Backpacking

Half Dome Backpack

$1895

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Matteo Fiori
Matteo Fiori

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Summit Half Dome, Yosemite's icon (8,845')
Camp at the famous Little Yosemite Valley
Hike on the JMT and Mist Trail

Based from the superlative Yosemite Valley, we’ll achieve the summit of one of the world’s most iconic peaks: Half Dome. Along the way, we’ll travel the shores of the “Wild and Scenic” Merced River, pass Vernal and Nevada waterfalls, and hike a section of the famous John Muir Trail. Surely, though, the highlight of the trip is standing atop Half Dome (8,845’) with sweeping views of the Yosemite high country.

2023

June 8 - 12, 2023
4 spots available
Book now
July 5 - 9, 2023Book now
September 13 - 17, 2023Book now

Pricing

$1895 per person
Prices based on shared room occupancy
Single Room Supplement:
Requested $175, Forced $88

More Ways To Climb Half Dome

Trip Itinerary

Half Dome Backpack - Day 1 - Meet your guide in Yosemite National Park Half Dome Backpack - Day 1 - Meet your guide in Yosemite National Park

Check in to Curry Village within spectacular Yosemite Valley anytime after 5pm. Meet your guide and group at 6pm on the porch of the Mountain Shop in Curry Village for a short meet-and-greet and trip orientation. Dinner tonight is on your own at one several local restaurants.
*Length of itinerary is determined by permit availability

Half Dome Backpack - Day 2 - Camp along Illilouette Creek Half Dome Backpack - Day 2 - Camp along Illilouette Creek

5-day itinerary: After breakfast on your own, you will meet your guide in front of the Half Dome Village Mountain Shop at 7:00am. We’ll leave our cars in the parking lot and take a shuttle to our starting trailhead. The scenic ride will be about an hour and a half long. We’ll then lace up our boots and hike about 4 miles to our camp along the Illillouette Creek, below Mt Starr King.
4 miles, Elevation: +697′ / -1540′

4-day itinerary: After breakfast on your own, you will meet your guide in front of the Curry Village Mountain Shop at 8:00am. We’ll leave our cars here in the parking lot and take a short (10 min) shuttle to the Happy Isles Trailhead. From there, we’ll follow the Merced River past Vernal and Nevada waterfalls and into Little Yosemite Valley where we will make camp for the night. 5 miles
*Length of itinerary is determined by permit availability

Half Dome Backpack - Day 3 - Hike to Little Yosemite Valley Half Dome Backpack - Day 3 - Hike to Little Yosemite Valley

5-day itinerary: Today we’ll continue making our way towards Half Dome, passing over the top of Nevada Fall along the way. Our final destination will be the Little Yosemite Valley (LYV) / Sunrise Creek area. This day will involve 5-7 miles of hiking, depending on the route chosen. In camp, we’ll have access to the beaches along the Merced River and to solar composting toilets.

5-7 miles, Elevation: approx +1798’/ -2070′

4-day itinerary: Beginning early in the morning, we’ll eat breakfast and start our hike to the summit of Half Dome (8,845′). After a few miles of gaining elevation within the fir forests, we break above treeline for our first look at the famous Cables Route. After a bit more hiking we’ll make the quick and straightforward climb up the final stretch to Half Dome’s summit. Spectacular views await of the Sierra high country and down into Yosemite Valley far below. Not to be missed is a peek over the edge from The Visor, perched 4,700ft above Tenaya Canyon. After hiking back down to camp, we can go for refreshing swim from the beaches of the Merced River, have dinner and relax by the campfire.

Half Dome Backpack - Day 4 - Summit Half Dome Half Dome Backpack - Day 4 - Summit Half Dome

5-day itinerary: Beginning early in the morning, we’ll eat breakfast then start our hike to the summit of Half Dome. After a few miles of gaining elevation within the fir forests, we break above treeline for our first look at the famous Cables Route. After a bit more hiking we’ll make the quick and straightforward climb up the final stretch to Half Dome’s summit. At 8,847′ above sea level Half Dome has spectacular views of the Yosemite high country. We’ll spend lunch taking in the views and hike back to camp in the early afternoon. Once we reach camp in LYV again, we can go for a refreshing swim in the Merced River and relax before dinner and one final night in the backcountry.

6.7 miles, Elevation: +2875′ /-2876′

4-day itinerary: Our hike back to the trailhead is as amazing as everything else we’ve seen as we travel the famous John Muir Trail along the “Wild and Scenic” Merced River back into Yosemite Valley. We’ll arrive to Curry Village between 12-1pm.

Our hike back to the trailhead is as amazing as everything else we’ve seen. We will travel the famous John Muir Trail along the “Wild and Scenic” Merced River back into Yosemite Valley with views of Vernal and Nevada Falls. We’ll arrive to Curry Village around early afternoon. (Approximately 12-1pm).

