Nine Essential Tips For Hiking Half Dome That You Do Not Want To Miss

Nine Essential Tips For Hiking Yosemite's Half Dome - WELLFITandFED

For twenty years my husband has had the yearning to stand atop Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. This bucket list item catapulted to the top of the list last year on a rafting trip when he was inspired by an older raft-mate, who regaled all of the brilliance and wonderment the hike had to offer. “That’s it. I am doing this,” my husband said.

 

Because Brent and his brother, Dirk, often do adventurous things together, he inquired as to Dirk’s availability. Unfortunately, after a conversation with his knees, Dirk had to forego. I then became the next candidate. I don’t know if it was the properly timed inquiry, after several sips of a martini, or my suppressed sense of adventure, but somehow I agreed. I probably should have done some research first! However, we readied ourselves for the arduous hike up the side of a mountain, in the hot middle-summer weather of California.

Now, recently having finished Half Dome, a few essentials are still fresh in my memory. Tips, if you will, that could make conquering Half Dome a little easier.

Note: Any long hike is likely to run more smoothly if you adhere to some of these recommendations.  So, whether you yearn for the “bald head” of Half Dome, or you have your eye on some other summit – sit back, snack on trail mix,  and learn the “ins and outs” of conquering the one-day round-trip hike to Half Dome!

Nine Essential Tips For Hiking Yosemite’s Half Dome

(Note that all “Tip photos” are from our nine prep hikes. Get it? Nine points, nine prep hikes? Clever huh? )

Photo May 10, 3 30 28 PMTip 1 – Permit and Planning: The hike to Half Dome is breathtaking. This culmination consists of a strenuous, cable-based, four-hundred-foot climb to the top of the dome. Being allowed to use the cables involves a fancy lottery permitting process. Due to crowding, the forestry service limits daily climbers to 300. If you would like to hike next summer, applications will be available next March.  You will need to go online to apply. You will also need to have at least three date choices in mind. It appears that this lottery sells out very quickly! Frequently check to see when the applications are available, and apply as closely as possible to that time.

Note: On the day of your hike, take your ID, and proof of permitting purchase with you to the park. We could not print out an actual permit, and it appeared that many other hikers also had this issue.  As long as you have your ID, and application number, you are golden! There is a “forestry dude” who will check you off, that sits under a tree, approximately 45 minutes away from the cables, with an IPAD, and a poorly penned mystery novel.

Click HERE to learn more about the permitting process.

Photo May 11, 1 52 30 PMTip 2 – Training: Training is imperative if you want to enjoy your day. Although, most people we saw, along the trail were in good physical shape, some were not. In fact, there was one petite smiley girl, who was wearing Converse, and carrying a grocery bag with glazed donuts, chips, and soda for sustenance. I could not resist. I asked, “Are you going to the top?” She replied, “Yes!!” After we had summited, eaten lunch, taken pictures, and traveled approximately an hour down the trail, we crossed paths with the pretty girl again. This time, she looked a little “worse for wear.” I still thought she was going to make it, but it wasn’t going to be pretty for her on the way down. She was already out of food and was moving very slowly.

Remember, it is one thing to hike the six hours up, but you must conserve energy to make your way down the steep terrain for another four to five hours. For this, you must train. Here’s the good news. My husband and I only did one hike a week, but with increasing intensity and distance. The longest hike we did was 10.5 miles with 3,800 feet of elevation gain. Half Dome is 16 miles with 4,800 feet of elevation gain. In retrospect, we did fine, but I probably should have completed one or two longer hikes. These preparatory hikes were as valuable for our calves, as they were for planning what food to take, and how much water we needed to drink!

For more details on training for Half Dome; click on the links below:

http://www.fitclimb.com/page/6-week-beginner-mountaineering

http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/conditioning-backpacking.html

http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/seasonal-hikes/spring-destinations/conditioning-hikes

Photo May 24, 9 30 38 AMTip 3 – Equipment: Part of the way through our training, we decided to try hiking poles.  I never really understood how they benefited hikers, but oh my Lord! It. Was. The. Best. Purchase. EVER!! We decided to spend a little more on our pole purchase because we did not want to have problems with them along the trail, and we wanted to be able to pack them more easily onto the sides of our packs. So, if there is one piece of equipment you should purchase for this hike or any long hike, it is hiking poles. These poles are incredibly stabilizing while heading up. They even help pull your body up the hill when you get tired. Moreover, these poles evenly distribute the work between your upper and lower body so that your legs do not tire out too quickly. Also, on the way down they stabilize so that you can come down safely, and more quickly. I have terrible knees, and these poles take a large amount of stress off them. I did not have perfect form with my poles, so if you want to learn more click HERE.

