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Want To Hike Half Dome? You Have To Win The Lottery


Getting to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park is part hard work and part luck. Only lucky lottery winners get to complete the last part of the hike.

The hike through Yosemite to Half Dome is a 17-mile journey. It takes 12 hours. The last leg to the top is a 400-foot vertical climb up the granite wall on a narrow trail with two steel cables.

Since 2010 permits have been needed for the cable section. Three hundred per day are given out based on a lottery for people who sign up in March.

Yosemite Ranger Kari Cobb says the park had to control the traffic because people were getting hurt or getting stuck.

"Prior to the permitting system we actually had about 1,200 people on the Half Dome cable on a peak summer day so what that was doing was people were getting stuck on the cable for hours."

Cobb says a second chance lottery makes 50 daily permits available for people who show up at the park.

"That's when the two day in advance lottery comes and allows people to have a little more flexibility," Cobb says.

Hikers can enter the lottery online or by phone through March. Chances of winning for a weekday trip are 50/50...on a weekend, one out of three.






Rich Ibarra

Contributing Central Valley/Foothills Reporter

As the Central Valley correspondent, Rich Ibarra covers San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Merced counties, along with the foothill areas including Tuolumne and Calaveras counties. He covers politics, the economy and issues affecting the region.   Read Full Bio 

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