I climbed Half Dome at Yosemite yesterday. It was my second time doing it. My best friend came, My Firefighter, his daughter, her husband and their friend and we all made it to the top!
We made it a two-day camping trip this year. The original plan was to hike to Little Yosemite Valley, set up camp and leave our heavy stuff there then continue on to the top of Half Dome, come down and camp, then hike down the rest of the way in the morning. It would be about 17 miles round trip.
What happened in actuality is that it rained when we reached the camp site, so we built a large campfire in the designated place the second the rain stopped and played host to everyone else that had been caught in the rain as they came along the trail. It looked like a human clothesline as everyone held their wet things by the fire to dry. We stayed there for the rest of the day and went to bed around 8pm. The temperature dropped to 36F during the night. I was fine, but others, including My Firefighter, got extremely cold due to having inadequate sleeping bags. We got up before dawn and started up to the top of Half Dome. It was extremely cold and windy on the cables so I ended up passing everyone and getting the top first just to get out of the wind and cold. I laid like a lizard in a crevice, protected from the wind, but absorbing the morning sunlight until everyone else was up. We took a quick round of photos (none of which I have as they are on everyone else's cameras still) then came down. The wind was a little less and the sun higher in the sky so it was a tab bit easier on the cables weather-wise, but I find going down the cables harder than going up so I was very glad to reach the bottom.
The morning warmed up beautifully. We reached camp quickly, ate, cleaned up, packed, then headed down. I set the pace and we made it down in record time according to all the times My Firefighter has done it. We even passed the younger ones, without even knowing it. They had a 10 or 15 minute lead on us, but stopped to chat along the way and we didn't see them and kept going. We spent another 10 or 15 minutes at the car wondering where they were and then moved the car closer, hoping to meet them, but, again, they slipped by and we got a text saying, "The van is gone but it's impossible that you beat us down."
Guess we showed them! It was quite satisfying to know that the oldies beat the younger folks.
Accept for the cold night on some of their parts, everyone had a pretty good time and it was quite an accomplishment to climb that huge granite monolith again. I don't have a hankering to ever do it again, though. I'm not saying I'll never do it again, but I don't see why I would when there are so many other places to hike and visit that I've not seen yet. Oh, and I'm quite sore, but nothing as bad as last year.
The girls stayed home with my best friend's daughter, who came to babysit. They had a great time, they assured me, even the littlest one.