Snake Dike, Half Dome 5.7 R

   
Search
Go

Yosemite Valley, California USA

  • Currently 5.0/5
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'
Overview
Snake 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.
Photos - View all 326 photos of Snake Dike as: Thumbnails | Slideshow
Climber Beta on Snake Dike
  A total of (99) submissions of route beta on Snake Dike
Which SuperTopo guidebooks include a topo for Snake Dike?

Yosemite Free Climbs

Road to The Nose
Find other routes like Snake Dike

 
History
Climbers 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 potential route on a reconnaissance and had talked the two others into making the horrendous approach. To their great surprise they put up the new route in a day from Camp 4 and back to Camp 4.

Year's later, Beck, reminisced about the climb. "We were expecting a much harder route and only had twelve bolts, so we did our best to conserve them... BUY Yosemite Valley Free Climbs and read the rest this history and much more.

Strategy
Start early, as the day will be long. Snake Dike is extremely popular even during a weekday. Prepare for crowds, unexpected weather changes, and a late finish...

Retreat
The route can be rappelled easily from any point using two 50m or 60m ropes.
Approach
The 6-mile approach gains approximately 2500 feet of elevation and is extremely strenuous. Start early and plan for at least 3 hours of hiking. Park at Curry Village and either walk or take the shuttle to Happy Isles. Follow the John Muir Trail for one mile to the Mist Trail. Follow the Mist Trail for 2.1 miles to the top of Nevada falls and again pick up the Muir Trail. After about 0.75 miles... BUY Yosemite Valley Free Climbs and read the rest this approach and much more.

Descent
Allow 3-4 hours for the 9-mile descent. From the summit, descend the cables. The cables are in place year-round. During the winter and spring the uprights are removed, but the cables are still easy to descend. Continue on the Half Dome Trail until it joins the Muir Trail, which leads back to Happy Isles.
Everything You Need to Know About Yosemite Valley
Search the internet for beta on Snake Dike
  Search the internet for information on Snake Dike
Links to related internet pages with info on Snake Dike
Source: SuperTopo Guidebook Staff Last update: October 11, 2018
Half Dome - Snake Dike 5.7 R - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
Snake Dike follows an amazing feature to one of the most incredible summits in Yosemite.
Photo: Chris McNamara
Other Routes on Half Dome
Half Dome - Regular Northwest Face 5.12 or 5.9 C1 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Regular Northwest Face, 5.12 or 5.9 C1
Half Dome
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

The Regular Northwest Face.
Half Dome - Tis-sa-ack A3 5.9 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Tis-sa-ack, A3 5.9
Half Dome
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Half Dome - Zenith A4 5.8 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Zenith, A4 5.8
Half Dome
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

The first part of the route is hidden.
Half Dome - Direct Northwest Face 5.14a or 5.10 C2+ - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Direct Northwest Face, 5.14a or 5.10 C2+
Half Dome
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

The Direct Northwest Face.
Half Dome - Blondike 5.11b R - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Blondike, 5.11b R
Half Dome
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Blondike is the red line and Two Hoofers is the Blue Line.
More routes on Half Dome
SuperTopo on the Web