During the winter season, the cables are "taken down". However, they simply take the posts down. The cables are still anchored, they're simply laying on the ground. We will hopefully be able to ascend up with the cables "down". Here's how...
Ascending with the cables down
Gear needed (per person)
- Leather gloves
- Climbing harness
- 1 accessory cord for prusik
- 1 sling
- 2 locking carabineers
Prusiks can be used on the steel cables to secure yourself to the cable in case of a fall. Simply tie a prusik around the cable and clip it to your harness. In the event of a fall, the prusik will lock up and stop your fall. While walking up Half Dome, you simply slide the prusik up along with you. You'll want some leather gloves too, of course.
The dangerous option is to simply clip to the rope with a carabineer... meaning that in the event of a fall, you'd fall all the way to the last anchor point. You'd probably survive (assuming the carabineer doesn't break from the force of the fall), but this is definitely more risky.
There are about 4-5 points that the cable is anchored to across the 400 ft ascent, in addition to some "cable stays", with probably 7-8 total points where you have to bypass the points.
- Put your leather gloves on
- Tie a prusik on one of the steel cables
- Clip the prusik to your harness' belay loop using a locking carabineer
- Attach the sling to your harness' belay loop by looping the sling through, and put a locking carabineer on the free end of the sling. Clip that carabineer somewhere on your harness for now. This sling will be used for bypassing anchors.
- Start walking up, sliding the prusik along the cable as you ascend.
- In the event of a fall, the prusik will lock up at its current position on the cable, arresting your fall. You can also take breaks by putting your weight on the prusik. Make sure to put all your weight onto the prusik, since if you distribute your weight between the rock and the prusik, the prusik might slip.
- When you reach an anchor
- Clip the carabineer attached to your sling onto the cable above the anchor point.
- Now, unclip your prusik carabineer and untie the prusik.
- Tie the prusik on the cable above the anchor point.
- Clip the prusik to your belay loop again
- Unclip your sling from the cable
- Continue ascending like normal