes, this being the only one rated "Extremely Strenuous".

Name:  03PA070001ae.JPG
Views: 1063
Size:  110.2 KB

While driving through Yosemite Valley to the trailhead at oh-dark-thirty, I witnessed the full moon descending to the west over a misty meadow.

Name:  04PA070030e.JPG
Views: 1050
Size:  19.7 KB

A terribly poor substitute for my morning cup of Peet's.

Name:  05PA070004e.JPG
Views: 1043
Size:  106.5 KB

Our group of five headed out at 5:25 am, the path illuminated solely by headlamps as the full moon had set beyond the western rim of the valley. In darkness, we shuffled along the trail, over bridges, and then up the "Mist Trail" which is basically a gigantic granite staircase climbing alongside Vernal Falls. In the dim light, it felt as though I was scaling the Stairs of Cirith Ungol. The gray light of dawn began to emerge in the eastern sky as we approached the top of Nevada Falls. The five of us work at a Cessna Citation maintenance hangar in Sacramento. L to R: My crew chief Bob, Bob's son and my fellow wrench Dave, avionics Jerry, and inspector Ted. (Citations are Cessna's version of a Learjet).

Name:  06PA070032e.JPG
Views: 1030
Size:  72.1 KB

Dawn over the Merced River in Little Yosemite Valley.

Name:  07PA070045e.JPG
Views: 1025
Size:  64.4 KB

Name:  08PA070044e.JPG
Views: 1016
Size:  58.0 KB

Our elevation is now somewhere around 6,000', the sunrise is near at hand, and it's a little chilly. But the beauty of the forest fills me with warmth and I am so appreciative and grateful to be here, experiencing this moment.

Name:  09PA070060e.JPG
Views: 1024
Size:  117.0 KB

Name:  10PA070057e.JPG
Views: 1013
Size:  128.3 KB

This webcam shot portrays the iconic image of the northwest face Half Dome, looking east from Yosemite Valley. (http://www.yosemite.org/vryos/sentinelcam.htm)

Name:  11acam101006.jpg
Views: 1017
Size:  75.1 KB

Here is a less common view; it's the southeast 'backside' of Half Dome, basking in the warm morning sunshine.

Name:  11bPA070066e.JPG
Views: 996
Size:  94.3 KB

The trail wends its way through a forest of among other trees, mighty ponderosa pines and fragrant incense cedars, eventually leading up to a ridge which affords the hiker a peak down into Tenaya Canyon. Exfoliation is a specific type of weathering of the granitic rock found throughout the Sierras. From Wikipedia:

"Hard rock such as granite forms plutons (a rising blob of lighter rock (similar in form to those seen in a lava lamp, but far larger) several kilometers below the surface as magma slowly cools and crystallizes. The granite is under great pressure due to overlying rock. Then, granite is rapidly uplifted to the surface during a mountain-building event. During the mountain building process, the overlying rock is stripped away by erosion as the granite is uplifted. With the overlying rock removed, the pressure on the granite is reduced. The granite expands and fractures. These fractures, called sheet joints, develop parallel to the exposed surface. The granite subsequently erodes in concentric layers (similar to the way an onion peels) forming rounded masses called exfoliation domes. Many such domes are found in the Sierra Nevada range in California, which includes the most famous exfoliation dome in the United States, Half Dome."

Oh yeah, one other fact: exfoliating rock can be strikingly beautiful.

Name:  12PA070082e.JPG
Views: 1000
Size:  103.9 KB

The high peak on the right is Clouds Rest; it rises above Half Dome to 9,926'.

Name:  13PA070101e.JPG
Views: 992
Size:  94.7 KB

And then there were three; Jerry had been fighting a nasty cold the previous week, was tapped out, and couldn't continue up the hill. Ted, who had summitted Half Dome and many other more difficult peaks had nothing to prove and stayed behind with Jerry. So Bob, Dave, and I continued onward and upward, slowly but surely moving towards the top.

Name:  14PA070106e.JPG
Views: 997
Size:  134.4 KB

Another shot of Clouds Rest in morning shadow. From the peak to the canyon floor, the north slope is almost all solid granite rock as evidenced by the lack of vegetation.

