Friday, July 17th, 2015
This trip was a long time coming. Going all the way back to March 2015 when my friend Sandy and I decided to apply for the Yosemite Lottery to attain a permit to hike the cables up to Half Dome. The lottery system was implemented in 2012 to limit the amount of foot traffic on the cables. A maximum of 300 hikers are allowed (about 225 day hikers and 75 backpackers) each day on the Half Dome Trail beyond the base of the Sub Dome.
Two separate fees are collected. The first fee, which is charged at the time you submit an application, is $4.50 online or $6.50 by phone. This non-refundable fee, which is per application and not per person, is charged by Recreation.gov for the costs of processing your permit application.
The second fee is $8 per person and is charged only when you receive a permit and also applies to wilderness permit holders. This fee pays for park rangers checking for Half Dome permits and providing Half Dome visitors with hiking and safety information. The $8 fee is fully refundable if you cancel your permit or if the cables are not up on the date for which your permit is valid.
I was the group leader and my friend Sandy was the alternate leader, but unfortunately some things came up and she could not make the trip, so my friend Jenn became the new alternate leader and together we got 6 people to join our clan which is the maximum amount of people allowed in a group for each permit, so the grand total was $52.50
I knew that this would be the biggest hike I had ever done, so training was necessary. Fortunately I had been training in the gym since Mid January, but It wasn’t until March that I decided to step it up a notch and hire a personal trainer.
The training had paid off, by the time the trip was upon me, I had dropped 25.6lbs, gained 7.8lbs of lean muscle and brought my body fat percentage from 29.7% to 17.2%… I was lean, mean, and ready for the unforeseen!
Knowing that I had the physical training in the bag, there remained only one other challenge, the psychological factor. For as long as I can remember, I have always had a major fear of heights and since 2006 I have willfully been battling it by pushing myself into situations that would otherwise have caused me to panic. Suffice it to say that since 2008 I have also been battling General Anxiety Disorder and a recent case of Clinical Depression, but this trip would change all that it would push me to the limit by placing me in a terrorizing position and I will have to fight to take full mental control over my phobia.
This will be the biggest challenge in my entire existence… “let the games begin!”
DAY 01: “Cabin in the Woods”
Friday, July 17th, 2015
I had taken the day off from work and spent it running around like a maniac trying to get all the shopping done for the meals and necessities we would need on this trip, meanwhile my coworkers were getting ready to head off early from work. Jenn had made arrangements for us to stay at a most excellent cabin in the woods via Airbnb and suggested that we all get together the evening before the hike to load up on some tasty Pho for sodium so that we don’t hit a salt deficit on tomorrow’s hike.
Pho 38 is a great place for a bowl of the good stuff, with a pretty good Yelp review, currently 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 79 reviews, not too bad.
“I felt pretty happy about our location for the next couple of days, very peaceful”
“Our cabin in the woods, just 32 miles from Yosemite Village”
Our Half Dome Team would consist of 5 Apple employees and 1 Ultra Marathon runner from Los Angeles. As we started to settle in our place of stay for the night, we hurried to make sure that we had everything we needed for our 5 AM departure time. Some of the guys worked on setting up sleeping arrangements, while Jenn and Nick worked on prepping snacks for the hike tomorrow.
“Jenn did a great job locking on securing this amazing cabin”
“I will definitely be looking forward to these tasty looking sando’s tomorrow”
“Almond Butter and Berry Sandwiches on Whole Wheat Bread?… Yes Please!”
“After finishing the snacks, Jenn whipped up some Overnight Oatmeal for tomorrow’s breakfast”
With all the preparation and scrambling to double check packs and supplies, our early bed time had long passed and when the clock struck midnight, we darted to our beds to claim as much sleep as we possibly could. I know myself very well and sleep would not settle in for me until at least an hour of laying there… “Ugh”
DAY 02: “Half Dome”
Saturday, July 18th, 2015
My alarm went off at 3:45am and I did not want to get up. Knowing what today was, there was no time for the luxury of a ‘Snooze Battle’ with my phone. I had slept for what I estimate to be 3 hours and I knew this was going to be one hell of a day, but I wasn’t alone, as my comrades awoke, I learned that they too suffered the same ill fated lack of sleep, so we were a team even in exhaustion. I had my breakfast upon waking which I ate silently in my room so as not to wake anyone in the living room and eventually the others got up and took their breakfast to go.
