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Cable Etiquette: Going up the famous cables at Half Dome

Great Outdoors

Hiking up to Half Dome is no joke. The 7-mile hike from Yosemite Valley can push the toughest people to their limits. But arriving at the base you’ll find a challenge several hundred feet high — the cables. 

The Half Dome cables were first installed in the early 1920s, according to park ranger Jamie Richards. They act as the last stretch before you can see the Yosemite Valley in a whole new way.

Weather is one of the biggest things to consider. Lately, many Half Dome hikers have been blessed with sunny days. However, in May, stormy conditions turned the large hunk of granite slick. Asish Penugonda, 29, died that month when he fell from the cables because of that.

“If there’s storm clouds anywhere nearby, it’s very dangerous to be here on top, on the cables, or down on Sub Dome,” said park ranger Dede Golden.

The most important thing to do is to never let go of the cables when going up or down. Even when you’re resting — you can lean on the cables, but you need to keep a solid grip on them.

There are also a series of wooden slats laid down in-between the cables. They can be very stable spots to take a breather on.

Communication is key when running into other hikers. Discuss who’s going up or down faster to help decide who should go. When there is two-way traffic, you should stick to one side.

Follow all that and you’ll make it to the top of the famous Half Dome.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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