Name:  15PA070107e.JPG
Views: 989
Size:  79.0 KB

Here's Bob at the bottom of the cables, we're almost there! A pair of steel cables run about 900' over the steepest section of the northeast shoulder. They are suspended by metal poles placed in holes drilled into the rock; the poles are not secured to the rock and can be pulled out, as the astonished hiker in front of me discovered unexpectedly. Across the base of the metal poles are two by four wood studs, spaced about ten feet apart. It's kinda like climbing a giant ladder. Kinda.

Name:  16PA070112es.JPG
Views: 994
Size:  132.7 KB

Here are some weathering pits in the granite near the base of the cables. They are filled with the meltwater from the previous day's hail and afternoon thundershowers.

Name:  17PA070115e.JPG
Views: 986
Size:  114.6 KB

Name:  18PA070117es.JPG
Views: 963
Size:  130.4 KB

Name:  19PA070118e.JPG
Views: 982
Size:  132.9 KB

Another shot of the cables with the overhanging rock at the top of the sheer northwest face.

Name:  20PA070119e.JPG
Views: 958
Size:  111.8 KB

"We made it to the top! " Bob tells his wife via mobile phone at 11 am, five and a half hours after leaving the parking lot. Others on top have their phones whipped out as well. Technology is so cool.

Name:  21PA070124e.JPG
Views: 968
Size:  87.9 KB

Dave hanging ten.

Name:  22PA070127es.JPG
Views: 967
Size:  78.2 KB

View to the east.

Name:  23PA070157e.JPG
Views: 965
Size:  65.4 KB

Looking south east, Little Yosemite Valley is in the foreground with cabin shaped Mount Clark to the right of center, followed by Gray Peak, and then Red Peak.

Name:  24PA070158e.JPG
Views: 958
Size:  66.9 KB

Looking south over the top of Half Dome.

Name:  25PA070132es.JPG
Views: 957
Size:  96.8 KB

Here is the classic view of Yosemite Valley, from the west end looking east. In my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful vistas in the entire world. (not my photo)

Name:  26avalley.jpg
Views: 956
Size:  91.5 KB

And here is Yosemite Valley from the top of Half Dome; kinda disappointing to me, actually. The guy in red is pointing towards Glacier Point and the 'prow' of El Capitan can be seen in the center of the photo.

Name:  26bPA070130e.JPG
Views: 948
Size:  89.4 KB

But Tenaya Canyon is awesome.

Name:  27PA070133es.JPG
Views: 954
Size:  97.9 KB

Chow time.

Name:  28PA070139e.JPG
Views: 948
Size:  85.2 KB

Macro shot of weathered rock.

Name:  29PA070145es.JPG
Views: 949
Size:  86.2 KB

A cairn keeping a watchful eye on the tourists.

Name:  30PA070149e.JPG
Views: 942
Size:  73.9 KB

A really imaginative cairn.

Name:  31PA070152es.JPG
Views: 942
Size:  85.2 KB

Aviva and her really imaginative cairn. We helped out with her creation as the cantilevered rocks had to be held in place until the 'headstones' were set in place.

Name:  32PA070154e.JPG
Views: 955
Size:  80.3 KB

Bob and Dave on the Devil's Divingboard

Name:  33PA070162e.JPG
Views: 943
Size:  109.0 KB

It's a long, long, lloooooonngg way down.

Name:  34PA070165e.JPG
Views: 926
Size:  120.4 KB

What goes up must come down.

Name:  35PA070166e.JPG
Views: 951
Size:  80.3 KB

We started down at noon, which coincided perfectly with the rush hour traffic ascending the cables. Great.

Name:  36PA070169e.JPG
Views: 944
Size:  105.3 KB

Ants marching.

Name:  37PA070172e.JPG
Views: 936
Size:  90.6 KB

Clouds Rest and Tenaya Canyon in the afternoon sun. The clouds looked ominous to the east but only fair weather cumulus floated by in our vicinity.

Name:  38PA070174e.JPG
Views: 928
Size:  96.5 KB

I originally thought this was a stunted giant sequoia but Bob informed me that it is an incense cedar. The trunk is around seven or eight feet in diameter at the base. Tall, strong, lithe, smells great and loves the outdoors; we're meeting for drinks next Friday...

