Hike Half Dome

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YExplore Half Dome Summit Club

YExplore Half Dome Summit Club by John P. DeGrazio

Yosemite Guided Half Dome Hikes

2015 Dates for  Available Half Dome Permits:

Day Hike: Available dates will be published in mid April 2015.
2 Day overnight Hike with Half Dome Permit:
May 25 – May 26 (4 permits available)

Hike Half Dome and attempt the 8842′ Summit with the most experienced Yosemite Guide Service rated highest in customer satisfaction. We break down the hike into manageable sections to help you focus on your goal. We will safely guide your group and give you the best possible chance for success while you learn about the area’s natural history.

Join us for a fully educational Guided Half Dome Hike and embark on a journey of self discovery during this life altering experience. Panoramic views are as incomparable as the sense of achievement you will feel upon completion of this epic adventure. Achieve the summit and you will earn your very own Half Dome Summit Club Patch.

Summiting Half Dome in Yosemite is a major accomplishment, and our experienced Yosemite guides provide you with interpretation, preparation, trail knowledge, coaching, safety gear, and the benefit of added security for anyone attempting this remarkable feat. We prepare you for the long one-day journey (2 days as a backpack trip), provide insight to the trail, offer assistance on the cables, and help you maintain your confidence throughout the day so you are able to focus on achieving your goal. Join us for a Strenuous Half Dome hiking tour and reward yourself with breathtaking views and a true sense of fulfillment.


The fabled Half Dome Cables in Yosemite by John P. DeGrazio


  • Custom Guided Tours with Expert Hiking Guides
  • Mountaineering and Outdoor Skills Building
  • Safety Gear & Proven Techniques on Every Hike
  • Effective Management of the Sub Dome & Cables
  • Interpretive Natural History Education
  • Scenic Photography Classes

Our lead guide John DeGrazio has directed over 100 successful summits of Half Dome since YExplore was founded in 2006. With that experience, he has developed and shared several techniques with our clients on the Half Dome hike. Our high success rate is a direct result of the advantages provided by these strategies.

Our educational tour will explore the geologic and natural history of Half Dome, Yosemite, and the Sierra Nevada combined with a photography workshop teaching all students the art of making nature photographs. Equipped with our cameras, we will make the epic all day journey. Our instructors will teach about the aspects of exposure throughout several different periods of changing light that will make each photograph unique and interesting. This exciting all inclusive adventure will not only take you to the top, but you will end your day with a broader knowledge of the ecology and a sense of achievement both physically and photographically that you never imagined.

Each trip includes the use of special safety equipment on the Half Dome Cables. These items include reliable gloves, custom designed safety belts, and carabiners. Hiking poles will also be provided upon request.


Summiting Half Dome in Yosemite will put your head in the clouds by John P. DeGrazio

Half Dome in a Day Adventure Prices:

1 Person Price: $255

Discounts are applied when more than one person joins this tour.

Reaching the Yosemite Half Dome Summit at Sunrise by John P. DeGrazio

Half Dome 2 Day/1 night Backpack Adventure

1 Person Price: $650

If you would like to attempt Half Dome’s summit, but need more than one day, we can make arrangements for an overnight adventure that includes backpacking. There are a limited number of wilderness permits available each day from various trailheads. Please contact us for more details.

URGENT NOTE: Half Dome now requires permits on all summer days. There will be a quota system of 300 permits per day. Please contact us if you receive permits through the lottery system and we will make arrangements to safely lead you on this hike (209) 532-7014

Half Dome Safety Video:


Food and Liquids-Protein and carbohydrates are essential for hiking so it would be wise to eat a fulfilling meal (pasta) the night before and a healthy breakfast (oatmeal, banana) the day of a hike. Please be certain to bring plenty of food. Everyone joining us should bring at least one sandwich for lunch and a variety of the following: trail mix, fruit, dried fruit, nuts, raisins, hard boiled eggs, cheese & crackers, pretzels, energy bars, granola bars, and a chocolate bar (or other ‘comfort’ item). You may also want to pack a little extra food because of the length of time spent on the trail. Expect to be on the trail for at least 12 hours. That’s a lot of food and water!

