In an effort to increase visitor safety, Yosemite National Park will require Day Use Permits to climb the Half Dome cables seven days per week for the 2011 summer season.
Over the past several years, the popularity of the hike has resulted in large numbers of people using the Half Dome cables, particularly on weekends and holidays, according to a press release from the park. Saturdays and holidays averaged 840 visitors per day, while peak days saw up to 1,200 people using the cables. These large numbers of hikers generated significant safety concerns that were cemented by a fatality and serious injuries sustained by park visitors that were caused by these crowded conditions.
The park instituted an interim program for climbing the Half Dome cables this year to address these serious safety concerns. Day Use Permits were required to use the cables on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. Although the interim program worked well on the permit days, visitor use on the cables during days in which permits were not required reached peak weekend levels, analogous to peak days before permits were required.
Therefore, to address the consistent crowded conditions on the Half Dome cables, Day Use Permits will be required seven days per week for the 2011 summer season. The Half Dome cables are generally in place from mid-May through mid-October, depending on snowpack and weather conditions, according to the release.
The Half Dome Day Use Permits will be available starting March 1, 2011 for climbing the cables in May and June. Subsequent permits will be available at the beginning of each month for permits three months in advance. Reservations for a permit can be made through www.recreation.gov or by calling 1.877.444.6777. 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 for each permit obtained.
During this interim program, visitor use and impacts are being monitored. Yosemite National Park Rangers are studying visitor use and safety, assessing the visitor experience, and compiling data that will be analyzed by park managers. An Environmental Assessment process for a long-term plan for the Half Dome cables began public scoping in spring 2010.
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