Name:  39PA070185ae.JPG
Views: 938
Size:  85.8 KB

Another shot of the backside of Half Dome. It's tough to see in this reduced image, but the cables and hikers are visible against the sky on the steepest slope in the center of the photo.

Name:  40PA070189e.JPG
Views: 924
Size:  96.2 KB

Coming down or going up the trail, this is a natural resting point, just above Nevada Falls. In the autumn, the placid waters of the Merced River beckon.

Name:  41PA070197ae.JPG
Views: 924
Size:  93.0 KB

Name:  42PA070199e.JPG
Views: 930
Size:  131.2 KB

But chilly water and slippery rock dictate that prudence must be exercised to avoid cascading down the falls.

Name:  43PA070211e.JPG
Views: 926
Size:  132.7 KB

Nevada Falls and Liberty Cap.

Name:  44PA070215e.JPG
Views: 926
Size:  104.3 KB

Mobile road apple factories.

Name:  45PA070218e.JPG
Views: 913
Size:  152.8 KB

The choices down from the top of Nevada Falls back to the trailhead are either seriously steep on the John Muir Trail or ridiculously steep on the Mist Trail. Toes get smashed into the front of your boots and knees, hips, and back get jarred mercilessly with every step down. Not fun at all. But it's part of the package and well worth the exertion. If it were any easier, it just wouldn't be as satisfying. The discomfort of sore legs fades quickly but to have been here is unforgettable:

Name:  46PA070129e.JPG
Views: 909
Size:  65.6 KB

It has been suggested that we "Take only photos, Leave only footprints." And that is precisely what I did.

See ya,

Gary
__________________
51% smartass, 49% dumbass
parkmeister is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2006, 11:06 PM   #2
Loki
stirring the pot
 
Loki's Avatar
 
Name: Jim

Location:
  Pacific Grove

Motorcycle:
  Changes weekly

Join Date: May 2005

Posts: 3,095
Re: Yosemite's Half Dome: Journey to the Top

Awesome photos. Fantastic report. I hiked up there once many years ago. by the end of the journey, my shins were in pain. After a good nights rest, I was fine. Next hiking adventure has to be Mt Whitney.
__________________
"If you are not getting as much from life as you want to, then examine the state of your enthusiasm". Norman Vincent Peale
Loki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2006, 05:25 AM   #3
G8ESCAP
AKA Gixxerdale
 
G8ESCAP's Avatar
 
Name: Dale

Location:
  Mays Landing New Jersey

Motorcycle:
  4wd Dual Sport

Join Date: Apr 2005

Posts: 5,569
Re: Yosemite's Half Dome: Journey to the Top

What a great report and some really amazing photos. Thank you, as I've yet to go to Yosemite.
__________________
"The key to life is to die young, at a very old age"

"Ride like you own the road, and one day the road will own you"
G8ESCAP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2006, 05:52 AM   #4
Backmarker
Go ahead and pass me...
 
Backmarker's Avatar
 
Name: Renee

Location:
  Gilbert, AZ

Motorcycle:
  Aprilia Mille RSVR, Yamaha TTR-125L

Join Date: Jan 2005

Posts: 1,591
Send a message via AIM to Backmarker
Re: Yosemite's Half Dome: Journey to the Top

Sigh... I love Yosemite. One of the most beautiful places on this planet. Your photos are amazing. Following you from trailhead all the way up to the top. Fascinating. That 'ladder' deal? Umm, no thanks!

Glad you made it safe and sound and now have memories to last a lifetime. Or at least the photos in case the memory goes...

Thanks for sharing!!
__________________
Some people just don't know how to drive... I call these people "Everybody But Me."
Backmarker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2006, 06:28 AM   #5
z_bassman
Playing the low notes...
 
z_bassman's Avatar
 
Name: Sean

Location:
  Friant, CA

Motorcycle:
  Relying on others to cage me about.

