Regular Northwest Face 5.12 or 5.9 C1

 
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Half Dome


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
Half Dome Like You're Never Seen it Before
Wednesday April 16, 2014 4:49pm
Interactive Half Dome Map
Interactive Half Dome Map
Credit: PellucidWombat

Interactive Half Dome Map App

(Make sure to go full screen for the best experience. Zoom in, pan around, turn layers on and off, click photo icons to see image thumbnails in popups, click the thumbnails to see the images enlarged. Most items have mouseover tooltips, and what you see changes upon zoom level.)

Last Fall I had an idea for making a unique style of trip report that provides an interactive first-person POV experience, merged with the birds-eye view of the route traveled. I had already climbed the route with my friend Nic Risser, sleeping atop Big Sandy for my 30th BDay in August, so I also had photo documentation of the route.

I had no idea how I would do this, apart from knowing that I needed photo material to work with and would have to learn JavaScript to implement it. So on my last weekend out before my first of 3 knee surgeries, I hiked to the summit of North Dome with my camera and took a lot of closeup shots of Half Dome, and during my down time this winter, I figured out how to make this idea a reality.

The project is still very much unfinished (and yes, Justin, I still need to add photos from your climb!), but it is working, and really fun as-is, and I see myself waiting too long before sharing it if I wait until it is 'finished'. So click below!


Interactive Half Dome Map App


Process

I created the image with photos taken using a 7-year-old Nikon D40 DLSR, with a Nikkor kit lens. (55-200mm zoom). I merged the image together in Adobe Photoshop, but not without some trial and error for such a big project.


Result of attempting to blend all of the photos at once in Adobe Photoshop.

However, with some experimentation, I found a way to get the merging to work correctly.


NW Face of Half Dome, roughly as I had divided it up into close up photographs taken with a 200mm zoom lens.

Once the image was assembled, I had the problem that the image was 75MB, which took far too long to load on a web browser to be a feasible way for a user to quickly view the image. There are a number of JavaScript methods & plugins for photo enlarging, but most did not allow some form of interactivity on the map that would scale and pan with the image.

I spent some time trying out one that could handle keeping image maps scaled and aligned with the image, but it was appearing to be a dead end.

So I tried tiling, which handles the size and sizing issues. Using this system also allowed for using various interactive elements (icons, polylines, shapes), positioned by latitude longitude coordinates, as this system is normally used for maps. Since my project was a flat image and not a curved 3D surface on Earth, I had to write some 'unproject' methods in my scripts, but otherwise everything worked together smoothly.


I used Tiling to make to make the high resolution Half Dome image feasible for web viewing, with panning and zoom navigation. This is the same technique that Google Maps uses.

The tiling was done using a free Ruby script that automates the process, taking a few seconds to size, crop, and save the files in a format & folder structure that can be read by code for automatically re-assembling the portions of the image that are in view of your screen. There are various Ruby and Python scripts available to do such things, although figuring out how to get them to work is tedious (I really don't know either programming language).


And now, for those who just want to see some pretty pics . . .

2013-10-20 - Solo Top Rope and North Dome Hike
This was my last weekend to get out in the mountains before I would have the first of several knee surgeries that would keep me away from rigorous outdoor fun for the next year. As no one was game for getting out with me this weekend, I threw together my own last-minute plans for a Sunday daytrip: First, work out a system for solo top-roping at Knob Hill. Then hike to Indian Rock and Arch, and then to North Dome, for researching an approach and getting some project shots of surrounding features - especially the N Face of Half Dome. I hung out with a book and beer atop North Dome to catch the sunset before hiking back in the dark.


Arch near Indian Rock.



Half Dome and Starr King seen through the arch near Indian Rock.


Cloud's Rest and Quarter Dome (right, low) above the rugged Tenaya Canyon.


Tenaya Canyon, with Basket Dome (left), Mt Watkins (left, back), Cloud's Rest (center) and Half Dome (right).


Climbers finishing Thank God Ledge on Half Dome, seen from North Dome.


Climbers on the second to last pitch of the NWRR of Half Dome.


Watkins Pinnacles.


Panorama of Tenaya Canyon. Mt Watkins (left, low), Cloud's Rest, Quarter Dome, Half Dome, and Mt Starr King (right, horizon).


Half Dome's NW Face at sunset.


Sunset over El Cap from atop North Dome.


Afterglow lighting on dike ripples as I hiked out above North Dome to my car, parked on Highway 120.


Links
 Picasa Album (N Dome Hike)
 Half Dome NWRR

  Trip Report Views: 7,518
PellucidWombat
About the Author
PellucidWombat is a mountain climber from Berkeley, CA.

Comments
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Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Apr 16, 2014 - 05:09pm PT
I wonder how many hours I'll salt away on that HD interactive map.
I love that kinda sh!t.


Just curious, are there routes up Cloud's Rest? I haven't been close enough to know how steep it is, if technical climbing is even possibility.

looks easy from here

climber
Ben Lomond, CA
  Apr 16, 2014 - 05:13pm PT
That's amazing! Thanks.

