February 8, 2011
Yosemite National Park Instituting Permits Seven Days Per Week in 2011
Yosemite National Park will require Day Use Permits seven days per week for climbing the Half Dome cables during the summer 2011 season. Day Use Permits were required Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays during the 2010 summer season. However, due to high volumes of people on the cables during the non permitted days, the park is instituting the seven day requirement. This is part of a two year interim program designed to address crowding on the cables that has been occurring over the past few years.
Hiking to the top of Half Dome is one of the most popular hikes in Yosemite National Park. The iconic granite monolith, at 8,842 feet above sea level, attracts people from all over the world who attempt to climb to the summit. Most visitors ascend Half Dome via the cables, which are in place from mid-May through mid-October. Most visitors begin and end their hike at Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley. This is an approximately 17 mile round-trip journey.
Permits are available by reservation starting March 1, 2011 for climbing the cables in May and June, 2011. Reservations for the permits can be made online at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. Subsequent permits will be available at the beginning of each month for permits three months in advance. Each person climbing the Half Dome cables will be required to have their own permit. Up to four permits may be obtained under one reservation. The permits are free, however, there is a non-refundable $1.50 service charge per person for each permit obtained.
The previous system did not allow hikers to cancel a portion of their Day Use Permit without canceling the entire permit. However, several user-friendly changes have been made to maximize flexibility for hikers wishing to obtain a permit. These include a feature that allows users to reduce the number of hikers on their existing reservation without canceling the entire permit. Another added feature is that users can cancel unneeded permits up to the day before to their planned climb. Additionally, users can now reserve available permits up to the day before their planned climb.
Hikers who obtained Half Dome Cables Day Use Permits and are unable to use them are urged to cancel their reservations through www.recreation.gov. Although the service charge will not be refunded, this will enable other hikers to obtain available permits. Hikers interested in reserving a Day Use Permit should be aware that the Half Dome cable permit page on www.recreation.gov will not be fully functioning until the week prior to March 1, 2011. However, information regarding the Half Dome hike is currently available on the website.
A visitor use study on the 2010 Half Dome Cables Day Use Permit is available at http://www.nps.gov/yose/naturescience/half-dome-cables.htm. To learn more about the Half Dome hike please visit http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/halfdome.htm