You will also need the following equipment:

  • A good daypack, with a place to secure your poles, for when you are not using them.
  • A headlamp or flashlight (Always a good idea – in case you are caught coming down a little late).
  • A good camera or GOPRO.
  • A water filtering system, if you choose to purchase it. (See the water section below).
  • A small first-aid kit with Band-Aids, blister care, tissues, etc.
  • I loaded the app STRAVA on my phone and used it to track our time, mileage, and elevation. I was able to track the whole day without losing battery because of my MOPHIE phone battery charger.
  • GLOVES: You will need to bring gloves for the cables. These cables are approximately an inch thick, and WILL tear your hands apart if you don’t have protection. Gloves will also “make or break” the effort you put into hauling yourself up and down the 400 feet. We were ill-advised and took traditional gardening/work gloves.  There is a pile of gloves at the bottom of the cables. They are not only nasty, but they also serve as housing for rats! Unfortunately, I had to use them anyway because it was more important to get up the cables safely. The gloves you want are pictured below, and can be purchased at any hardware store.

DON’T BUY

weldas-leather-work-gloves-3422b-ba

 

 

 

 

BUY!!!

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Photo Aug 08, 1 26 01 PMTip 4 – Clothing: My priority was to be functional and still win the “Cutest Hiker Award!” Some bearded, gnarly, hiker guy about half-way up, passed us, took off his sunglasses, checked me out, and said, “Nice skort!” I think that pretty much secured my nomination. Depending on the time of the year, the temperatures vary dramatically. We started out at about 58-62 degrees and ended up at 100 degrees.  Make sure that you take quick-dry, comfortable, non-chaffing clothes with you. Don’t forget to layer. A bandana and hat are also great accessories to bring along, as well as, a good pair of polarized sunglasses. It was also nice to have a change of socks for the way down. The Merced River, 2/3rds of the way down, is a great place to soak your tootsies and put on fresh socks. Trust me – you will feel like a new person!

 CUTEST HIKER AWARD GOES TO…

First Half Dome View

Photo May 30, 5 40 15 PMTip 5 – Water: I completely obsessed over this one. I read everything I could on this topic, but the recommendations varied. Some people suggested that you take 2-3 liters with you, while others suggested, at least, one liter, per two hours, which is about five liters.  Still others suggested at least 7 liters for the day. The truth is -water requirements are totally person-to-person dependent. Determine whether or not you will want to drink a lot of water in the heat. I do, so I took a 3-liter camelback and two 1.5 liter side-bottles. I drank one of the side-bottles in the first 2 miles and filled up again at the last potable water station, near Vernal Falls. I came back with a little water left over, but I could not accurately tell how much was left in my hydration pack. (Now there is a million dollar idea!) If I were to do it again, I would plan to take 7 liters (7.4 quarts) of water. Also, I would carry more water, rather than mess with potting water. We did carry a little mini-filtration unit but did not need to use it. (The only place to filter water is the Merced River.)

Note: Water is heavy! During your training hikes, practice carrying many liters of water. It took us a few hikes to get used to the weight. Also, don’t forget your electrolytes! Supplementing with electrolyte powder, periodically, along your journey, is important because you will be sweating from exertion, and heat. There are lots of options out there, but I encourage you to stay away from the ones that contain a lot of sugar or chemicals. My practice was to drink one-half of my side bottles, and then add electrolytes, and then finish the rest. I repeated this process with the other side bottle, which helped me stay balanced. Getting enough electrolytes will ensure better “post-exertion recovery.” Translated, your legs won’t scream quite as loud the next morning!

Photo Jun 21, 10 12 56 AMTip 6 – Food: I was obsessive about the water, but, I was way more obsessive about the food. If I am caught hungry, it is neither pretty nor pleasant. I was very concerned that I would not have the “right” foods or enough foods for the energy requirements of a hike like this. I wanted the day to be mostly Paleo, so we experimented with a lot of options. Here is a photo of the food finalists that made it into the packs on hike day. The day was completely Paleo with the exception of the celebratory martinis at the car at the end of the day!

