one best hike: climbing yosemite's half dome book review

Review: Climbing Yosemite’s Half Dome by Richard Deutsch

By Heather

One of our goals is to take hiking to the next level and climb Half Dome in Yosemite next year.

This whole adventure is right up my alley in two big ways:

  • One, it’s an epic hike. 17.5 miles round-trip, wilderness camping, capped by a white-knuckle climb up the cables to stand on top of one of the most recognizable formations in the world.
  • Two, it requires mucho advance planning. Holy cow, do I love to plan in advance. Way in advance! I’ve made so many lists for this adventure already and I love it.

Each thing I check off the list makes it feel closer and closer to the summit.

The planning is so enjoyable that I’ve started a new category about it: Half Dome. I’ll write about each step as it happens, all the preparation, all the excitement and… the lottery, which has me more nervous than the hike itself.

One Best Hike: Climbing Yosemite’s Half Dome

one best hike: climbing yosemite's half dome book reviewThe first thing I’ve checked off the list is some essential reading: One Best Hike: Climbing Yosemite’s Half Dome by Richard Deutsch. The book came highly recommended by a friend who has already conquered Half Dome.

When I’m planning to do anything new, I research it to death. Information gives me confidence, it allows me to relax when I’m where I’m planning to go and it allows me to mentally prepare.

There’s a lot of information online, which I’ve certainly been reading. But nothing has everything I need to know in one place.

Deutsch’s book is for you if you are the research-it-to-death kind of person, too. He had me with the dozens of photos of the trail, so I not only have a physical description, I know exactly what to expect.

The last part of the trail, the ascent up Half Dome via the cables, is a 45-degree, 300-foot slog that I think would be much more difficult without mental preparation. But ask me when I get back!

The first half of the book is a history of Yosemite that I suppose you can skip, but the park’s history is so interesting that I think you should read it if you don’t already know it.

The second half gets down to business. Deutsch gives important information on water purification, what to watch out for on the trail, what to bring, historical points along the trail and so much more. I can tell this book is going to be essential while we plan this hike.

Deustch prefers Half Dome as a day hike. That’s the only downside of the book, because we’re planning to do this as an overnighter. You’ll have to go elsewhere for tips about backpacking in general and obtaining wilderness permits (which you can do here, by the way).

This is a book that you will absolutely want with you on the trail. Get it!

Disclosure: When you click one of the links above to purchase an item, we get a tiny commission that will in no way enable us to quit our day jobs and roll around in our piles of cash.

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