Tag Archives: Yosemite

Off The Grid: Half Dome-Yosemite National Park, California

One of America’s most iconic mountain faces is located in east-central California, within Yosemite National Park. This granite dome, known as Half Dome (8,836ft), is most notable for its appearance to have lost half of its northwest face. While this is not entirely true, recently (March 2009) a rock slide of 1,500,000 cubic feet occurred near Ahwiyah Point adding to this affect.

For many years Half Domes peak (or summit) was deemed unreachable due to the smooth nature of the granite peak. When wet it was impossible for even the most daring of climbers to attempt. This was true until 1875 when climbers drilled and placed iron eyebolts into the smooth granite, allowing climber George Anderson to make its first accent. Now Half Dome welcomes nearly 50,000 accents per year.

Half Dome’s close proximity to the Pacific Ocean leaves it wide open for copious amounts of snow during the winter months and this weekend is poised to prove that point. A series of disturbances will track from northwest to southeast across California over the next couple days ushering in an abundance of Pacific moisture that will translate to heavy snow accumulations for Half Dome’s summit. A mix of rain and snow will be expected early tonight, before snow levels crash overnight and transition all precipitation to snow over the summit. Periods of moderate to heavy snow will then be expected into the early evening hours on Saturday, with as much as 20 inches of accumulation possible. Snow is expected to become light for the early overnight hours as one system pushes southeast and the next system drifts southeast. Near daybreak Sunday snow will once again become moderate to heavy at times, with periods of heavy snow continuing through the overnight hours. An additional 30 inches of snowfall will be possible Sunday and Sunday night. Gusty winds will be possible as well, with gusts as high as 70-80 mph possible near the summit.

Saturday: Cloudy and windy, with periods of heavy snow. High 24, Low 10.
Sunday: Cloudy and windy, with periods of heavy snow. High 21, Low 8.

TWC: ** No Forecast Available. **

AW: ** No Forecast Available. **

NWS: ** No Forecast Available. **

WB: ** No Forecast Available. **

OTG Rating: >>5<< Reaching Half Dome’s summit is certainly no easy task. It usually takes a pre-dawn start (between 1-3am), 4,800ft in elevation change, 7-23 miles of hiking (depending on the route) and nerves of steel while climbing the cables. What keeps the OTG rating a bit lower are the large crowds that attempt the summit and the popularity of the National Park (Yosemite) that it sits in. Some weekends see as many as 800-1,000 attempts per day.

Note: The ‘OTG Rating’ is based on a scale of 1 to 10; 10 being completely Off The Grid and 1 being within a major city or otherwise Grid Lock.