 

 FINALISTS!!

Photo Jul 27, 3 11 07 PM

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Photo Jun 29, 9 30 14 AMTip 7 – Pack Items: This hike is a long haul. It takes most people between 10 and 12 hours to complete. We thought we were in pretty good shape, and could get through it more quickly, but it took us eleven hours! We made two 20-minute stops on the way up, and two on the way down. There were, of course, a couple of shorter stops, in between, to look at all the amazing scenery! We hung out at the top of the Dome for about an hour. We enjoyed the view although forest fires were at play as we ate lunch. We then headed back down. Before the hike, we played around with what to pack. As I mentioned earlier, most of the pack weight consisted of water and food. I put all of the food in a large Ziploc bag. I also carried additional small Ziplocs for trash. We packed paper napkins, and a small package of Kleenex (for potential pit-stops along the way, or for poorly supplied bathrooms). I packed a tiny first-aid kit that contained a few Band-Aids, etc. Both my husband and I packed small Pezel headlamps, in case we got caught on the trail at dusk. Thankfully I packed a change of socks (a Godsend!), and a couple of layers of clothing to throw on towards the end of the hike. We also brought hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen and carried gloves for the cables, of course!


Photo Jul 12, 10 04 29 AMTip 8 – The Strategy
: I quelled my anxiety by strategizing what types of things to take on the hike (i.e. what snacks to take with us). I used an excellent resource entitled, Yosemite’s Half Dome, by Rick Deutsch. His book was all I needed to help prepare, but I also researched online blog posts, which I found very helpful. I believe the biggest strategic move a person can make is determining the start time. Had I not read about the best time to start this hike, I probably would have started much later. Most people suggest approaching the cables before noon because it gets very crowded.  They were right. We hiked on a Monday, alleged to be the least crowded day of the week. We got to the cables at 11:00 am. There were only about ten of us on the cables at once, which made it easy to pace ourselves going up.  By the time, we had had lunch and came back down the cables were full. When you are tired and want to keep your momentum, crowded cables are exhausting. So, if you want to get to the cables at a decent time, I suggest you start your hike no later the 6:00 am. This allows for frequent stops, steady pace, and a very comfortable, uncrowded ascent to the top.

I am going to state the obvious – this hike is VERY long.  In fact, it seems to go on forever. BUT, it is an extremely varied terrain that breaks the long walk up quite nicely. You will climb about 1,000 stairs, walk over sand, boulders, and loose gravel. You will also walk along a river, two waterfalls, and smooth granite. I found the change in scenery made the hiking trip progress very quickly. It is also important to remember that you have been planning for this, and your adrenaline, anticipation, and everything that goes with this type of physical event is in high gear. Adrenalin has an amazing ability to carry you further than you ever thought possible. Along the trail, we saw a variety of climbers such as a 6-year-old, and a brother and sister who were 59 and 61 years old.  Stats reveal that MOST people make it to the top, so just pace yourself and enjoy the day!

Photo Jul 28, 10 37 23 AM (HDR)

Back to the cables – There is a strategy concerning getting up and down the cables safely.  Munch on a light snack, and sip on water before you start the ascent. On the way up, place a hand on each cable, or go hand-over-hand on one cable. I found both ways to be equally helpful. As people come down, you may have to move aside and hold onto just one cable to let them pass. Fortunately, there are two-by-fours nailed into the granite at reasonable intervals on which to stand and rest. You will need these to break up the climb. I suggest two positions, as you come down: (1) facing the granite, and descending one cable, like you are repelling or (2) side-stepping down, hand-over-hand, on one cable. Either way, you will use one cable to come down. It is important to communicate well with the people on their way up the cables so that you understand how you will be passing each other. Although it is rare to experience injuries while on the cables, historically, there have been disastrous accidents when using the cables inappropriately, or unsafely. Note: Use caution at all times!!!

Another strategy that I used during the day was to stop and eat a light snack, every two hours. For hydration, our rule was to drink approximately a liter of water, every two hours. At each break, we also stretched our legs. I don’t recommend sitting for too long because it can be awfully hard to get those muscles moving again.

