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Ascent of Half Dome in 2002-07

Climber: Scott Sharaga

Date:July, 2002
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Half Dome
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:8840 ft / 2694 m

Ascent Trip Report

First time hiking to Half Dome! This trip is infamous in my family because of what occurred during the day hike:

The four of us (11-year-old me, 9-year-old cousin, dad, and uncle) started the hike on time, around 7 in the morning. We waved goodbye to the women (my little sister, mom, aunt, cousin, and great aunt) at our campsite in Upper Pines, who promised a big dinner when we returned later in the day. We were climbing the treacherous steps of the sub-dome when my dad injured himself and couldn't bend his leg much due to severe cramps. At this point, we should have turned around, because it was getting later in the afternoon, and my dad had to walk really slow. But, we all had "summit fever" and decided to keep going. Eventually, we made it to the top, probably around 3 or 4 pm. A warning sign was that most people were starting to head down as we were climbing the cables...

After spending a short time up there, celebrating (it was mine, my dad's, and my cousin's first time on the summit), we headed down. Again, we had to go really slow because my dad's legs were still hurting badly. It was sunset by the time we got to Nevada Fall.

Since it was supposed to be a day hike, no one thought of bringing a flashlight. (Smart move). Luckily my cousin had a small flashlight in his pack, so we huddled together as descended down the John Muir Trail in the darkness. Some hikers ran by us, using the flash from their cameras. Later on, we heard some strange noises coming from the forest (bears or our imagination running wild in the darkness?).

The women at camp had prepared a large feast for us, the Half Dome Hikers, around 6 pm. When we didn't return before darkness they began to worry and think that we were involved in a serious incident. They contacted a ranger who recommended that they wait for us for a few more hours, then get help again.

After slowly descending the dark, tricky, trail, we finally arrived at our Upper Pines campsite around 10 pm. Our family was as relieved as we were exhausted. A quick bite was followed by a long sleep.

Moral of the story? ALWAYS bring a flashlight and extra food/water, even for day hikes. You NEVER know what can happen.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4800 ft / 1463 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4800 ft / 1463 m
    Start Trailhead:4040 ft / 1231 m
Descent Statistics



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