As the Owner of a National Parks Pass and one big ass truck (a.k.a. The Starship), we all piled in and set off on Hwy 120 East. We were running a bit behind, but fortunately not by too much, our departure was a very early 5 am, not too long before the 5:51am sunrise. The drive to Curry Village in Yosemite Valley was approximately 32 miles and with the hills and tight curves, our ETA was about 6am. As we approached the Park’s Entry Booths, I learned that they are not open that early and even though we could pass through without chatting it up with a ranger, there was a sign that said they would be stopping us on the way out for passes or a fee.
We finally arrived and parking was my primary concern this point, so as per Jenn’s advice, we took a parking spot at Curry Camp which would add an additional 2 miles to our total hike, but at this point, it did not matter because there was no turning back now.
The weather forecast for today was mostly clear skies and a warm 83°F/28°C, so we got our packs together, boots on, and hit the road in two heel drive!
“Our hike started at 6:28am and the extra mile that we hiked to the trailhead was a good warm up”
“The Trailhead, our destination from here was a proclaimed 8.2 mile hike with plenty of elevation gain”
“After a short while, we encountered stone steps which seemed to go on forever”
“Jenn hauls a heavy duty Go Ruck pack with all the necessities she will need for this monster hike”
Being warmed up and fresh on the trail, our stops were minimal. We pushed ourselves up the large granite steps and onward to the top of Vernal Falls. Along the way the guys took a few pics of the falls and noted that the strange shape in the pool below was in fact a Beluga Whale and not a rock at all… Yes, “The Beluga Whale of Vernal Falls.”
“Eventually we reached a railing near the top”
We had spent a decent amount of time training for this hike, we even incorporated group hikes after work in the weeks prior to this day. We would often load our bags down with up to 36 lbs of payload to allow our bodies to acclimate to a heavier haul since we would each be carrying 5-6 liters of water, plus meals, snacks, a windbreaker, a first aid kit, and many other essentials. The stair master at the gym was my best friend for the last 4 months of training that I had endured and it seriously paid off. Other benefits came in the form of hiking Saturdays and Sundays with a heavy loads as well.
In my case, I would be carrying 32 lbs in the form of a chilled 3 liter hydration pack with dual 1.2 liter Hydroflask insulated bottles, Leki trekking poles, food, snacks, first aid kit, rechargeable flash light, waterproof matches, wet wipes, a Marmot Vapor Trail Windbreaker, Canon 5D MKII, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L USM II lens, A back up Canon S120 point and shoot, extra batteries for both cameras, and a sturdy set of mechanic gloves with some very good grip.
“Made it to the top of the falls”
Vernal Falls is a 318ft (97 m) waterfall that is part of the Merced River just down stream from the much taller Nevada Falls. The elevation here is approximately 5,000ft (1,524 m). According to nps.gov, the hike to the top of Vernal is considered to be in the ‘strenuous’ category with approx. 1,000ft (305 m) of elevation gain from the Happy Isles trailhead.
“Our hike would take us over a bridge just past the top of Vernal Falls where we would get a view of Nevada Falls”
“Photo opportunities were plenty along this hike”
Nevada Falls is a 594ft (181 m) high waterfall which is nearly double the height of it’s down stream neighbor, Vernal Falls. Just like Vernal Falls, it too sits on the Merced River and is located below the beautiful and eccentrically featured granite dome, Liberty Cap. The elevation at the top of the Nevada Falls is approximately 6,000ft (1,828 m) and marks the gateway to the Little Yosemite Valley campground. The best time to catch Vernal and Nevada Falls at their fullest flow is April/May.
“We parked half way up the trail along Nevada Falls for a quick rest and a snack break”
“Did someone say snack break?”
“Jenn and Andreas chilling out before we get back on the move again”
We had finally reached the top of Nevada Falls and crossed paths with quite a few backpackers who were returning from the Little Yosemite Valley campground. One had quickly mentioned that it would be a nice flat hike once we reached the campground region. Naturally this was a relieving thought.
The entire hike to the top of Nevada Falls was done in the shade and we were very fortunate to have endured 2,000ft (610 m) of elevation gain in the shade. Things however would turn very sunny now with partial breaks of shade provided by the surrounding trees.
