What You Need to Hike Half Dome

Hiking to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park is a goal for many people.  It is a great hike, but you need to be prepared.  Here is a list of 10 things you need to hike Half Dome. gear to climb half dome

      1. Permits- The biggest thing you need is to enter the permit lottery in March.  The permit is to allow you to go up the cables, which are the final 400 ft and take you to the very top of Half Dome.  If you “win” the permit lottery that means you are granted permits for a specific day.  When you enter you pick 7 dates for the lottery.  Tip, weekdays are more likely to get you a permit because more people are trying for Saturdays. Here is the link for permit information and application.  Picture of the Half Dome Cables
      2. Boots- A great pair of hiking boots is so important.  Some people do the hike in sneakers, but the terrain is uneven and going up and down the cables is slick.  You will want the extra ankle support and traction that boots supply.  Buy them a half to a full size too big so your toes have room and are not banging on the front of the boot when going downhill. 
      3. Snacks- Hiking that far and for that long means you will need some snacks.  Bring things that are light to carry,  give you energy, and won’t give you GI problems.  I love trail mix, PB&J sandwich, fruit snacks, and jerky.  
      4. Water- You have to carry enough water to get you up and back.  I used my 100 ounce CamelPak and drank every drop by the time I got down. (It was also a crazy 81 degrees when I did it.)  The water is heavy to carry, but you don’t want to get dehydrated.
      5. Strategy-  Know the different trails, an idea of your pace, and what your plan is.  For example, are you going to go up the Mist Trail or John Muir?  Mist trail is about 1.5 miles less in distance, but is mostly granite stairs.  Do some research ahead of time. 
      6. Map- Carry a map!  This way if you lose the trail at anytime it will be easier to find again.  Here is the link to one on Amazon.
      7. Gloves- Gloves are a MUST for the cables!  Go to the garden store and get the heavy duty gloves with the dots on the grip.  Without gloves you will seriously injure your hands going up and down the cables.
      8. Headlamp- It is best to get started before the sun comes up, so a headlamp is a necessity.  This way you have your hands free. 
      9. Reservation in Yosemite- You need to book either a campsite or hotel room in Yosemite for the night before.  I love the location of Half Dome Village.  They have both canvas tents, which have a communal bathroom, or cabins, which is like a rustic hotel room.  Here is a link for hotel reservations in Yosemite
      10. Trash bag- I just bring a gallon size zip lock with me and use that for any trash like kleenex, food wrappers etc. 
      11. A great friend to do it with- I personally don’t like hiking alone because it is safer to have a friend with you, but also more fun and someone to share the experience with.  Make sure that this person is someone you are compatible with pace wise and won’t drive each other crazy. 

    Here are some other things you might want:
    Trekking Poles
    Mini First Aid Kit

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  1. lcmcgill | 7th Feb 18

    Yosemite is one of my favorite parks to hike in. I didn’t get to do half dome. Great post about it though! Annie @ http://www.anniegetcharun.com

    • Half Crazy Mama | 7th Feb 18

      I love Yosemite too! Other than Half Dome again I have my sites set on doing Clouds Rest sometime. 🙂

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