Pre Hike 9Tip 9 – Post-Hike Accouterments: My husband and I nailed this perfectly. We bought a disposable cooler for the back of the rental car. We also purchased a couple of bags of ice to keep the post hike food and beverages cool.  We placed extra bottles of water and several ice packs (i.e. for icing sore knees after the descent) into our cooler. (FYI- ice packs work well when you strap them on with an ACE bandage.) We munched on snacks (not jerky!) and enjoyed a celebratory cocktail at the end of our hike.  Our most important post-hike accouterment – FLIP FLOPS!! Trust me – your feet will jump for joy!!

 

Photo Jul 28, 4 08 41 PM

 

Photo Jul 28, 4 01 40 PM

Some last but not least items:

Thankfully, there are a lot of bathrooms along the way.  They are clean and pretty well-maintained. Be sure to practice proper bathroom etiquette, if you decide to use a “natural setting” for your potty-break. Also, don’t forget to check the location of the trailhead the day before. I am glad that we did that in advance instead of looking for it at 5:30 am.  As advised by all Half Dome authorities, if it looks as if it may rain or if there is any chance of thunder turn back immediately! The cables are not safe when it is raining, thundering, and/or lightening outside.

 

 

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Photo Jul 28, 11 45 46 AM (HDR)

Finally, have a wonderful time at Half Dome! We did, and I hope you will share with me your exciting adventure!

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Do you have an adventure planned? I challenge you this week to think about a challenge for yourself. Is there a trip or an experience you have had tickling the back of your mind? Think outside the box! This was certainly not something I had thought I would do. What are you going to do? I would love to know. 

 

WANT TO GET IN SHAPE FOR YOUR TREK? SIGN UP BELOW AND GET A FREE PDF ON CREATING YOUR OWN STAIRS CIRCUIT WORKOUT!!

 

 

 

If you liked this post, I insist you check out these! 

THE THREE DAY RESET: FINALLY A FOOD PLAN THAT IS DOABLE

BURPEES: READ THIS AND YOU WILL NEVER HAVE TO DO THEM AGAIN

WELLFITandFED

 

80 Responses

  1. Great article Heather! Were your shoes hiking shoes or running/cross training shoes? I’m looking at buying some boot for hiking but don’t want heavy ones. Surprised you didn’t have ankle support, how did your feet/ankles do? I love wearing my workout shoes to run stairs and climb in the area, I don’t really want hiking boot, but wondering if I should make that jump.

    1. Great questions! I loved the SOLOMEN trail runners. They were more then enough support and I did not miss the ankle support. Brent ended up buying a pair near the end of training but did not wear them because they were not broken in yet. Try these out. Light, supportive and agile.

      1. We plan on doing this in June, 3 old ladies, and my son. I would like to know how much weight you started with, so I can start training with that amount on my back!

        1. Excellent. So much fun. I started with two litres of water and snacks and worked up to carrying six litres of water and snacks. That was good training!

  2. Heather,

    Thank you for compiling an awesome article for Half-Dome. I didn’t even know I needed to apply for a permit for the cables, so I greatly appreciate that bit of information. I will be heading to Yosemite in a couple weeks so I will have to just hope I can win that lottery!

    You have been very helpful and thanks again for posting this!! :o)

    Laycee

    1. I. Love. Those. Poles! Your son will love it. Even better if his mum could go with! 😉 thanks for commenting!

  3. Saving this post. Such great info. I will do this hike one day… my 18 year old is going to need this info asap though. Thanks for creating a great post. I am curious about those walking sticks being the best purchase ever though… I might have to test that one out:P

    1. Thanks Matt!! I am loving you IG shots and several people referenced your work at a recent blogger event I was at. Well done. ?

    1. I know it seems like minutia but seriously, the wrong gloves make or break you getting up those cables! Ha ha!

    1. Thanks Ashlee. It was one of my very first posts when i thought everything had to be “published article” length! Ha! Thanks for stopping by.

  4. That looks like an amazing hike and an incredible accomplishment. I love how detailed you are so that we can be prepared before undertaking a difficult hike like this one. Great tip about training with the heavy water!