“We made a quick stop along the Merced River to enjoy the peaceful view”
“We set off again and saw a view that neither of us had ever experienced, the back of Half Dome”
“The flat portion of the trail didn’t last very long before we began to ascend yet again”
“This was the last clear view of Half Dome for a short while”
“As the elevation increased, so did our pit stops”
The hike from Little Yosemite Valley to the base of Sub Dome (Half Dome’s Shoulder, a.k.a. Quarter Dome) was a grueling series of switchbacks that were 70% shaded with a heavy presence of trees, but it was still one hell of an upward haul. We had to take several breaks along this section of the trail.
Eventually we broke off the John Muir trail and onto the Half Dome junction trail, but not before encountering an inconspicuous ranger who was casually standing along the trail side and asking on comers about their Half Dome permits. He pulled up our file and we were free to proceed. Jen and I didn’t even have to show our permits, “Gotta love that tech!”
After a good while of heading up the trail, Sub Dome and Half Dome finally came into view again and I was a little freaked out by this point. You could literally see people as tiny dots along the side of the granite behemoth, but we had to press on.
“Had to get a group shot in front of this newer and more terrifying perspective”
The view here was pretty fantastic, across the way, just North East of where we stood, I spotted another huge hike destination, Cloud’s Rest, almost 1,000ft (304 m) taller than Half Dome’s summit, however it’s 1,775ft (540 m) elevation gain pales in comparison to Half Dome’s 4,800ft (1,600 m) gain. Of all the hikes available in Yosemite, ours would be the most extreme elevation gain there is to experience here.
Just up ahead along the trail, we spotted big granite plateau that would serve as our last gradual incline before the really steep fun begins. As most of you could imagine, I was thrilled.
“This sign did not aid in my attempt to extinguish my panic”
“We started up the carved granite steps that would take us to the plateau that would launch us up Sub Dome”
Arriving at the top of the plateau, the view of Sub Dome and Half Dome was just frightening as all hell for me. We took a small break to enjoy the view from here and take care of some “Nature Calling” or as we called it, “Doing some Recon”…lol
The elevation at this point was approximately 7,900ft (2,407 m), about a thousand feet of elevation gain to go.
“Another sign greeted us at the base of Sub Dome”
We started our way up the very steep and narrow steps of Sub Dome with occasional breaks to catch our breath. The elevation gain here was staggering and definitely having an effect on us, but not enough to hinder our progress by very much. We were terrified, breathless, excited, and running on very little sleep all at the same time, but it was too awesome to stop now!
“Andreas catches a quick break for a drink and a view of the amazing scenery about half way up the Sub Dome”
“We were up pretty high by this point, even spotted a fire in the distance”
“Between the elevation and gain, the ascent to the top of Sub Dome was proving to be a strenuous one”
Sub Dome was a bit tricky as there was no warning that the steps would stop near the top and turn into a four legged scramble up the gradually sloped granite to the next small section of steps, but those would end as well which made the rest of the ascent up the sloped granite a little unnerving, but since this section was near the top, the angle was not very bad at all, it only appeared that way.
“Nick and Jenn make the last leg of the ascent to Sub Dome”
We finally made it to the top of Sub Dome and decided that now was the best time to take a break and collect ourselves in preparation of the final 440ft (134 m) ascent up the Half Dome cables.
There are about 68 pole sets from the bottom of the cables to the top. The rock face is at a 45 degree angle and the cables run over 600 ft in length.
Our elevation at this point was 8,400ft (2,560 m) and we were definitely feeling it. We took a longer break here than normal, about 30 minutes to prepare for the last climb and for me it was all about mental control over my anxiety and acrophobia. The winds atop Sub Dome were pretty strong and came in gusts which would not help the journey to up the cables.
This fluff ball just popped up out of nowhere and was the biggest cam ham I had the pleasure of capturing. He posed like this long enough for me to snap a few shots, but when he realized I did not have any food to give, he lost interest and walked to another group of folks along the rocks. It is not uncommon to see Marmots at this altitude.
“Nik and Nick assess the cables from here”
I had not experienced the fear I was feeling at that moment since I was a child at Disneyland waiting in line for Space Mountain. The terror I was going through was on par with those ancient memories and I could feel my mouth getting dry and accompanied by a powerful sensation to just pass out. Andreas had taken note and gave me a quick pep talk about handling my fear. He said something to the effect of,
“As an Ultra Marathon runner, most people are overwhelmed at the shear scale of the entire race and that alone can create a lot of negativity and doubt which in turn can cripple performance and the ability to take on such an endeavor, but you must remember that a race should always be approached one mile at a time so that you do not overwhelm yourself with the panic of trying to envision the entirety of the race.”
