Everyone who wants to summit Yosemite’s iconic peak Half Dome requires a permit ($10 per person) with one exception…you have be a bear. Yosemite is home to between 300-500 black bears and its seems as if at least one has found its way to the 8,842 foot summit as evidenced by bear scat found at the top. If you’re one of the 45,000 annual hikers to reach the top of Half Dome, keep your eye out for high altitude bears.


A new scheme to hike Half Dome without a permit just dropped: be a bear.

Hikers who secure a Half Dome permit and tackle the legendary 425 feet of cable are treated to some incredible views of Yosemite Valley. But it seems they may not be alone up there! Rangers recently discovered evidence of a black bear’s presence on the summit of Half Dome. Yosemite bears are excellent climbers and can easily tackle the 46-degree angle- no cables needed!

This observation serves as a good reminder that bear safety applies EVERYWHERE in Yosemite. Keep all smelly objects, from food to sunscreen, locked in a bear locker or bear canister. If you need to keep food in your car during the day, it must be out of sight, with the car windows rolled up and doors locked- at night it must be in a bear locker.

While nobody drives up Half Dome, Yosemite bears are great at opening car doors in the Valley if they smell something tasty. Whether at camp or on the trail, always keep backpacks and scented items within arm’s reach- bears and other animals (like the Half Dome ground squirrels) will approach unattended bags quickly and are likely to create a few new holes before you notice them! For the safety of people and animals alike, keep your friends close and your food closer.

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