Hike Half Dome in the spring

Q&A

December 30, 2007|By San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News

When is the best time of year to hike to the top of Half Dome? Any tips for an enjoyable experience?

The best time? Not now, that's for sure. The good news is: You have months to prepare for reaching the summit of Half Dome at Yosemite National Park. For starters, get in shape. Reaching the summit requires a certain level of fitness - it's about a 15-mile round trip over 10 to 12 hours, and most people choose to do it in a day.

Steel cables that cover the last 400 feet and allow hikers to reach the summit are installed in the spring (usually in May) and come down in the fall, depending on weather. To avoid crowds and hot weather, visit soon after the cables are put in place. Most hikers go in the summer to take advantage of the long daylight hours, but on weekends it can resemble rush-hour traffic.

Bring a flashlight or headlamp, since you're likely to leave early or return late; broken-in hiking boots; leather gloves; water; and energy bars. Check out the National Park Service's Yosemite Web site, nps.gov/yose, for more information.

If you're interested in an overnight group trip, contact DNC Parks & Resorts (yosemitepark.com).

I have more than 100,000 TWA frequent-flier miles. Does anyone still honor them?

When American Airlines acquired TWA in April 2001, it also absorbed the teetering airline's Aviators mileage program.

An American spokesman said the carrier contacted TWA members at that time and offered to transfer their miles into new American AAdvantage accounts at no charge. Aviators members had a pretty large window to complete written forms requesting the mileage transfer: From April until December 2001.

After that, American allowed TWA members who contacted them by phone to request a transfer until June 2002. That's 14 months after the airlines merged. American says if you didn't request a transfer by then, you're out of luck.

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