Half Dome permit picks are due

mwarszawski@fresnobee.comMarch 29, 2013 

— If you want to hike to the top of Half Dome this year, pick any day but Saturday.

Last week, Yosemite National Park officials released some interesting statistics about the 2013 Half Dome permit lottery, which continues through Sunday.

It isn't surprising to learn that Saturday is the most requested day. As of March 15, 36 percent of all permit requests were for Saturday. Friday (14 percent) was the second most requested day, followed by Sunday and Tuesday (both 11 percent), Monday (10 percent), and Wednesday and Thursday (both 9 percent).

Two hundred and twenty five permits for each day are available through the preseason lottery. Permit applications are due Sunday at www.recreation.gov. Applicants will get an email with lottery results April 15 or can get them online.

About 50 permits per day will be available through a daily lottery. (The number will be based on estimated no-shows and cancellations.) Applications for the daily lottery will be accepted two days before the date of the hike (from midnight to 1 p.m.), and applicants will be notified later that day.

Concerned about crowding and visitor safety on the Half Dome cables, where hikers use handrails to hoist themselves up the steeply sloping granite, park officials began requiring permits on certain days in 2010 and seven days a week in 2011.

An extensive visitor use study, published in January, established the permits as permanent.

Rangers are planning to erect the Half Dome cables May 24 and take them down Oct. 14, but that could change based on the conditions.

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