You can pan around, and zoom in closely enough to see climbers. I've found two parties. Can you find them?

I have 1 climber on Snake Dike, so far.
WyoRockMan

climber
Flank of the Big Horns
  Apr 16, 2014 - 05:14pm PT
Excellent! As usual. TFPU
bpope

climber
Sunnyvale, CA
  Apr 16, 2014 - 05:35pm PT
Just curious, are there routes up Cloud's Rest? I haven't been close enough to know how steep it is, if technical climbing is even possibility.

there sure are! look around for "my favorite things" for a more recent example. there are some long, wandering easier routes, I believe too.

thanks for the great report and map!
Texplorer

Trad climber
Sacramento
  Apr 16, 2014 - 05:36pm PT
What a great concept. With the age of smart phones upon us I see guidebooks like this in the palm of your hand as the future.
KP Ariza

climber
SCC
  Apr 16, 2014 - 05:36pm PT
Really good look, thanks!
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Author's Reply  Apr 16, 2014 - 05:39pm PT
With the age of smart phones upon us I see guidebooks like this in the palm of your hand as the future.

It works fairly well on smart tablets . . . barely on smart phones, but I know in general what can be done to make it work better on that format. In your palm, high res map app of El Cap, anyone? With 3G/4G service in the valley, you can use it on route :-)
westhegimp

Social climber
granada hills
  Apr 16, 2014 - 06:36pm PT
Outstanding!!!!!!!!!!



Thanks

Wes
overwatch

climber
  Apr 16, 2014 - 06:38pm PT
That is a high speed idea...can't wait to mess with it
Matt's

climber
  Apr 16, 2014 - 06:45pm PT
pretty interesting app and photos. thanks for sharing.

I find it weird that, in the comments on your photos, you despair over the ramifications of "over-communication of route beta, " yet your trip reports pretty much epitomize this problem.
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Author's Reply  Apr 16, 2014 - 06:59pm PT
you despair over the ramifications

That quote is not mine, but Nic's (see caption & photo credit). Seemed a nice thing to keep with his beautiful photo.

I feel some sentiments towards that, can appreciate the feeling, but I think there is plenty out there where you can still do this . . . just not as conveniently accessible as it was in the mid 20th century. I feel a stronger pull to sharing the experience. Even with lots of beta out there, I can still create my own adventure, and it's not that hard to get away from the crowds!
JohnnyG

climber
  Apr 16, 2014 - 07:07pm PT
very very very cool.

That's a super high res shot of half dome. How did you take that pic?
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Author's Reply  Apr 16, 2014 - 08:24pm PT
I used a DSLR with a 200mm zoom lens, and took photographs as I zoomed in as much as I could, in an overlapping grid order (the two closeup shots of climbers in the 'extra' report are individual shots, cropped and enlarged a bit).

I then merged all 20 or so shots in Photoshop, creating a 75MB image file . . . which ended up being the first hurdle to get over, as it would take several minutes or more to load the image online! So I went the 'map tiles' route for making load times reasonable.
Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
  Apr 16, 2014 - 09:20pm PT
very cool...

Thanks for the report.

Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Apr 16, 2014 - 09:43pm PT
Thanks Mark, I hope your knee is healing up well!!!!
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
  Apr 16, 2014 - 10:06pm PT
Nice shots PW . . . thanks again.
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Apr 16, 2014 - 10:25pm PT
thanks, bpope
alleyehave

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
  Apr 16, 2014 - 11:16pm PT
Nice Mark, TFPU!
SC seagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, or In What Time Zone Am I?
  Apr 17, 2014 - 12:47am PT
Man, I see your name on a trip report I can't click quickly enough.
Awesome...wonderful...all the best expletives!
Thanks for taking the time to do a great report...oh yeah...and having a wonderful adventure.

Susan
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Apr 17, 2014 - 12:57am PT
Extraordinary, Pellucid Wombat. Wow.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Apr 17, 2014 - 01:03am PT
Your main effort is grand, and your extra credit work is much appreciated. It's amazing what a 200mm lens can do. good luck with the knee, too.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Apr 17, 2014 - 01:46am PT
thx! looking forward to doing this one.
thebravecowboy

climber
hold on tight boys
  Apr 17, 2014 - 01:50am PT
thank you! yos beckons yet and you feed the fire
mark miller

Social climber
Reno
  Apr 17, 2014 - 01:55am PT
being in my second year of graphic communications...."nice" only touches the surface...Very well done sir.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Apr 17, 2014 - 02:37am PT
Nice job, Mark.
I like the ideas of being able to zoom and to turn off the layers.
I would skip the tinted Features layer.
I think it works better as a style of guidebook than a vehicle for framing trip reports.
(For trip reports I like mixed photos and text with all photos visible).
mark miller

Social climber
Reno
  Apr 17, 2014 - 02:41am PT
By the way, what camera, Lens, etc., and photo editing program do you use?
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Author's Reply  Apr 17, 2014 - 03:30am PT
Clint,

I would skip the tinted Features layer.
Yeah, I was on the fence about it as an experiment. It shows some features nicely, but it also gets in the way of viewing the photograph. I'm wondering if some people find it helpful in some ways, such that it is worth keeping, but with the default setting being turned off?