    1. Yes, Jenny. It helped a lot. Let’s just say I might have overprepared a little but I was still glad I did!

  5. we just finished Ken Burns documentary on the National Parks and Yosemite is at the top of our list to visit this summer. Thanks for sharing your super tips!

  6. Yosemite national park is so beautiful, we only drove around the park the last time we were there and definitely want to do some hikes the next time, preferable the half dome 🙂
    I am going to bookmark your post for tips for sure. You guys looks so happy and content in the pictures, not one bit tired after all the hike!
    xx, Kusum | http://www.sveeteskapes.com

    1. I was so amped on adrenaline and trail mix I probably could have done it again. Oh we crashed that night though!

  7. Wow wow!! So impressed that you accomplished this climb! Gorgeous photos and excellent tips. I can barely survive the grocery store with 5 kids and you climbed a mountain in 12 hours! Anyone attempting a long hike would really benefit from this guide.

    1. Super supportive Sara! Frankly though, five kids in the grocery store…Half Dome was a breeze compared to that! 😉

  8. I am planning the hike up half dome with my 3 teenage daughters. Looking for good backpacks. What do u recommend

    1. OK. We used the lightest one we could find at REI. It was perfect and more than enough. Are you staying over in the campground or doing it one day?

  9. Thanks for the great article! We’re doing the half-dome in September, and have a permit (we actually won a lottery!) Your tips are very welcome. They will definitely help us prepare. We hiked Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park a few years ago (if you haven’t done it, we highly recommend it!), so we have a little idea how difficult this will be, and how rewarding. So glad you shared your experience.

    1. Well done Mike! You will have such a god time! Let me know if you have any questions. Keep training.

  10. Thanks for sharing all your tips! Much to my surprise we got lucky with the lottery. Now, I’m trying to get myself prepared for our July visit.

  11. We’re hiking half dome in September. Was all that food for one person or both of you? Did you eat breakfast before you started?

    1. Food was for both of us and we ate eggs and bacon for breakfast, but light.

  12. LOL, Laura and I climbed it when I visited her while she was studying at Palmer…there was a lot less preparation for us 20 ish year olds. I totally remember using the gloves in the basket at the base of the cabled ascent. Do they still have those inspiring warning placards posted everywhere along the way? Pretty cool every time I look at an Ansel Adams print of the Half Dome ?

    1. Ha ha! That is hilarious Dom. I can totally see you guys hiking that together.

  13. I was excited to find your blog as I’m planning to go to half dome this summer. Honest question though: why point out the ethnicity of the inexperienced hiker? I can’t help but think an inexperienced white female hiker would not be described as a “pretty white girl.” Does making a point to say she was Asian feed into some stereotype I’m not aware of? Surely you’ve also seen plenty of Asian hikers in the PNW who at least understand the benefit of trekking poles.

    1. It was just a descriptor. To provide a visual. But if you found it offensive so might others. I should take it out. Thanks for the heads up!

  14. i am confused about the gloves. The ones marked not to buy look sturdier than the blue ones. Are the blue ones nitrile? Some other material? Is it because the leather ones didn’t fit snugly?

    1. Ya, it is not about sturdy it is about grip. You have to be able to feel the cable and get your hand around it easily. The thicker ones just keep slipping off.

  15. Very informative article. Thanks for sharing. How long time wise (weeks/months) did you and your husband prepare? Did you hike half dome in August?

    1. I am in god shape and he is in poor shape but we trained the same. We really only did one long hike a week and our longest was 12 miles. We did the hike in late June if I remember correctly. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any other questions. I love talking about it!

  16. This article cracks me up. When I was in high school in the 90s, my mom & aunt sent me and my cousins up Half Dome with a backpack, a few water bottles, and snacks. I think one of my cousins was in middle school at the time. I have a picture and we’re all in jean shorts with tennis shoes. We borrowed gloves from the base and were told to be home before dark. We did this two different summers, just us kids. How times have changed! Now I’m reading this article and taking it all in and hoping for a permit next summer. Thanks for all of the info! I’m much older now and love planning as much as it sounds like you do. Can’t wait to show my husband this hike! I love your cutest hiker award 😉

    1. OMG! Kristen. That is so funny. I was a child of the seventies too. For skiing my mum would throw a brown bag lunch at me and tell me to be home when the lifts closed. Ha ha ha! Good luck on your permitting process!

