Hiking Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

July 11, 2011

Me, my sister, my cousin

Saturday I was on top of the world.

No, I conquered the world.

I conquered something larger and much more difficult to reign in… fear.

I hike up approximately 8.5 miles before I had the decision to finish that last mile of literally straight up and terrifying, the top of Half Dome.

My mind, that little voice, kept telling me it wasn’t safe, it was too high, there were just cables that you use to pull yourself up, that I couldn’t do it. And because this voice told me not to do it, I did it anyway.

Me! That's the angle that you climb the cables at... (how my cousin too that picture, I will never know...

And I’m telling all of you, get to Yosemite and hike this hike!

From the valley to the top of Half Dome and back (+ a mile each way to the car) our total hike was about 17.5 miles. Started at 4:40 am and ended around 3:30 pm. And I did it. I reached the top of the most incredible, breathtaking, so high and so steep, Half Dome.

The actual hike (ok, ANY hike in Yosemite) is gorgeous. Right past the trail head, the path veers straight up, making the first mile capture your attention… well, at least the attention of your quadriceps. Then there are waterfalls, via the Mist Trail, rushing beside you as you climb the never-ending stair case of rocks. By the time you reach the top of this portion, you’re completely soaked.

Sister in black, I in purple, Sharon (cousin) in pink skirt

There are a ton of switchbacks and numerous parts of the trail with stairs. Lots of stairs. I love it. 😉

Fair warning, all of these pictures are taken with my iphone camera. Most aren’t too bad… and oddly enough, I had service for most of the hike, including at the top. The fact I had my phone on a hike was kind of sad, but I needed a camera!

After you climb and climb you finally reach the base of the Dome. Then you have another mile left of basically scaling rocks alternating with climbing stairs before you reach the actual cables. That mile was scary enough to have people turn back. Fiiiiiiiiiiinally you reach the base of Half Dome, the cables, and the decision of whether to proceed or to stop.

We sat at the base for a few minutes, eating an apple, drinking some water, and me trying to fight that little voice telling me, you’re going to die. Seriously, I had some doubts about making it up… and then making it down!

And we reached the top… well, my cousin and I.

Absolutely incredible. Going up the cables was complete upper body strength. I was happy I lift weights… it took some muscle power! And it was slightly scary. Ok, for me it was very scary and the top seemed to take forever to actually reach. But then we looked out upon the entire world. At least it seemed that way.

Top of Half Dome

Sharon and I

Me, proceeding down the cables

I made it down.

Me, Sharon, Chrstine. Now we just have another 8 miles down the trail...

I have a lot of pictures and a lot of videos. Let’s save a few of those videos for tomorrow. Or just head on over to What Runs Lori Facebook page and view everything! (Don’t forget to like the page, too!)

Overall, one of the best experiences ever. I can’t wait to go back!

What is your favorite hike? This one is definitely mine. I am in love. Better than the Grand Canyon for me.

Any Half Dome survivors out there???


{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Samantha July 16, 2011 at 12:08 PM

Half Dome is on my “life list” but honestly, the idea of it scares the crap out of me. Just looking at the pictures makes my stomach turn–it looks like you go straight up. Is it really like that? I just need to suck it up and go do it one of these days 🙂
Great job!


Elissa July 14, 2011 at 12:55 PM

SO super excited that you got to do that hike! I did it my senior year of high school and remember it being amazing, I was sooo sore the next day though from hiking back down. It’s probably my favorite hike, aside from Hawaii hikes (but yah know, it’s hawaii). Great pics!


Ryan @NoMoreBacon July 14, 2011 at 8:27 AM

I really have nothing to add but that looks amazing Lori. Holy smokes. I’ve actually heard that Yosemite is amazing in general. I’m a national park junkie (we have 7 in Utah) and I swear I do my best zen/reflection/all that crap out in nature 🙂

I’ll be adding this to my “MUST DO” list.


Sophie July 12, 2011 at 12:43 AM

Wow congratulations! That’s really impressive, you make me want to go on a hike!
Your blog is awesome 🙂


Pure2raw twins July 11, 2011 at 4:15 PM

beautiful photos!! what a view from the top

and what a hike, amazing girl


Kelly July 11, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Awesome Lori!!! How amazing!


teabagginit July 11, 2011 at 12:09 PM

oh man, i need to do that hike! i’d be terrified of the way down but i still have to do it!


Natalie @ cinnamonbums July 11, 2011 at 10:18 AM

absolutely amazing!!!!!! congrats! what an accomplishment.

though my friends are going this coming weekend, i am pretty daunted by the ropes/height, so my contribution to their half dome climb is baking up some granola bars =)

someday though, maybe.

my favorite hike is the one i took a few weeks ago up near stinson beach in marin county – an 8 mile hike (roundtrip) to the beach/waterfalls! sooo gorgeous


Katie July 11, 2011 at 9:58 AM

This looks INCREDIBLE Lori!! I love the video too. I would have been all over that climb up, but the down part would terrify me.

I need to go.


chrysta July 11, 2011 at 9:26 AM

omg kick a$$!! congrats to ya, that is some feat to conquer that. Id love to give it a go sometime. I so enjoy hiking. Its challenging and gets me outside for awhile. Love it!


amy@healthyhungryhappy.com July 11, 2011 at 8:59 AM

that is SO awesome! congrats!!! ive never been to yosemite but id love to go someday! the hardest one ive done is diamond head in oahu…that was pretty tough! but obviously sooo beautiful! grand canyon is awesome too!


zoe (and the beatles) July 11, 2011 at 8:51 AM

i am so proud of you!! you’d be an awesome rocker climber…can we climb some rocks, please :)?


yo yo mama July 11, 2011 at 7:16 AM

yay yay yay


Shanna, Like Banana July 11, 2011 at 6:28 AM

Yosemite has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth! I haven’t hike half dome, but definitely want to…


Alisa Fleming July 11, 2011 at 5:56 AM

Congratulations, that is HUGE!! I’ve hiked Yosemite, but never half dome. I’m a total chicken on those climbing things.


Larry July 11, 2011 at 5:22 AM

Congratulations! That’s a huge accomplishment.


Sable@SquatLikeALady July 11, 2011 at 5:14 AM

Omg! How beautiful! And clearly CHALLENGING!!!! That looks like an absolute blast and a life changing experience!


Lori July 11, 2011 at 5:14 AM

Oh my gosh it was life changing! It was incredible, beautiful, amazing…


Lisa @ I'm an Okie July 11, 2011 at 5:02 AM

looks like a blast and definitely like something i’d want to do!


Lori July 11, 2011 at 5:15 AM

Nike got it right. Just do it!


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