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Important dates for 2015:

Half Dome Cables Season:
Friday, May 22, 2015 - Cables up for the season (conditions dependent)
Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - Cables down for the season

Preseason Lottery:
Sunday, March 1, 2015 - 12:01 AM Pacific - Start of Preseason Lottery Application Period
Tuesday, Mach 31, 2015 - 11:59 PM Pacific - End of Preseason Lottery Application Period
Sunday, April 12, 2015 - 9:01 PM Pacific - Preseason Lottery Results posted
Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 11:59 PM Pacific -Deadline to confirm and pay for reserved permits

Daily Lottery:
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - First day of Daily Lottery, 2 days before cables up for the season
Sunday, October 11, 2015 - Last day of Daily Lottery, 2 days before cables down for the season

Variations in the start and end dates of the Half Dome Cables Season
Traditionally, the Half Dome Cables have been installed and maintained for a hiking season starting on the Friday before Memorial Day and ending on the Tuesday after Columbus Day. Environmental conditions dictate the actual date the cables are put up, maintained, and taken down for the season.

During years with heavy winters, large snow packs, or late winter storms, the installation of the cables may be delayed beyond the traditional start date. Preseason permits issued for dates when the cables are not up will be refunded. Refunded permits may not be rescheduled. Lottery application fees are not refunded. The Daily Lottery will not run until two days before the actual date the Half Dome Cables are put up.

During years with mild winters and small snow packs, the cables may be put up earlier than the traditional date. In this circumstance, the Daily Lottery will begin two days before the actual date the Half Dome Cables are put up.

Once the cables are installed for the season, they generally remain open. Should the cables be closed for some unforeseen condition, then permits issued for those days will be refunded. Only the permit fee is refundable, Lottery Application fees are not refundable. Permits refunded due to a closure may not be rescheduled.

Refunds or date changes are not available because of inclement weather. Hikers must always use proper judgment when assessing whether or not to proceed to the summit.

For more information about hiking Half Dome please visit:
http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/halfdome.htm


Attention: Before visiting Yosemite National Park for safety information click on this link: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/yoursafety.htm. For safety information specifically regarding hantavirus, go to http://www.nps.gov/public_health/zed/hanta/hanta_camp.htm.

CABLES ON HALF DOME, CA

part ofYosemite National Park, National Park Service
Photo: CABLES ON HALF DOME

Overview

Rising nearly 5,000 feet above Yosemite Valley and 8,800 feet above sea level, Half Dome is a Yosemite icon and a great challenge to many hikers. Despite an 1865 report declaring it was "perfectly inaccessible, being probably the only one of the prominent points about the Yosemite which never has been, and never will be, trodden by human foot," George Anderson reached the summit in 1875, and in the process created the predecessor for today's cable route.

Today, thousands of people reach the summit. For most, it is an exciting, arduous hike; for a few, it becomes more adventure than they bargained for. Every summer park rangers must assist hundreds of people on the Half Dome trail.

The most famous--or infamous--part of the hike is the ascent up the cables. The two metal cables allow hikers to climb the last 400 feet to the summit without rock climbing equipment. Since 1919, relatively few people have fallen and died on the cables. However, injuries are not uncommon for those acting irresponsibly.

The 14 to 16-mile round-trip hike to Half Dome is not for the out of shape or unprepared visitor. Hikers gain an elevation of 4,800 feet on their way to the top of Half Dome, but the reward is worth the effort. Along the way, you'll encounter outstanding views of Vernal and Nevada Falls, Liberty Cap, Half Dome, and - from the subdome and summit - panoramic views of Yosemite Valley and the High Sierra.

It takes most people 10 to 12 hours to hike to Half Dome and back. If you plan on hiking during the day, it's smart to leave before or at sunrise, with a non-negotiable turn-around time. Check sunrise and sunset times before you embark on your hike, and always bring a flashlight or headlamp with good batteries. Although the trail is well marked, you should be prepared with a good topographic map and compass, with the ability to use them.

Much of the hike to Half Dome is an unpredictable adventure into Wilderness, but preparation is paramount. Use the links in the Know Before You Go section and Information from associated websites (on the right-hand-side of the page), for tips to help reduce your risk of injury.

The Half Dome Cables are put up each spring and taken down each fall. Traditionally, the first day the cables are up is the Friday before Memorial Day, and the last day the cables are up is the Tuesday after Columbus Day. Environment conditions dictate the actual date the cables are put up, maintained, and taken down for the season.

A permit is required to ascend the subdome steps and Half Dome Cables. Permits are distributed through two lottery processes. A preseason lottery held during the month of March allows hikers the opportunity to plan their trip well in advance. Results of the preseason lottery are announced mid-April. Approximately 225 permits are available each day through the preseason lottery.

Daily lotteries are held throughout the Half Dome hiking season. These lotteries are run two days prior to any day that the cables are up. The results of the lottery are announced the following day. The application period for each daily lottery is from midnight to 1 pm Pacific time. Approximately 50 permits will be available each day. The actual number of permits available during a daily lottery varies due to the preseason lottery results and cancellations.

A person may apply as a trip leader only once per lottery. People applying multiple times as trip leader will have all their lottery applications cancelled. For the preseason lottery, each application allows for up to seven date choices. The maximum group size for a permit application is 6. The person applying is the designated trip leader, and they may identify a single alternate trip leader. For a group to pass beyond the Subdome Check Point, the trip leader or alternate trip leader must be present with government issued photo identification and a copy of the permit.

Know Before You Go
  • The group leader or alternate listed on the permit must be present (with photo ID) to use the permit. Resale or auction of advance reservations is prohibited. Any resale or auction of permits will make the permit/contract null and void.
  • Read the Safety Information prior to making your reservation.
  • General Rules and Regulations for Cables on Half Dome are located here.
  • FAQs for permits for Cables on Half Dome can be found here.
  • Boots with sufficient ankle support and traction are recommended.
  • Protective gloves for the cables are also recommended.
  • The summit of Half Dome is extremely dangerous in the case of lightning; Check forecast before your hike and summit early in the day to avoid afternoon thunderstorms; If a storm appears nearby, descend immediately with caution and patience on the cables and steps.
  • The summit is typically 15-20*F (8-11*C) cooler than Yosemite Valley and windy conditions are common; Be prepared for cool temperatures and rain showers.
  • No trash service on trails.

Contact Information

Public Information Office
P.O. Box 577
Yosemite, CA 95389
Phone: 209-372-0200
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