I think it works better as a style of guidebook than a vehicle for framing trip reports.
For more of a storytelling device, with photos in the right order, I agree that it seems to be weaker this way (one reason I still kept a link for a standard format TR, although I need to fill in more story).

Filling in TR photos that essentially constitute beta seems to work well in the format as more of a guidebook. I'll see this better as I add in some friends' photos of parts of the route that I missed out on.

I did try representing the photo icons as mini thumbnails, like a small stack of photos, almost like what you can see in Google Earth user-submitted photos, but I thought the look became too cluttered.

Note: I apologize in advance to anyone who might care regarding the Comic-sans script. I intend to replace it with a similar font that does not have such a polarizing effect & tainted past. I just wanted a good 'bold' font that was more interesting than Arial Black for the time being.

Mark,

By the way, what camera, Lens, etc., and photo editing program do you use?

Nothing too fancy these days, camera-wise. A 7-year-old Nikon D40 DLSR, with a Nikkor kit lens. (55-200mm zoom).

I merged the image together in Adobe Photoshop, but not without some trial and error for such a big project :-)


Obamacare gets the government to shut down our national parks, and Half Dome Falls down from lack of maintenance!! (actually this was an auto-photomerge gone wrong :-P ) (Photo taken shortly after Gov. shutdown. I couldn't resist making this comment tongue-in-cheek)

To get tiling to work, I actually have a lot of smaller images cropped, with separate sets for each level of zoom. Each image that loads is 256x256px, covering whatever amount of the image fits within that size at a certain resolution (so tiles at closer zooms are the same size, but higher resolution, so show less area in finer detail).

This was done using a free Ruby script that automates the process, taking a few seconds to size, crop, and save the files in a format & folder structure that can be read by code for automatically re-assembling the portions of the image that are in view of your screen. There are various Ruby and Python scripts available to do such things, although figuring out how to get them to work is tedious (I really don't know either programming language).

Tiling is precisely how Google Maps works for its imagery, btw. Neat to learn about!
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Author's Reply  Apr 21, 2014 - 12:26pm PT
For those curious about how the image was made, I added a 'process' portion in the trip report, with some illustrative diagrams.

As I get time I'll be adjusting and finishing up the project, so constructive feedback is welcome, as ultimately my aim is to make something that others find useful and enjoyable!
RP3

Big Wall climber
Twain Harte
  Apr 21, 2014 - 01:42pm PT
This is truly amazing work. Your effort was monumental. Thank you so much for sharing. I absolutely see this as the future of guidebooks.

Suggestion: You should put a key inside of the app so people know what your symbology means.
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Author's Reply  Apr 21, 2014 - 02:06pm PT
Good idea! While my aim is to make things as self-explanatory as possible, it is tough to tell where some explanation is needed for people first encountering the project.

I could probably integrate it into the scales in the lower left corner . .. maybe just a 'key' icon that expands to show a map key if a user moves the mouse over to it, similar to the layers icon. That way it is accessible without being intrusive.
TMJesse

Mountain climber
Olympia, WA
  Apr 21, 2014 - 09:03pm PT
Really great! Thanks!
jTaylor

climber
North Shore Massachusetts
  May 9, 2014 - 01:19pm PT
quality post
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  May 9, 2014 - 02:04pm PT
Thanks for bumping this exceptional post.

John
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
  May 9, 2014 - 02:52pm PT
The photo isn't interactive for me - it doesn't do anything...
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  May 9, 2014 - 03:14pm PT
pretty cool.

Anybody see the Sasquatch in the crescent near Snake Dike?
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Author's Reply  May 9, 2014 - 03:21pm PT
The photo isn't interactive for me - it doesn't do anything...

Make sure to click either one of the Interactive Half Dome Map App links and not the photo on this page. I can't embed this on SuperTopo, so you have to click the link to go to the site where this is hosted. Sorry!
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
  May 9, 2014 - 03:29pm PT
Nifty. Now if only I had enough spare time to really play with it...
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
  May 9, 2014 - 03:31pm PT
Ah, that's better, thanks!
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Half Dome - Regular Northwest Face 5.12 or 5.9 C1 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
The Regular Northwest Face.
Photo: Mark Kroese
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Snake Dike follows an amazing feature to one of the most incredible summits in Yosemite.
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Zenith, A4 5.8
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The first part of the route is hidden.
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Blondike is the red line and Two Hoofers is the Blue Line.
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Two Hoofers, 5.12 or 5.10b A0
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Two Hoofers follows the blue line.
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