Outbound Collective logo

Hiking Half Dome in Yosemite National Park

Living life on the Cables

By: Gaines Roberts + Save to a List

After ten months of planning, a long, direct flight from Atlanta to San Fransisco, and a four-hour car ride, we finally entered into the Yosemite Village. The traffic upon entering the park was hectic, but flew by due to staring out of the window in awe with no distractions. After entering the park, we came to realize that Alex Honnold, a professional free climber, just completed climbing El Capitan with no ropes setting a new record for the fastest free climb on El Capitan starting our week out in full sprint. Standing at the bottom of Yosemite Falls, taking in all the mist from the pour off, we were eager to experience all that Yosemite had to offer.  

Half Dome, a magnificent, towering, breathtaking view of God's creation was our main goal. Bob Goff, author of Love Does, tells a story of taking is ten year old son on a trip to summit Half Dome in the middle of a snow storm. What he desired was adventure, and after reading that chapter, the only think I craved was to summit to the top of one of the top ten most dangerous hikes in the world. Months in advance we applied for five hiking permits to be allowed to go up the cables of Half Dome, and got all five. I rejoiced because my dreams were going to come true. 

The time came! After a long night of sleep in a Half Dome Village canvas tent, we set out for our four day three night hike to the top of Half Dome. Adrenaline and excitement overflowed from me to the point that the only thing I could do was smile with joy. We initiated our hike at the glory of Glacier Point. We stood out, glancing over the perfect picture of Half Dome telling ourselves that we would soon be there. With the dirt under our feet, and our memory cards already full, we headed out toward the Panorama Trail Head. As our feet grew tired already, we stopped at the top of Nevada Falls to rest for the night. Hungry, I boiled some water and had my first taste of dehydrated food, specifically chicken teriyaki. As the sun began to set over the Yosemite Valley, all I could think about was the creation of God. That God flattened the plains and pulled up the mountain with His finders into perfect place. We continued toward Merced Lake, passed through Yosemite Valley, and came to a fork in the road only to realize that we could not make the rest of the hike due to flooding. Angered, we stopped for the night and rested our feet to prepare for the next leg to the base of the Half Dome summit. 

The time came, the hike to the top of Half Dome was officially launched as we woke up early for the sun rise and also to be the first ones to the top. We reached the cables as the sun was rising and were relieved to find that we were the only people at the top ready to go. Full of excitement, we snapped a load of pictures and began our ascent to the top. The cables were the highlight as we walked out of breath up a 45-degree angle, felt like a 90 degree angle, to the top. Standing on top of the world, I stood with my arms open and yelled, "FREEDOMMMMMM" like I was William Wallace. The view took my breath away, literally. There wasn't that much oxygen at the top. As we took in every moment, all I could think about was were the adventure originated from. A few boys, wanting to become men, reading a book called Love Does that had one desire, to adventure around the world. As we started our decent back to the camp site to pack up our belongings, I knew that our trip was coming to an end. 

We ended our trip with a three course, cooked meal in the Yosemite Dinner beside the canvas tends, and a hot shower. You will never appreciate food and showers as much until you have a 4 day hiking trip with only dehydrated food and stream water. 

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Do you love the outdoors?

Yep, us too. That's why we send you the best local adventures, stories, and expert advice, right to your inbox.