Thursday, June 18, 2009

Climbing Half-Dome At Yosemite

I took my oldest son up with a friend and his son to climb Half-Dome at Yosemite National Park this week.  It was the first week of summer vacation for our boys and one of our neighbors, who happens to love hiking, invited my oldest son to Yosemite with his family.  He asked me to come along so that there would be one dad for each of the boys during the long hike in case anything happened.  Well I have been running all year, about 2 miles every other day and thought I was in good shape.  The Half-Dome hike is 8 miles each way starting from an elevation of 4000 feet and ending at an elevation of 8500 feet.  I was winded after the first mile, but there was more.  My son and I somehow walked, crawled, and climbed our way up to the foot of the "cables" at Half-Dome.  The final 600 feet of the ascent requires you to hang on to cables on the side of the rock to get to the top of Half-Dome.  I think of myself as a risk taker, but on this day both my son and I were happy to say - "I think we'll just rest here at the foot of the cables, while you and your son make it up to the top."  I am now more impressed than ever of anyone who has trekked the 8 miles up the mountain and had enough energy and guts to climb up the final 600 feet with only your hands and a cable between you and the Yosemite Valley floor.  My survival instinct kicked into high-gear on that ledge and I really learned something new about myself.  I'm not as big of a risk taker with my life as I would have thought.  

We started at 6:30am in the morning and made it to the Half-Dome cables at around 12:30pm.  We rested there to about 2:00pm, while our friend and his son climbed the cables up the top of Half-Dome.  Coming down was easier, but not by much as our energy and our knees were about spent by the time we reached the Yosemite valley floor at around 7:30pm.  13 hours of hiking in one day was easily the toughest thing I have done physically.  Our friends want to do it again with our younger sons when they are old enough.  At this moment, as I try to recover from the muscle pains that linger, I am happy to have the memories of making it up to the cables and happy to be back on the ground safe at home.  Now if I can just get up out of my chair....

2 comments:

Anna said...
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Anna said...

God does not give us survival instincts for no reason. A man just fell off of the dome while going up this past week! Amazing...13 hours of hiking...good for you and Joshua! And you both lived to see another Little League Championship. :) But now my mom is worried because Ben and his friends are doing a backpacking trip to hike Half Dome this Monday - the only consolation is that Cris did it and survived. :P