Avg time to climb route: 3-4 hours
Approach time: 3-4 hours
Descent time: 3-4 hours
Number of pitches: 8
Height of route: 800'
OverviewSnake Dike is the easiest technical climbing route to the top of Half Dome, the most recognized rock feature in the United States. Half Dome boasts an unreal summit, 5,000' of rise from the Yosemite Valley floor and amazing views of the Yosemite and the High Sierra. This dramatic setting, combined with clean and exposed climbing, makes Snake Dike one of the most glorious moderate climbs on the planet. The long and aesthetic approach will take you past two beautiful waterfalls, through the backcountry and past an isolated lake to the southwest toe of Half Dome. The route climbs an 800' salmon-colored dike that wanders up the dramatic southwest face of Half Dome. The combination of a six-mile hike to the base, eight pitches of climbing, and a nine-mile descent back to the Valley makes a full-day adventure and may require more than one day. However, the intense effort to complete the climb makes this route wonderfully rewarding.
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HistoryClimbers who make the long trek up to the base of the massive Southwest Face of Half Dome before 1965 went there for one reason only: to do the classic Salathe-Nelson route. This demanding aid line went up unconnected crack systems, but it was the only way to the top since everyone knew the rest of the wide face was crackless, and obviously impossible. When Camp 4 inhabitants heard in July 1965 that a second route had been put up nearby, the sense of disbelief was audible. When the first ascensionists--Eric Beck, Jim Bridwell, and Chris Fredericks--bragged that they had placed only two pitons and about six hurried bolts, disdain evolved to thoughts that the three men should be committed. A far easier route than Salathe's? But it was true, Beck had been the instigator of the route soon named Snake Dike; he had spotted the... [full history for SuperTopo members only!]
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