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Half Dome

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Two Hoofers T 

Half Dome 


Photos: Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 7,000'
Location: 37.7442, -119.5349 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 609,503
Administrators: M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Josh Janes on Jun 15, 2006
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Evening light on Half Dome
Half Dome, South Face Closure MORE INFO >>>

Description 

The classic profile of Half Dome, recognizable worldwide, sits over the east end of Yosemite Valley like a distant guardian. Glaciers cleaved the dome clear in half, leaving incredible slab climbs on the sunny southern aspect such as Snake Dike (5.7) and Southern Belle (5.12) to amazingly steep lines on the NW face. The namesake route (the "Regular" route) on the NW face is one of many aid climbers' first objectives, but it makes for a great, adventurous free climb as well.

Even the hiking route up to the summit visor, via the cables, is classic, and it is no wonder why this formation was used for the North Face's logo.


Getting There 

Half Dome takes a bit of work to get to. There are generally two approaches used by climbers:

1) Hike up from Happy Isles up the Mist Trail through Little Yosemite Valley (approx. 8 miles to the shoulder of Half Dome).

2) Head over from Happy Isles past Mirror Lake and hike up the "Death Slabs".

Option 1 is smooth hiking and clearly the way to go for the south facing routes. Option 2 is significantly faster (for the NW face), in both directions, but requires skilled route finding, very steep hiking, and use of fixed lines.


Climbing Season


7 Total Routes


['4 Stars',4],['3 Stars',3],['2 Stars',0],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',1],['5.8',0],['5.9',0],['5.10',2],['5.11',2],['5.12',2],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Half Dome:
Snake Dike   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R     Trad, 8 pitches, 2000'   
Blondike   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c R     Trad, 7 pitches, 900'   
Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome   5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a     Trad, 23 pitches, 2200'   
Two Hoofers   5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b     Trad, 7 pitches, 1000'   
Browse More Classics in Half Dome

Featured Route For Half Dome
The lower pitches of the Southwest Face route.

The Southwest Face 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b  CA : Yosemite National Park : ... : Half Dome
The first modern climbing route on Half Dome, and the first grade V in Yosemite. Freed in about 1964 by Sacherer, Kamps, and Lichtman, this climb was popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but fell out of favor with the rise of clean climbing. With recent advances in clean gear, the protection is again reasonable (G to PG) with the exception of the belay stations.The topo and photo in Reid are excellent....[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of Half Dome Slideshow Add Photo
Surfing the Diving Board on Half Dome.
Surfing the Diving Board on Half Dome.
Half dome
Half dome
Half Dome in early April. My attempt on being Amsel Adams.
Half Dome in early April. My attempt on being Amse...
Early morning light on the South Face of Half Dome
Early morning light on the South Face of Half Dome
"It is a crest of granite...perfectly inaccessible, being probably the only one of the prominent points about the Yosemite which never has been, and never will be, trodden by human foot."  <br />-- California Geological Survey 1865 <br /> <br />Photo taken October 2011
"It is a crest of granite...perfectly inaccessible...
Me sitting on the diving board... a life dream fulfilled...
Me sitting on the diving board... a life dream ful...
Taken during the flood of Spring '05, when the valley was closed to visitors.  Watkins on the right.  Glacier Point beyond Half Dome.  The Cathedral group down valley in the distance.
Taken during the flood of Spring '05, when the val...
A stunning piece of earth.
A stunning piece of earth.
 <br />The Snake Dike side of Half Dome, and the glories of the high country beyond.