With that said, I realized that there was a lot of truth to this and that no matter what my mind was trying to tell me, the way to the top of the summit can be achieved one step at a time. I was grateful for his words of wisdom and realized that I had come much too far to let a phobia impede all the wonderful things that life has to offer. I was as ready as I would ever be now and so the time for the final ascent and the biggest challenge in my life was eminent.
“This view does not do the cables justice, it is far more inclined than this”
There is a large pile of gloves at the base of the cables for those that forgot their own, but I wouldn’t advise it, there have been reports of maggots and other nasty things festering in the pile, so just do yourself a solid and bring a pair of your own for all hygienic intents and purposes.
“And it begins…”
The angle after the first 40ft (12 m) was a very tough 45 degrees of slippery granite. I cannot stress this enough, but you must have good gripping leather gloves as well as an iron grip to make this climb. This is not a joke, people have died on this section of the hike for not minding their grip or getting distracted. This takes total concentration, a reasonable amount of upper body strength, and pretty good hand-eye-foot coordination.
Ideally, the cable ascent can take as little as 18 minutes to the top, but people move at different speeds and stopping for folks coming down the cables can increase the amount of time you spend on the cables. It is best to be patient and above all, be courteous, we have all trekked a long way to share this experience. Sometimes there will be a situation where someone will panic and bring traffic on the cables to a halt, so make sure you have some very good gripping shoes and gloves and be prepared to be on the cables for up to 30+ minutes.
If you doubt your ability to grip for that duration, make sure you allow for break points at the sections of the cables that have 2×4 wood beams mounted and lastly, hook your self in with some form of carabiner to carabiner setup.
Getting higher up the cables and locked in with an iron grip, I was eventually brave enough to snap a few shots of the view to the right while ascending, this gave a good idea of the climbing angle we were dealing with. Some how my focus on taking photos allowed the fear to start vanishing
“Taking this shot of my buddy Nick was rather dizzying for me, Sub Dome was just below”
“View to the left was just was awesome, by this point, I was starting to get over my fear of heights”
As we neared the top, we got smart and kept our distance from each other so that we could rest on the wooden beams. One thing that no one ever mentions about the cables is that due to prolonged exposure to the angle of this slope, you must prepare to have your Achilles’ tendons stretched to the point of having a nice tender soreness upon reaching the top.
“Trailing David, I took another opportunity to snap some shots on the final stretch of the cables”
We finally made it to the top and it was time for a most well deserved lunch break! We started our hike at 6:28am from the Curry Village parking lot and made it to Half Dome’s summit at about 1:20pm in the afternoon.
I snapped a photo of this little guy. Apparently Nick sat by a small bush where a ground squirrel lived and had left a sandwich next to his bag. Well, doing what these little critters do best, he came out, tore the sandwich bag open and ran off with Nick’s sandwich. Keep an eye on your food folks, these squirrels are silent food ninjas.
SOME HALF DOME INFO & HISTORY
Half Dome is an 87 million year old glacier carved granite peak that rises almost 5,000ft off the Valley Floor.
It is located at the East end of the Valley in Yosemite National Park, as if on a pedestal, Half Dome is the most colossal and recognizable rock monument in the Sierra Nevada, smoothly rounded on three sides and a sheer vertical face on the fourth.
Composed of quartz monzonite, an igneous rock that solidified several thousand feet within the Earth. Half Dome, is the remains of a magma chamber that cooled slowly and crystallized beneath the Earth’s surface. The solidified magma chamber was then exposed and cut in half by erosion, therefore leading to the geographic name Half Dome. Similar, still molten magma chambers are thought to underlie many active volcanoes.
According to Backpacker.com, The Half Dome Hike is considered one of America’s top 10 deadliest hikes.
On October 12, 1875, George G. Anderson, A Scottish a miner and blacksmith, made the first ascent to the summit of Half Dome.
