Snake Dike October 3, 1999

Paul, Brian and Coral have an excellent adventure.

Click on the images for a larger view.

We started from the backpacker's parking lot around 1 PM. After the traditional gear sort.

gear sort at the car

Our packs were over 40 pounds with camping gear for two days and climbing gear.

Paul and Coral on the bridge above Vernal

We took our time hiking up to Little Yosemite valley, where we hung a left over the rock rib and up toward Mt. Broderick.
Our goal, Halfdome appeared through the trees, it looked massive.
Snake Dike climbs the left edge.

The South face of halfdome

We soon came to an excellent campsite.
Find Paul's bivy sack , the black bear canister, and Coral and Brian's tent.

Campsite on the ridge East of Mt. Broderick.

Paul got the stove going, the heat from the flame felt good, it was getting cold fast. In the morning there was ice in our water bottles.

Paul tends the stove

After a long nights sleep we got up before dawn. I planned to get water at Lost Lake.
But in October, Lost Lake was truly lost, it was a mud pit.
I had to walk out a log and strain out the green algae to get water.

geting water from lost lake

Never, I repeat, never look in your water bottle before you drink!

The trail to the base of Snake Dike is exciting. It is much easier to follow than it was twenty years ago, through the woods many footsteps have beaten the path into a groove. Over the rocks there are scattered cairns. Still, the trail made us crawl through tunnels in the manzanita, along the way we got scratched. I taught Coral about the Bob Ayers Manzanita scratch scale, it's simply the base 10 logarithm of the number of scratches you get. On this scale the trail is only a 1. Coral thought that was enough. The trail also crosses some high cliffs on ledges. I can't resist a cantilever rock.

on the "trail" to Snake Dike

Eventually we came to our first view of Snake Dike. it angles up and left above the tree to my right.
It angles up and left for 8 pitches. I warned Coral and Brian,at some point I am going to say "it's time to unrope and walk, you're going to look around and say 'no way.'"

hiking up to the base of the climb

Pitch 1 is 5.7 up the face to the ceiling where there is protection.
There was a group of 3 ahead of us. they were old pros, once they got going they made good speed.
Notice the high tree in this photo, it is a great marker for the beginning of the route.

another party climbs the first pitch

Here's a view of Coral climbing up pitch one.

coral on the first pitch

The belay at the end of the first pitch is comfortable.

a comfortable belay spot

Pitch one ends at a nice ledge. Then a traverse and a climb up a short steeper wall brought us to the end of pitch two. Here's Paul finishing the crux traverse to join Snake Dike.

Paul leads across the crux to the dike

I was having fun. There is usually a good bolt every 75 feet, 25m, and two at the belays.
However, there are few protection placements on the route other than these bolts. So leaders had better be comfortable with long runnouts on easy rock.

yes indeed I'm having fun. pd leading dike

Bright sun, 60F,15C, and a little breeze made for fine climbing.
The dike climbs for pitch after pitch into the sky. Occasionally it bifurcates, two dikes no waiting!

coral climbing the dike high on the dike

Some belays are a bit small. Two climbers share a tiny "belay ledge."

a small belay ledge

Other belay ledges are slightly larger. My foot is partly inside a giant hole that appears to mark the belay.

a belay high on the route

After 8 pitches we reached the gentler slopes that led 1000 feet to the summit.
I said "It's time to unrope." Coral and Brian of course looked around and thought, "no way!"
Luckily they remembered my earlier comments and actually unroped and started hiking to the summit.
Coral claims that the hike up the last thousand feet were really the crux of the climb. Here's Brian on the hike to the summit.

Brian hiking to the top

Geologists say that the summit of halfdome weathers away a few inches per million years!

the summit of halfdome

Then all we had to do was descend the cables route and return to camp, which we did before dark!

down the cables

Brian was the photographer for our trip, great job Brian!

Thanks to Brian and Coral for sharing a fine day on high granite with me.

Return to Paul's Home page.