Join Date: Nov 2004

Posts: 2,857
Send a message via ICQ to z_bassman Send a message via AIM to z_bassman Send a message via MSN to z_bassman Send a message via Yahoo to z_bassman
Re: Yosemite's Half Dome: Journey to the Top

I used to harbor a dream of climbing Half Dome. CHF has pretty much eliminated that. So I live through photos and stories such as yours. Awesome stuff! Thanks!
__________________

"A sunny day on a motorcycle in Tuscany...does not suck."
-Orson
http://zbassman.blogspot.com/
z_bassman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2006, 06:41 AM   #6
Helmetdance
Many Miles Away
 
Helmetdance's Avatar
 
Name: Mark

Location:
  Munster, Indiana

Motorcycle:
  '08 Hayabusa

Join Date: Jan 2005

Posts: 2,948
Re: Yosemite's Half Dome: Journey to the Top

Totally incredible report. The photos are just stunning. This is a side of Yosemite I have never seen before, the cables are wild, I've never seen photos of them before. What a beautiful place Yosemite is. Next time I am there, I must take time for one of these hikes. Thanks for an outstanding report!
Helmetdance is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2006, 07:20 PM   #7
Ally House
Playing the low notes 2
 
Ally House's Avatar
 
Name: Ally

Location:
  Eugene, OR

Motorcycle:
  FZ1

Join Date: Feb 2006

Posts: 3,500
Re: Yosemite's Half Dome: Journey to the Top

Beautiful pix!
__________________
'Those who sacrifice liberty for safety deserve neither'
Benj. Franklin
Ally House is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2006, 07:25 PM   #8
Sbyllek
I Miss my Bonneville...
 
Sbyllek's Avatar
 
Name: Kelly

Location:
  Chico CA

Motorcycle:
  Hubby's bike

Join Date: Aug 2006

Posts: 3,578
Send a message via AIM to Sbyllek Send a message via Yahoo to Sbyllek
Re: Yosemite's Half Dome: Journey to the Top

Incredible. Thanx for sharing the journey!
__________________
Language is the apparel in which our thoughts parade before the public.
Never clothe them in vulgar or shoddy attire.
Sbyllek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-14-2006, 10:02 AM   #9
BlackST
ST Rider
 
BlackST's Avatar
 
Name: Kurt

Location:
  San Jose

Motorcycle:
  ST1300

Join Date: Aug 2005

Posts: 77
Re: Yosemite's Half Dome: Journey to the Top

Thanks for sharing, great write up and pictures. Those cables are killer. I have seen grown men and women frozen in place after climbing part way up. Some are even sobbing. People have no idea how steep the cables are and the "fall" exposure on either side. One slip and goodbye. When I climb up those things I can only stare at the ground in front of my face. Hell my hands are sweating thinking about it.
My avatar is a shot from directly under the "devils divingboard" you can crawl in a space below it and sit down.
BlackST is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2006, 04:55 PM   #10
parkmeister
cager on a scooter
 
parkmeister's Avatar
 
Name: Gary

Location:
  Sacramento

Motorcycle:
  01 VFR800

Join Date: Sep 2005

Posts: 89
Re: Yosemite's Half Dome: Journey to the Top

Thanks to all for the kind words... but my head has swelled to three times its normal size and now my Shoei won't fit!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackST
Those cables are killer. I have seen grown men and women frozen in place after climbing part way up. Some are even sobbing.
Bummers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackST
My avatar is a shot from directly under the "devils divingboard" you can crawl in a space below it and sit down.
Cool avatar, I always thought you were hanging from a parachute. I had thought of a shot like yours, but it didn't hit me until I was back at the trailhead. My next time up, I'll be sure to check out the "cave".

See ya,

Gary
__________________
51% smartass, 49% dumbass
parkmeister is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Road with Big Gold Dome/Tibetan Studies Center Orson Travel Advice & Ride Routing 4 09-27-2008 08:37 AM
Hells Half Acre Rd. dynamike General 12 10-15-2006 03:22 PM
Half Moon Bay Chocoholic California - Road Trips & Pics, pics, pics 7 07-23-2006 05:21 PM
Bassman Climbs Sentinel Dome in Yosemite z_bassman California - Road Trips & Pics, pics, pics 38 10-17-2005 06:49 AM
It's been snowing up in the Sierra - Yosemite's Half Dome DaleC Motorcycle Photography 9 01-20-2005 07:25 PM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:02 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© Pashnit.com - All rights reserved
no new posts