When it comes to Yosemite National Park located in the Sierra Nevada, California, everyone knows about the magnificent granite cliffs portrayed in photos and websites. Tourists come and go, pretty much they go to spots located in the valley itself. I have seen many tourist buses in and out of the valley, with numbers increasing significantly in summer.
I did the cables on half dome back few months back, I was lucky enough to obtain the lottery for the permit to climb the half dome. Even luckier because I went a week before the fire started at Yosemite National Park due to a hiker negligence. I started off from the Yosemite valley for this 15 mile long hike to the top of half dome, at 5 am in the cool summer morning.
1) Bring enough water and stay hydrated
We totally underestimated the intensity of the hike. We brought around 2 litres of water each and we were almost out when we reached the top of the half dome. That was really dangerous because the last thing you want is to suffer from dehydration halfway during the hike. We were lucky because we ran into an old couple with a water filtration system. It was a god sent! I would recommend you to bring 4 litres of water, depending on individuals consumption intake. Important rule of the thumb, you would want to replace your body fluids at a faster rate than losing.
2) Be sure to wear good hiking boots
I went on the trek with running shoes, I felt that I should have went with my Merrell hiking boots instead. On the way up, there were loose gravels and there were times I nearly slipped off the path. Trust me, you will not want that to happen because it is really steep at some parts before the cables.
3) Know your own physical condition well
One of my hiking partners happened to be not that well conditioned for the hike and he was encountering difficulties during the hike. Apart from being out of drinking water, he was tired physically. He did not say a single word on his way down and we all knew that he needed to get himself together and he did. My advice is to condition yourself well, go for intervals training and long runs to train yourself up physically and mentally.
4) Be sure of road conditions
It is not really a problem if you go during summer times, but apart from that, some roads or trails are closed. They have up to date information available online at recreation.gov.