5.3 miles, Elevation: +811′ / -2935′

What's Included

Accommodations

  • 1st night’s lodging at Curry Village in Yosemite National Park
  • 3-4 nights of wilderness tent camping (permits included)
Gear

  • All group gear including stoves, cookware, water filters, group first aid kit, etc.
  • Personal backpacking gear provided by request: backpacks, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, trekking poles, and tents
Transportation

  • Day 2 shuttle to starting trailhead from Yosemite Valley
Food

  • Starting with lunch on Day 2 and ending with breakfast and trail snacks on Day 5
  • Backcountry gourmet meals including trail snacks
  • Hot tea or coffee served each morning

A Few More Notes

Trip Notes

Your trip begins and ends at Curry Village in Yosemite Valley, CA. Plan to arrive before 6pm so you can meet your guides and group for your trip orientation. We recommend driving to Curry Village, although public transportation is also an option (see notes about public transportation below). We’ll return to Yosemite Valley by 1pm on the last day of your trip.

Training & Preparation

This trip is rated as moderate and is designed to be a beginner-friendly backpacking trip. You will be carrying a 30-35lb backpack for 3 days of the trip and should plan to come well prepared. While you will be able to leave your full backpack at camp when you hike to the summit of Half Dome, it is still a strenuous trail and a physically demanding day.

In training, you’ll want to focus on leg strengthening using a combination of gym workouts, stair climbing, and hiking in your local area with a fully weighted pack. We recommend hiking in the boots you plan to wear and to feel comfortable with your personal clothing and gear.

Looking for more tips? Check out our blog!

Permits

With the Half Dome permitting regulations in place since 2013, coupled with a huge increase in demand for fewer permits, itineraries may be subject to slight changes and different trailheads may be used to make sure we can climb Half Dome. The permit we receive dictates whether the trip will be 4 days or 5 days. All departures including Half Dome are not guaranteed until 24 weeks in advance when the permits become available to reserve. We will let you know immediately of any updates.

Public Transportation To Yosemite

If you prefer not to drive to Yosemite Valley, public transportation is available for this trip. Yosemite Area Regional Transportation (YARTS) is the sole provider for the surrounding Yosemite area. We recommend reserving a ticket online ahead of time. Please make sure that you choose a time from your location that will have you arriving in Curry Village, Yosemite Valley by the latest 6 pm for your trip orientation (we recommend arriving around 4 pm to check in to your tent cabin first). Note that at the end of your trip, you will be back to Curry Village and done with lunch around 1 pm, so plan departure times accordingly.

What's Not Included
  • Personal clothing & footwear
  • Dinner on the first night in Yosemite Valley
  • Recommended 10%-20% gratuity for guides
  • Trip Insurance (strongly recommended)
  • Airfare
  • Voluntary or involuntary evacuations

Trip Reviews

Jonathan B, 2016

I was extremely impressed with Ryan Filanda. I have had guides before with a 1:2 ratio (Rainier) and I cannot state how well he handles his duties alone. Despite being relatively new to the company and guiding Yosemite, he did not miss a beat and this trip seriously exceeded my expectations. I was expecting it to be good but not this good. He had to look out for 6 people from teenagers and their dad to people in their 50's. Including this 36 who turned 37 years-old on the trip and runs around mountainsides and asks questions like a teenager ;) His pre-guiding life experience and ability to connect people of different ages and nationalities was impressive. There was zero awkwardness about anything. He quickly went from guide to one of our hiking friends, and it is obvious that he does not just do what he does for a paycheck. Even the teenagers took all of his guidance seriously without fail. He also expertly took care of her younger sister's serious foot blister with his first-aid skills. We sang songs, told life stories and his cooking was simply amazing!! He went above and beyond for the food before the trip and is simply a great guy. I consider him a true friend and have a ton of respect for what he does. He also worked very hard after we all went to bed with minimal voluntary assistance from us.

Mark T, 2016

Alex was outstanding. His calm confidence was infectious (in a positive sense), taking two nervous, not-very-experienced city-dwellers into a whole new world which we enjoyed very much. Great views, both of the spectacular scenery and also insights into ourselves…as you know this is the ideal time and place for introspection. Alex’s patience and encouragement backed by lots of experience (the Eagle Scout of guides) were exactly what we needed. As a result, we not only got back safely (not a trivial task being re-routed down the Mist steps with packs on a busy day), but also were on top of Half Dome before sunrise (likely good that I couldn’t see what I was going up on the steps and cables!). On the HD, Alex’s mountain experience was what made it possible for me….with a coffee on the summit as the icing. Thanks again. Great trip. Great guide. Great experiences.

Annette & Mike D, 2015

Months ago we booked a trip to Yosemite Valley to Celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary. Like many, we wanted to climb Half Dome, but we did not win the lottery to get permits. Disappointed, I began brainstorming to figure out a way to summit Half Dome, and that is when I stumbled upon SYMG. At the time my husband felt that the trip was over priced, but I convinced him to book the hike/climb trip for the weekend of September 18-20, 2015. Upon completing our hiking trip, we are happy to say that the hike/climb was worth every penny in large part thanks to Brendan Hayes and Alex Kendrall. Being a nurse, I know that it is not easy dealing with the public but these two gentlemen did a wonderful job. Their customer service skills were excellent from start to finish. They both had such patience, kindness, and professionalism. The world would be a much nicer place if everyone were like them. They made us feel at ease and welcomed. We were very impressed with their knowledge and experience, especially with their backpacking cooking skills. Not only did I love their food that they prepared, I was very impressed that they got my husband to eat things I could never get him to try. I must say that the food they prepared was better and healthier then the meals that they served in the Valley. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Brendan and Alex for making this trip and climb so memorable for us. Thanks again for making our trip to Yosemite so wonderful and memorable!!
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