  17. This was very well written. I’m not a big hiker but mostly go on 5 mile walks. I’m planning on attempting this hike but only by following your recommendations on carrying water and finding some steep mountains in my area to practice on. Looks like I have 6 months to train and hope I win the lottery to access it. Hopefully I can do this by starting off early at 6am.

    1. You can do it, Greg! You have lots of time to prep and get ready and it will be a amazing life experience as well! 🙂

  18. Heather ,

    Amazing post and very detailed . I love hiking, not hiked any mountains yet. Tried last year 14er in Colorado and with some training was able to do little over half way but couldn’t summit it. I am wanting to do Half-dome and accomplish it. Hope can achieve it . Can you tell me how many months did you train yourself?

    I will definitely have to train my body.

    Thanks a ton for such a wonderful post. You should go for the 14ers (14000ft mountains)in Colorado . They are fun to hike.

    Bijal

    1. Bijal, You are going to do great. The one thing I was surprised at was how many not fully in shape people made it. BUT, you will enjoy it a lot more f you put some effort into your training. I did nine long hikes 8-14 miles before and then I worked out a lot at the gym. A lot has to do with fuel so make sure you are eating well and pack the right food for the day

    2. I feel like I already responded but I wanted to thank you for your comments. I DOOO need to go look at the 14ers. I have heard that a lot. There are also many I want to do in Arizona and Utah!

  19. You wrote: “After we had summited, eaten lunch, taken pictures, and traveled approximately an hour down the trail, we crossed paths with the pretty Asian girl again. This time, she looked a little “worse for wear.””, What a very odd choice to point out her race… Clarification would be appreciated.

    1. Dear Cotton.
      I am so pleased you read my post with an eye for detail (not my strong point). I had taken the first mention of the “Asian” woman out of my post after the first comment referring to my misstep, but overlooked the second. Thank you for drawing it to my attention. All fixed now.

  20. Hi Heather,

    Thank you for this article, it has provided great information! I have a question regarding the elevation. My husband and I are set to go next week and are going to attempt to hike half dome. We have done several hikes ranging from 5-11 miles and are planning on doing an 18 mile one this weekend. The problem is we are pretty much at sea level elevation (Houston). We hiked in Austin last weekend to get some elevation training but the highest point was about 1,800 ft. Any recommendations on what we can do to adjust while there? Thank you!

    1. Oh. My. Word! I cannot believe I missed this! How did it go? Did you survive the elevation? My recommendation was going to be to try to go a day early and do a couple short hikes but the reality is that it takes at least 48 hours for your body to start producing additional red blood cells to deal with the additional oxygenation demands. Tough to deal with that in a short-term way. Please share with me how your trip went!!

      1. No worries! Yes, luckily we did. We won the lottery for Monday and arrived at Yosemite that Saturday, so I think our bodies were able to adjust. We did several small hikes both Saturday and Sunday. The half dome hike was amazing. So serene and beautiful. It took us 12 hours round trip with an hour at the top of the dome. I must say we trained well because we did not feel fatigue or too exhausted. It was definite a life time experience!

        1. So great! I am so glad that you go to have the experience! The stairs and the wires. That’s what I remember! 🙂 Next year I want to do the WAVE in Utah.

  21. What a great article, thank you! We recently visited Yosemite and hiked up the Nevada Falls and now Half Dome is calling our names! I was wondering if you did any upper body strength training for navigating the steep cable climb? We are hoping to get permits to climb next year and I am concerned about having enough upper body strength especially after hiking for many hours. How much is needed?

    1. I would recommend doing some upper body strength. The cables were tougher than I thought they would be and I weight-lift regularly. I would focus mostly on pulling moves like rows, pull ups, lat pull downs, and cable pulls at different heights. Push-ups would be helpful too. Good luck. You are going to love it but don’t worry too much about the cable part. There were lots of folks going up it who were in a pretty deconditioned state! Ha Ha. I just think you will be more comfortable if you are stronger.

  22. thanks so much for the great info.Lots of great tips. my husband and i won the lottery do hike half dome june,2018. Im training now.