Working alone, he brought his forging station up and crafted dozens of seven-inch iron eye-bolts on site. During the climb, he drilled the holes which, after 1919, came to house the cables of the popular route up Half Dome. A pioneer without the benefit of modern climbing gear or techniques, He placed iron spikes drilled into the rock for protection. The ascent took him days on end. Anderson ascended Sub Dome and began his quest using the remnants of the rope from the previous attempts of others, pulling himself up as far as he could safely manage. Using a method called “single jacking,” he held a steel bar and hit it with a hammer to drill shallow holes into the granite, about a half inch wide and about five inches deep. He slid small wooden pegs into the holes then hammered in the eyelet spikes.
He then attached a rope through the eyelet and around himself in case of a fall. The spikes were placed where needed, about five feet apart. He had to stand on one spike to hand drill the hole for the next spike. Up and up he went, building a crude ladder with about fifty of these eyebolts. Occasionally, some irregularity in the curve of the rock would enable him to climb independently of the rope to where he would begin drilling again.
Anderson carried a half-inch hay-bale rope up to the top using the spike ladder. He had modified a 900-foot length of rope by knotting five strands together with a sixth strand and three inch sailor’s knots a foot apart. This was to grasp as he made the ascent. He then affixed the rope to the eyelets on the way down.
During all this his shoes proved to be too slick, so he tried wearing just his stocking feet, then he tried working barefooted. Next, he tried bags full of pine pitch tied below his knees; then he tried wearing moccasins with pine pitch on the soles, looking for a solution. The latter method appeared to work best and enabled him to adhere firmly to the smooth granite. But while the pitch prevented him from slipping, it also required great effort to unstick him. This almost proved fatal several times.
At three in the afternoon on October 12, 1875, Anderson stood on top!
(Some of the above was written by Rick Deutsch, check out the link to his full article for more information)
Today, Anderson’s one-room log cabin, originally located at what is now Foresta just west of Yosemite Valley, was moved to the Pioneer Yosemite History Center in Wawona where it continues to be preserved.
“Contrary to how small it appears from lower altitudes, Half Dome’s summit is a massive 10 acre expanse.”
“The look of accomplishment”
“After wrapping up a solid meal, it was time to explore the summit, Dave and Nik found the edge”
“The Half Dome Wrecking Crew from left to right: Nick, Indigo, David, Nik, Jenn, Andreas.”
“Nick was literally hanging off the edge of the cliff for this shot, made me feel queasy”
“The gang and I started trekking to the other end of the summit”
“Nik made a stone tower, there were many of them up here”
“The wind up here was decent, not as bad as the gusts on Sub Dome or the cables”
“It was a lot of fun being up here, we were all in a great mood”
“Best Buds, Andreas and Jenn”
“Surprisingly there was reception up here, so Nik started to check I.T. tickets for work…lol”
“David soon followed suit, if your going to put in some hours, what better place to do it”
“The ability for life to endure these conditions never ceases to amaze me”
“Jenn found the sweet spot for an epic photo opportunity”
“Nick spooked a Raven that I was trying to photograph and resulted in this perfectly times shot”
We spent about an hour at the summit and as I have with other peaks, I searched feverishly and thoroughly for a Survey Marker. I wanted a photo to add to my collection, but I could not find one. I asked a few people and one guy said he saw one before, but he could not remember where it was. Nik accessed Google and we soon discovered that Half Dome in fact does not have a Survey Marker.
Most peaks are marked by the U.S.G.S. with these 4 inch bronze disks, but apparently the reason is that there was no need for one because surrounding peaks were given Survey Markers to give information about topography. Still a pretty lame excuse, I say they should plant one up there for the simple reason that Half Dome is such an iconic peak.
It was time to begin our descent down the cables and visually, the way down was as Jenn put it, “Terrifying”. That description was no exaggeration and so we put on a smile and started heading down when suddenly we hit a pretty big traffic jam. We couldn’t see what was happening, but we were stuck on the upper cables for close to 20 minutes.
“I took a seat and braced myself for a long wait as I handed the 5D to Nick so he could snap a shot of me, Thanks Nick!”
“I returned the favor”
“I managed to snag another shot of the angle at the top of the cables, which wasn’t too bad, but still steep”
“David gave us the ‘All Clear’ one section at a time as the traffic jam cleared up”
We had gotten word that the cause of the jam was a poor girl who freaked out half way up the cables and was paralyzed with fear. Her awesome and very patient boyfriend did his best to coerce her to descend with him and she did so very slowly. I reassured them that it was okay and not to feel any pressure from myself and others behind us, I told them to please take their time, we were not in a hurry. The boyfriend responded with a “Thank you” and they proceeded to descend as we followed section by section.
