So the National Park Service is now requiring permits for weekend and holiday hikes to the one of the greatest day hikes in the world.
According to nps.gov/yose, the permits are a temporary measure while a more comprehensive plan is chiseled out to manage the uber-popular hike.
If you have ever hiked Half-Dome in the tourist season, you most likely agree that this is a good decision. Frankly, I’m surprised it hasn’t been in force already. The cables section get down right precipitous when packed with casual hikers, who centipede up the granite slope from 7:00 a.m. to sunset every day like it’s Magic Mountain. Difference is, it’s harder to cover up a person plummeting to their death when the risks aren’t cloaked under a pitch-black shroud of manufactured rock.
It’s quite obvious that the cables have seen better days and unfortunately, the patience of most day hikers, just in from Somewhere, USA and ticked-off by the combined frustration of not being able to leave their ham sandwiches in their car (although they do anyway) and the presence of so many others just like them on the trail, makes the cables section exponentially more hazardous. Few wilderness injuries result from being of sound mind.
It takes little time for the wave of frustration to filter down the from the summit where it culminates in the mood of a single, really obnoxious guy who takes it upon himself to start verbally forcing people to the outside of the cables so he and his petrified Cub Scout can make it to the top. It’s an ugly scene sometimes. And what a shame, because Half Dome doesn’t deserve it.
Kudos to the Park Service.