The thrilling hike to the top of Half Dome is a world-famous adventure that became so popular, you now need a reservation to do it. The hike is made possible by the cables installed on the granite rock face that give hikers a safe route to reach the top. That being said, it’s still dangerous.
Without the cables, it’s a very dangerous trek to the top of the granite face. In the above video, two hikers come fully prepared to ascend Half Dome without the cables in the springtime. They brought safety harnesses to attach themselves to the cables (the cables stay laying on the rock throughout the year) and take every precaution to stay safe. As a result, they made the trek without the crowds or permits needed on a typical Half Dome ascent.
Rising nearly 5,000 feet above Yosemite Valley and 8,800 feet above sea level, Half Dome is a Yosemite National Park icon and a great challenge to many hikers. Despite an 1865 report declaring that it was “perfectly inaccessible, being probably the only one of the prominent points about the Yosemite which never has been, and never will be, trodden by human foot,” George Anderson reached the summit in 1875, in the process laying the predecessor to today’s cable route.
The most famous–or infamous–part of the hike is the ascent up the cables. The two metal cables allow hikers to climb the last 400 feet to the summit without rock climbing equipment. Since 1919, relatively few people have fallen and died on the cables. However, injuries are not uncommon for those acting irresponsibly.