  23. Hi Heather! My friends won the lottery to hike Half Dome on June 13 and I am fortunate to be included. I am not excited about only having 6 weeks to train, but I loved reading your article and checking out the links you have listed for help. I was unsure about trying to mess with hiking poles, as I have never used them, but reading about your experience, I will be getting some. Thank you for showing photos of your healthy food choices to take with us. Very helpful. Hope I make it to the top and back to base camp! ~ Janelle

    1. I hope you have a wonderful time! I would love to see some of your photos! THanks for stopping by!

  24. Hi Heather,

    Great blog post! Really appreciated your attention to detail on what to bring for first timers. I will be hiking Half Dome for the first time in August and found your input extremely helpful for the preparation. Thanks again!

    Kimmie

    1. Oh, my goodness. I am so glad you liked it. I have a blog post on ZION hitting tomorrow. Make sure to check it out. Thank you for stopping by.

  25. Thank You Heather! Won the lottery for Sept. 11, am 56 and look forward to the challenge again. This will be my 10th time up, but bringing 5 friends who have never climbed. We are all Guides at Hearst Castle-Sent your 9 essential tips over to them to ‘calm them down’ a bit! Great information, thank you so much!

    1. SO exciting and what a nice gesture to send the tips on over to your buddies. Thank you for reading and good luck on your climb. Sounds like you are going to great!

  26. I enjoyed reading the article! Thanks for the help. I have questions about water.

    I want to sustain as much energy as I could. What do you think of this: I’ll have a 3L bladder of water filled and I’ll bring along two empty 1 Liter water bottles. Once I make it to the last potable water station near Vernal Falls, I’ll fill both bottles up there, thus sustaining some amount of energy up to that point .

    Also, I noticed you suggest bringing 7 Liters of water. Is that for one person or two? I found that to be quite heavy and wanted to clarify. I feel that 5 Liters is already heavy enough!

    1. That is perfect. I had water left over at the end of the day and I carried 3L bladder and two 1.5 side bottles. Great questions though. And yes you could refill at the falls. We did not.

  27. Love this post, finding it in 2019 as we prep for our california trip! hoping to do half dome—we have 3 days we can try for the daily lottery =)

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About Dr. Denniston

Dr. Denniston is a wellness strategist for elite leaders and their teams, bridging the connection between personal well-being and professional success. She provides custom solutions for burnout and stress and facilitates cohesive habit-training strategies that maximize vitality, productivity, and resilience.

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THE THREE DAY RESET is a whole food, organic eating plan geared to charge your metabolism, give you tons of energy, and provide all the nutrients and vitamins you need.

Ready to work together?

WELLFITandFED’s primary programming includes programs, keynotes, workshops, events and customized consulting. The foundations of these offerings are rooted in 25 years of experience working with companies from small start-ups to global giants like Microsoft.

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"BRAVING"- The Anatomy Of Trust In The Wilderness

“BRAVING”- The Anatomy Of Trust In The Wilderness

In her book “Braving The Wilderness,” Brene Brown uses the word “BRAVING” as an acronym for defining and developing trust-filled relationships with everyone from kids to coworkers. Now, who doesn’t have trust issues and who doesn’t love a good acronym? …

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Conquering Your Inner Bully

During the height of my grief, after my mother died, I met a woman with whom I became inseparable. We went everywhere together; finished each other’s sentences, and were joined at the hip. I was rarely without her. We were …

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Want Inspiration? Head To The Bottom Of The Pool

Want Inspiration? Head To The Bottom Of The Pool.

It is a hot summer day in August. You are at the local public pool with your kids. It is noon. You are positioned in the middle, treading water.

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What if grown-up recess was mandatory?

What If Grown-Up Recess Was Mandatory?

Yesterday, my personal “Grumpo-Meter” measured at a ten. I woke up not having slept well, and I was in a funk. I felt all “hormoney” and ready to masticate the head off anyone who got in my way. My dad …

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Brene Brown Is In My Brain Trust

Brene Brown is in my brain trust but let’s go back. I have a panel of advisors that get me through the day. Folks I can count on to advise and gently turn my shoulders when directional assistance is needed. …

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Goal Progress - You Have To Squat Before You Leap - WELLFITandFED

Goal Progress – You Have To Squat Before You Leap

Stand. Just, stand. Now, jump. You can’t can you? To jump you must bend your knees, and in bending your knees, you are dipping down lower than your starting position. The only way to jump up in the air, or …

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