Elevation: 8,823 ft
GPS: 37.746, -119.533 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 488,102 total · 2,835/month
Shared By: Josh Janes on Jun 15, 2006 with 2 Suggestions
Admins: M Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes
Access Issue: Latest updates on Covid and 2020 visits. Details

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 (hence the original indigenous name Ti-sa-ack or Cleft Rock in the language of the Awahnechee), 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.

Remarkably, Half Dome was once described as "perfectly inaccessible" by Josiah Whitney of the California Geological Survey in the 1870's. The summit was finally first attained by George G. Anderson in October 1875, via a route constructed by drilling and placing iron eyebolts into the smooth granite near the site of the cables today and remains one of the most historic Yosemite ascents that has contributed to the direction of rock climbing in the USA.

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.

9 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Half Dome

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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