Destination: Yosemite Valley

Destination: Yosemite Valley

Fall and winter offers something for everyone By Kristin Conard Yosemite Valley, the “Incomparable Valley,” was set aside to be protected by the Yosemite Grant on June 30, 1864. And it was four years later that John Muir first visited the valley. Thanks in great part to his writing about the mountains and valleys he loved and his lobbying politicians, Yosemite became a national park in 1890, and now, 125 years later, the valley has become a destination for millions. Come fall and winter, things slow down considerably and there are few, if any, lines at the park stores or venues and no crowds on the trails or in the campgrounds. If you want to check on road conditions, call (209) 372-0200 – no matter what the conditions, you’ll need to have snow chains with you. Natural Wonders Yosemite Falls can dry up during the fall, but with snowfalls...
New Half Dome Hike App

New Half Dome Hike App

Former ASJ contributor Rick Deutsch, just released a free iPhone and Android phone app as a companion to his popular book “One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome.” The app provides users with info on the interesting things to see on the Half Dome hike. Included are a trail map and 19 points of interest, with detailed text and narration of key spots on the hike, along with vintage and current photos to help interpret the history of Yosemite’s signature landmark. The app also includes a video of ascending the cables and an interview with Royal Robbins, the first person to climb the 2,000- foot vertical face of Half Dome in 1957. Additional narratives and other clips will help motivate you to do the hike. To download the new free Half Dome Hike Guide: 1. Search for “EveryTrail” in the Apple App Store or Android Market as appropriate. Click on the...
Loving Half Dome to Death

Loving Half Dome to Death

By John Yewell The stunning northwest face of Half Dome. Photo: Karl Bralich www.peaklightimages.com When it came time to design its state quarter for the U.S. Mint, California had a wealth of iconic images from which to choose: larger-than-life personalities, grand structures (the Golden Gate Bridge would have been an obvious choice), and countless natural wonders. In the end, a state not known for dwelling on the past did just that, reaching deep into history to create an illustration with a strong conservation theme depicting the ancient California condor, the great naturalist John Muir, and Yosemite’s 87 million year old Half Dome. And there’s a million-year-old message hidden inadvertently in the coin’s design. Muir long ago achieved a kind of sainthood, and the condor is undergoing a captive breeding program that has rescued it from the brink of extinction. It’s time that Half Dome, under pressure from a crush of...
Go Hike A Rock!

Go Hike A Rock!

Story and photos by Rick Deutsch Of all the possible adventures in Yosemite National Park, possibly the most spectacular is the hike from the valley floor to the top of 8,842 foot Half Dome. The picturesque monolith is the most climbed mountain in the Sierra Nevada, with about 50,000 ascents per year. Reach the top and you’ll understand why so many love the rugged challenge. Yes, the view from the top IS incredible. Still, this is a big hike–a full ten to twelve hour day for most, comprising about sixteen miles round trip. The final 425 feet to the top is a harrowing climb of the nearly 45 degree granite shoulder of Half Dome. This is accomplished with the aid of two steel cable handrails. The National Park Service puts up the famous “cables” on Half Dome for the duration of the summer – usually early June until mid...
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