How Much Will It Cost to Climb Half Dome?

No path in decades of hiking has aroused as many emotions in climbers as the Half Dome trek did. This breathtaking path takes you through some of Yosemite’s best sights, breathtaking valleys and then confronts you with an unforgettable trekking challenge. So, considering its strenuous terrain, you may be wondering, “How much will it cost to climb Half Dome?”

According to a Yosemite National Park press release, Half Dome climb will now cost $20 to utilize the route laced with metal cables that leads to the 8,800-foot peak. Thus, at the moment, permits cost $8 each plus application costs of $4.50 to $6.50.

Nonetheless, there are additional expenditures to consider if you want to get the most out of your Yosemite experience. So, if you’re thinking of climbing or hiking in Half Dome, this article will walk you through all the information you need to know. Continue reading!

Overview of Half Dome

Half Dome, a granite dome structure at the eastern end of the Yosemite Valley, is the most iconic feature in the park. At 8,844 feet above sea level, Half Dome rises 4,737 feet over the Yosemite Valley. In addition to that, it is an iconic feature of the park that presents a significant challenge to many hikers.

Can you rock climb Half Dome?

For a long time, it was believed that this peak could not be climbed; nonetheless, several paths have been discovered. And due to the structure’s strength, granite has mostly escaped erosion over millions of years. It provides an excellent indication of the valley’s prior height, confirming the viability of rock climbing.

Hence, it is one of the park’s most difficult climbs through mountain trails, across rocks, and up steel ladders.

Where can you rock climb at Half Dome?

Unlike trekkers, rock climbers have two starting points for their ascent of Half Dome. They may access the Happy Isles by the Mist Trail via Little Valley or the Death Slabs beyond Mirror Lake. 

The second approach is more involved and needs route-finding ability. Additionally, this path is steeper than the previous, and fixed lines are employed. On the other hand, the first path provides easy trekking and is unquestionably the best option for south-facing routes.

How long does it take to rock climb Half Dome?

The 17-mile round trip journey from Yosemite Valley to Half Dome takes 10 and 12 hours. Hence, the 4,800-foot elevation rise is only for the toughest hikers, who must ascend the last 400 feet over the summit of Half Dome on a stairway with cable supports that serve as handrails.

Additionally, the Hike distance varies from the hike/climber’s starting point. Hence the following hike distances are as follows: 14.2 miles (22.7 km) round trip via Mist Trail, 16.5 miles (26.5 km) round trip via John Muir Trail, 20 miles (32 km) round trip via Glacier Point, 23 miles (37 km) round trip via Tenaya Lake and 7 miles (11 km) round trip from Little Yosemite Valley campground.

How hard is it to rock climb Half Dome?

The Half Dome trek is extreme, long, and steep at the beginning. It is also more difficult than other Yosemite walks and is not recommended for beginners. Half Dome trek perhaps is the most demanding of all the day treks in Yosemite National Park.

If you’re out of condition or untrained, the 14- to 16-mile round-trip trek and climb to Half Dome is not for you. On top of that, you will gain height (a total of 4,800 feet) during the majority of your ascent to the summit of Half Dome. Nevertheless, the majority would argue that the return is well worth the effort.

Along the route, you’ll enjoy spectacular views of Vernal and Nevada Falls, Liberty Cap, Half Dome, and panoramic vistas of Yosemite Valley and the High Sierra from the shoulder and summit.

Half Dome Cables

The climb up the cables is the most popular part of the trip. In fact, the two metal cables enable hikers without rock climbing equipment to ascend the last 400 feet to the peak. Since 1919, few individuals have died after falling from the wires. However, only individuals who behave carelessly often suffer injury.

How much will I spend to climb Half Dome?

Permits to climb Half Dome for an eagle’s eye view will cost $10 this year and the $10 application fee. Whether you applied online or by phone in the past, the $20 cost this year represents a $5.50 to $7.50 increase.

To explain further, two distinct fees are imposed. The first price is $10, collected when you submit your application. Recreation.gov charges this non-refundable fee per application (not per person) to cover the expense of processing your permit application.

The second price of $10 per person is assessed only upon receipt of a permit. This charge covers the cost of park rangers screening for Half Dome permits and offering hiking and safety information to visitors. 

Nevertheless, the $10 price is entirely refunded if you cancel your permission at 9 p.m before your hike date or if the cables are not in place on the day specified in your permit.

Do you need a permit when climbing to Half Dome?

Yes, you’ll need a permit when accessing the cable segment. Most permits are distributed in a lottery held in late March, with further lotteries of 50 or more permits each day held throughout the summer two days in advance.

With a cable-route ticket, you’ll need a wilderness permit if you want to camp along the path rather than tackling Half Dome in one day. So If you’re applying for a wilderness ticket, you may also apply for a Half Dome cables permit without making extra reservations.

What is a permit lottery?

A permit lottery controls the number of hikers who have access to a particular path by restricting access to trekkers who register for hiking permits. Following that, applicants are randomly chosen to get hiking licenses for certain days.

These lotteries protect vulnerable ecosystems and culturally valuable locations by limiting visitation capacity. The lottery is also critical for guaranteeing safety at Half Dome since it limits the number of possible hikers climbing or descending the Half Dome cables. 

Half Dome Lottery Types 

Pre Season Lottery

During the preseason lottery, 225 permits are issued every day. Hence, its registration and application period is from March 1 to March 31. Applicants will get an email with their lottery results, or you can access them online or by phoning Recreation.gov.

Daily Lottery

During the climbing season, additional permits are generally accessible by lottery. These permits are provided under the projected rate of permit under-use and cancellation. The daily lotteries accept entries two days earlier than the hike date and notify winners late that night. It is open from 12:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

Permit Types

Half Dome Permits

When the cables are up, permits are necessary seven days a week to trek to the top of Half Dome regarding the site’s Stewardship Plan. So if you want to use a cable, you’ll have to wait until Friday before the final Monday in May (Memorial Day). 

Hence, each day, a maximum of 300 hikers are permitted on the Half Dome Trail past the foot of the sub dome (approximately 225-day hikers and 75 backpackers).

Half Dome permits do not cover camping, lodging, or overnight accommodation. Bear in mind that holders of Half Dome permits and alternatives should carry a picture ID and the email confirmation confirming payment of the permit.

Half Dome with Wilderness Permits

Permits are necessary seven days a week to trek to the summit of Half Dome while the cables are in place, even for hikers with camping permits. Passes for Half Dome are limited to around 75 per day for backpackers. Thus, Half Dome permits are non-refundable and are $10 per person and must be purchased at a wilderness center on or the day before your excursion.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you hike Half Dome in just a day?

Yes, several people attempt to conquer Half Dome in a single day; however, this is not advised without enough preparation. You should first consider obtaining a day walk permit. Each day, 225-day hiking licenses are available by lottery.

Can you hike Half Dome without cables?

Yes, you can; the official Yosemite website “highly discourages hikers from trying the cable path while the wires are down.” 

Without the protecting railings, hikers should avoid Half Dome: The journey is strenuous and exposed, and trying without a guide is dangerous.

Can you climb Half Dome without a permit?

The penalties for trekking half dome without a permit is between $5,000 and $10,000, or between one and six months in prison. Additionally, you risk being permanently barred from BLM and other national parks without a permit.

Take A Climb Into Half Dome! 

A climb to Half Dome would only cost you $20. On top of that, if you apply the information above, a journey to Yosemite Valley will be worthwhile. So come prepared and be enthusiastic about climbing Half Dome with this article!