The Snake Dike side of Half Dome, and the glories...
Half Dome catches some sun during a storm
Half Dome catches some sun during a storm
Half Dome.  <br />Photo by Blitzo.
Half Dome.
Photo by Blitzo.
spent 3 days on wall in this poor weather
spent 3 days on wall in this poor weather
Halfdome on a nice autumn day...
Halfdome on a nice autumn day...
West and NW faces, taken 5.25.05.  Note the still significant snow tongue guarding the approach from the shoulder.  Crossing this in Spring can be a dicey proposition.
West and NW faces, taken 5.25.05. Note the still ...
Pastel.
Pastel.
Traffic jam on the Cables
Traffic jam on the Cables
Half Dome, Mount Broderick, and Liberty Cap
Half Dome, Mount Broderick, and Liberty Cap
From Mirror Lake
From Mirror Lake
Half Dome. Face detail. <br />Photo by Blitzo.
Half Dome. Face detail.
Photo by Blitzo.
Evening, Half Dome
Evening, Half Dome
Half dome from atop the columne
Half dome from atop the columne
Half Dome from Glacier Point.  ?Summer '97.
Half Dome from Glacier Point. ?Summer '97.
Waking up alone in a strange place.
Waking up alone in a strange place.
sunset from the summit of half dome
sunset from the summit of half dome
busy day on the cables
busy day on the cables
A party descending down the cables after a long day/night climbing up the northwest face.
A party descending down the cables after a long da...
View from Washington Point.  Sept 09.
View from Washington Point. Sept 09.
Half Dome late in the day
Half Dome late in the day
From the Regular NW face.
From the Regular NW face.
Milkyway from the top of Half Dome
Milkyway from the top of Half Dome
Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, photo: Bob Horan
Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, photo: Bob Horan
Half dome from Senitel dome on a crystal clear morning.
Half dome from Senitel dome on a crystal clear mor...
Sunset and moonrise over Half Dome, Sept 09.
Sunset and moonrise over Half Dome, Sept 09.
Half Dome from Washington Column.
BETA PHOTO: Half Dome from Washington Column.
Half Dome Cables route. Memorial Day 2001.
Half Dome Cables route. Memorial Day 2001.
The NW Face of Half Dome is about 2,000' tall, and sheds skin like an onion with dandruff. Caveat escalator!
The NW Face of Half Dome is about 2,000' tall, and...
Half Dome as seen from Eagle Peak
Half Dome as seen from Eagle Peak
Half Dome and the Moon at the end of the day
Half Dome and the Moon at the end of the day
Half Dome. <br />Photo by Blitzo.
Half Dome.
Photo by Blitzo.
Half dome below the grass
Half dome below the grass
The Death Slabs.
BETA PHOTO: The Death Slabs.
The easy way to the summit of Half Dome. For some, the down climb...
The easy way to the summit of Half Dome. For some,...
classic Half Dome shot
classic Half Dome shot
pure death
pure death
View from Glacier Point, Sept 09.
View from Glacier Point, Sept 09.
Everest base camp? FREE GLOVES!!
Everest base camp? FREE GLOVES!!
A rock climbers dream
A rock climbers dream
I love the Valley.
I love the Valley.
Taken from Astroman
Taken from Astroman
Half Dome November 2013
Half Dome November 2013
A drizzly day in the valley.  Sept 09.
A drizzly day in the valley. Sept 09.
Half Dome soaks up the last light of the day.
Half Dome soaks up the last light of the day.
Half Dome
Half Dome
Half Dome
Half Dome
Karma can be seen in this photo.
Karma can be seen in this photo.
I am sure everyone has the same shot, coming out from the pizza joint in Curry Village with the setting sun, receeding clouds.  Amazing.  Sept 09.
I am sure everyone has the same shot, coming out f...
JA near the base of Half Dome, Sept. 2010. <br />
JA near the base of Half Dome, Sept. 2010.
Obligatory Half Dome shot last season
Obligatory Half Dome shot last season
Cleanliness
Cleanliness
Half Dome and Clouds Rest from Glacier Point
Half Dome and Clouds Rest from Glacier Point
The view from the top of Half Dome is breathtaking
The view from the top of Half Dome is breathtaking
Summit of Half Dome via Snake Dike
Summit of Half Dome via Snake Dike
Another Half Dome shot
Another Half Dome shot
Comments on Half Dome Add Comment
Show which comments
By Karsten
From: Sacramento, CA
Oct 13, 2006

The death slabs are not that bad. Find a topo, such as Chris Mac's in Supertopo. It is pretty chill as long as you don't get off route. If it looks scary, you probably aren't on the right path.

By John McNamee
Administrator
From: Littleton, CO
Dec 13, 2006

I haven't done the "death slabs" in years but if I remember correctly the key was being familiar with it prior to hiking it with a haul bag. Zip up it with a day bag to get to know the route.

It's a lot of effort with heavy loads so break it down and do it over a couple of days. It's the only approach I have used.

I echo with Karsten just mentioned as well. I just brought the latest version of the Supertopo's Big Walls guidebook and it has a great description of it.

By Sergio P
From: Idaho Springs, CO
Jun 24, 2007

When descending the cables on a crowded day you may find it easier to clip into the cables with a binner attached to a sling then step outside of the cables. Use another sling and binner to clip past the poles so that you are always clipped in.

By Christian "crisco" Burrell
From: PG, Utah
Aug 7, 2008

I have done both approaches and absolutly recommend the "Slabs." There were only 2 slightly tricky parts:
1) Finding the right start...the spot where you leave the trail was very inobvious when I did this a few years ago. Maybe it is better now.
2) There is a spot near the end where the route seems to get blocked by a steep wall on your right. At first we actually climbed this darn thing only to figure out that the correct way to go is around a corner to the right. There is a hidden fixed rope (or two) ver that way and provides quick access to the long slpoe that brings you to the base of the wall.
Chris Mac's topo is pretty good, and we figured it all out without checking it out first.
I have also gone down this way and it wasn't bad at all.
The best part about this approach is that you have STUNNING views of the whole wall that almost seems to hang over your head the whole way. If this is your first wall it will make you think "...um...gee...what am I getting into?"
Have fun!

By Eckhard
From: Denver, CO
Sep 26, 2008

Is anybody familiar with which climb was FFA by Jim Erickson and Art Higbee, in 1976. It was captured on the film Free Climb: The Northwest Face of Half Dome?

By Doug Hemken
Administrator
Sep 26, 2008

Wouldn't that be the Regular Northwest Face?

By jhump
May 10, 2009

I have always heard that Higbee/Erickson did not free the final bolt ladder. Leonard Coyne later freed everything in 1979. Is this correct?

By EldoFiend
From: WY
Apr 28, 2010

A permit is now required to hike up half dome via the cables route on weekends. This does not apply to climbers hiking down the cables after climbing half dome.

HD Permits