All hikers should bring at least 120 oz. of water (140 oz. would be ideal). A hydration pack is recommended. Please do not begin a strenuous hike with less that 120 oz of liquids (including a 20 oz. bottle of sports drink). Our guides carry over 4 liters of liquids on strenuous hikes in the summer. Water purification pumps and pills are a good fallback option. We provide a water filter on every guided Half Dome hike.


Sunrise on Sub Dome during Half Dome Summit Hike by John P. DeGrazio

Hydration: Dehydration can be a cause for concern while hiking on the trails in the sun and heat while at higher elevations. It can lead to headaches, dizziness and other potentially dangerous symptoms if not treated properly. Please be certain to bring plenty of water with you on your adventure and start hydrating the day before any strenuous hiking tour.

Electrolytes: As you sweat, your body needs to replace more than water. Electrolytes are essential. We have found an alternative to the traditional sugary sports drinks that does not contain Yellow 5, aka Tartrazine which can cause some uncomfortable allergic reactions. Electrolyte drinks and mixes are available at most stores. One mix our guides are currently using is called Electro Mix by the Alacer Company which also makes Emergen-C.

Pre-Hydration: It is extremely important to pre-hydrate the day before a Strenuous Half Dome Hike. Make sure to drink at least 1 gallon of water and at least 16 oz of sports drink in the 24 hours leading up to the hike. You should also drink about 20 oz of water in the morning before you hit the trail. These steps will make your Yosemite experience a lot more enjoyable.

Clothing: It’s a good idea to be prepared for all types of weather even in summer. Dressing in layers is always suggested when planning an outing in Yosemite. Very few hikes begin and end in only shorts and T-shirts. The temperatures vary based on the elevation level, amount of sunlight on a particular trail, and of course, the time of day. All adventurers should always pack an extra layer for colder weather. A good lightweight rain jacket will serve as an extra layer on cooler mornings and will protect you on the Mist Trail which could be raging well into July on big snow years. Packable lightweight rain pants are also recommended during May and June while hiking Half Dome.

Gloves: Proper gloves are a must on the Half Dome Cables. Any hardware store will carry nitrile utility work gloves that would be suitable for this hike. Nitrile coated gloves are lightweight and work best. Latex gloves with extra ‘rubberized’ grip are very good too, but some people are allergic to latex. Suede and leather gloves may slip. When pulling yourself up the cables, always “Trust the gloves”.

Footwear: Lightweight hiking shoes or trail runners are perfect for Half Dome. With the advance in technology, their lightweight design has become ideal for this type of hike. Hiking boots are also a good idea on this hike over difficult terrain but can be heavy and every ounce counts over roughly 16 miles. Waterproof hiking shoes and boots are necessary for hikes during spring and early summer when the trail is wet.

Additional Essentials-Sun Block, sunglasses, insect repellent, wide brimmed sun hat or baseball cap


Summer Summit on Half Dome in Yosemite by John P. DeGrazio

Daypacks: Any day pack will do. Be certain your pack can carry all the water, food, and extra clothes your hike requires. Many newer models will have a slot for a hydration reservoir. A good tip would be to bring a rain cover or an extra heavyweight trash bag for inside your pack to protect your gear from rain and the Mist Trail.

Additional Gear: mole skin for blisters and extra socks, head lamp, pocket knife, small pack of tissues.

First Aid: We equip each hike with a First Aid kit so we have you covered for band aids and blister remedies


Muscle up to Beat the Half Dome Cables by John P. DeGrazio

Half Dome Hikes: Require a greater dedication of time and effort. These taxing hikes will last all day (12 hours or more), encounter dramatic elevation changes (4,842′ total), and will provide greater challenges than any other tours. Half Dome Hikes are the most challenging of the strenuous hikes and require more planning than others. We strongly recommend completing a full training regimen when preparing for this hike. Please call us to discuss your plans to attempt Half Dome and how you are preparing for it.

Tips to help you reach the Half Dome Summit by John P. DeGrazio


Earn your very own Half Dome Patch by reaching the summit with YExplore

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