Yosemite National Park Takes Down Popular Rock Face’s Cables For the Season

by Amy Myers
Photo by: Ron Reznick/VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

As national parks across the country prepare for the off-season, Yosemite has taken down the cables to the majorly popular attraction, the Half Dome.

A difficult and technical trek, the two metal cables attached to the Half Dome are crucial components, especially for less-advanced adventurers. Installed each year since 1919, these cables allow hikers to climb the last 400 feet to the summit without needing rock climbing equipment. During the off-season, which spans from mid-October to mid-May, visitors can still climb the Half Dome. However, this requires much more experience and additional gear to complete.

“The Half Dome cables are down for the season,” Yosemite National Park announced in an Instagram post. “With the cables down, we strongly discourage hikers from attempting to summit. Summiting Half Dome with the cables down requires technical knowledge, experience, and equipment.”

“The Half Dome cables are typically up from late May through early October,” the park informed, adding that visitors need a permit to access the attraction during that time.

Yosemite National Park Encourages Visitors to Seek Other Attractions Instead of the Half Dome

 While the Half Dome may be off-limits to most, Yosemite National Park reported that the majority of the area’s other trails are still available.

“With autumn weather remaining good at least for the next several days, all other trails have good conditions,” the park stated. “However, weather can change quickly and unexpectedly this time of year, so be sure check the weather forecast and be prepared for cold temperatures, rain, and even snow.”

If the Half Dome was on your itinerary, you still have plenty of alternative routes to choose from in Yosemite Valley, including the Yosemite Falls Trail, Snow Creek Trail, Mirror Lake Loop and Valley Loop Trail.

Park Also Closes Historic Hotel

In addition to the removal of the Half Dome’s cables, Yosemite National Park has also closed the ornate Ahwahnee Hotel while professionals ensure that the building is structurally sound for visitors.

The renovations are more of a precautionary measure, as a report found that, in the event of a significant earthquake, the building’s walls would buckle, ceilings would crumble and its foundation could turn to liquid.

“Because of localized structural failures, there is the potential for loss of human lives,” the National Park Service stated in its own report on the matter.

The project will begin on January 2, 2023, and cost roughly $31.6 million. Standing since 1927, the project is well worth every penny. Over the past century, the hotel has housed celebrities and political figures, including the late Queen Elizabeth, Presidents John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama, Charlie Chaplin and more.