“The girl in this photo was one who was terrified, but her boyfriend helped her down”
“As soon as we reached the bottom of the cables, we took a small break before heading off on the trail back”
“I was having the time of my life today, I conquered my fear and I was feeling golden”
“It was time to make our journey back to the parking lot, but not before a nice second lunch at the top of Nevada Falls”
“Looking back at where we just were, it all felt so surreal”
“Down, Down, Down, the steps of Sub Dome”
“In case we lose our path…the trail is this way”
“A Dome’s Day Group Shot”
“One last shot of both Half Dome and Sub Dome from this perspective, it’s quite beautiful”
“Now back to making tracks, sore legs and all”
“This is the most orange looking redwood I saw on this entire trail”
Thousands of steps later, we came upon Little Yosemite Valley. By this point on the hike, my right calf was really starting to hurt pretty bad. I had sustained injuries to my calves a few weeks back and because I did not want to give up any amount of final training before Half Dome, It never got a chance to heal properly.
My pace had started to slow as we got closer to Nevada Falls, but I was bent on getting in a nice rest and tearing into my Almond Butter and Banana sandwich… Yummm!
Shortly after a quick bathroom break at the top of Nevada Falls, we broke away from the point which brought us here in the morning and took an Alternate route that would keep the view interesting.
“Approaching the rest point on the other side of Nevada Falls, the view of the Merced River was rather photogenic”
“David and Nik, couple of tech badasses”
“Liberty Cap was a visually striking rock and the sunset lighting made it all the more eccentric”
“I fell behind as my leg was killing my by this point, but I soon spotted the gang and joined them”
“The bridge crossing the top of the falls looked fairly new”
“Naturally, we spotted a party crasher”
“I took my boots off, relaxed, ate my sandwich and enjoyed the view”
“We started our hike again and rather than face the steep granite steps we started with, we instead walked a series of many switch backs that descended the opposite side of the Merced River. The scenery was very much worth the extra hike.
“Half Dome on the Left, Liberty Cap to the right and Nevada Falls just below”
“The cliffs long this particular section of trail were wondrous and magnificent!”
“Just 2 miles left…”
“Last photo before sundown and we finally made it to my truck, it was 7:15pm”
“Over all stats, Click the image for an interactive map and elevation guide”
The hike was a massive 18.6 mile stretch over the course of 12 hours 47 minutes. I had my Runkeeper app running the entire time which included breaks and gave an estimated calorie burn of 4,769. I was very hungry now and looking forward to eating after getting back to the cabin and freshening up.
LATER THAT NIGHT…
Jenn led the charge for making us dinner with some help from the fellas. We were having Organic Wheat Pasta Spaghetti and Chicken with a nice Three Cheese Sauce, Some Salad and a couple of loaves of Trader Joe’s Focaccia Bread which was very delicious mind you.
All this tasty food combined with several rounds of Cards against Humanty, some Chilled beer and a smashing good time, and our evening was complete.
“A perfect end to a milestone of a day!”
DAY 03: “BREAKFAST, THEN HOME”
Sunday, July 19th, 2015
We all did a fair amount of sleeping in and deserved it after what we endured the day before. I was very proud of our team for kicking ass on such a brutish hike with only 3 hours of sleep. This morning Jenn wanted to make a special Sweet Potato Hash with scrambled eggs and chicken and a side of some left over Focaccia Bread with buttered toast. Nick helped out and our last meal here was under way.
“Jenn skillfully prepped the Sweet Potato Hash”
“We then waited for things to bake in the oven”
“The guys waited patiently to get their grub on”
“As the contents in the oven neared completion, it was time to cook the eggs and chicken”
“Hear, Hear, a toast to new friends and one awesome mission accomplished”
I must say that Hiking to the Summit of Half Dome after training for months and facing my worst fear head on will forever go down in my personal history as one of the biggest challenges I have ever experienced and I could not be happier for pushing myself to do so. I have to thank my friends as well for being there to push myself and each other to help make this massive undertaking a most amazing adventure. For me personally, it is all still trying to sink in, but I can say with absolute certainty that I feel accomplished and I am sure that each of my comrades took away some personal value for themselves from all this. We arrived together and conquered Half Dome together!
And that just about wraps up this blog and so until the next post, remember to travel with camera in hand and “Shoot the Planet!”
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