Yosemite National Park officials have announced that day-use permits to climb the Half Dome cables will be required seven days a week for the 2012 summer season.
An interim program that required permits on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays was implemented by the National Park Service in 2010 and switched to a seven-day-per-week system for 2011, to better regulate the number of hikers using the cable system. Safety issues have arisen from crowding, which also has led to long waits on the popular hike.
Some changes to the permiting system were made this year, and permits will now be allocated through a preseason lottery, a two-day-in-advance lottery, and as part of the Wilderness Permit process, with a maximum of 400 hikers allowed each day on the Half Dome Trail beyond the subdome.
Permit fees also have increased, with two separate fees collected for 2012. A non-refundable processing fee of $4.50 will be charged when applications are submitted online ($6.50 if done by phone). An additional $5 per person refundable fee will be charged when permits are received, and helps offset the cost of stationing park rangers at Half Dome to check for permits.
Further details regarding the lotteries and the wilderness process can be found at the park's website at www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hdpermits.htm.
The Half Dome cables are generally in place from mid-May through mid-October, depending on snowpack and weather conditions.
Image of Half Dome and climbers using the cable system courtesy of Scott Gediman / National Park Service