Doug Ascending Half Dome
May 15, 1986, Yosemite National Park
This was my second ascent of Half Dome, one of the iconic peaks towering over Yosemite's incomparable valley. I had befriended a British climber named Judah on the hike, so I took a picture of his ascent and he shot the image of me seen here. The cables were down and the wooden slats removed at the time. Apparently it was an attempt by the park service to discourage climbing the dome. I'm not sure what the reasoning was, but it definitely made the ascent much more difficult than my previous summit in 1984. I had to hang on for dear life without the safety of the foot steps. Also, that metal cable is very heavy, much heavier than you might think. I never did see a "closed" sign, so up we went. It was awesome having the place almost entirely to ourselves. In the background is 10,000' Cloud's Rest, a peak which I had climbed the day before.
At the time this picture was taken Lenée and I were only friends, although I was already falling in love with her. I dreamed of taking her to the top of Half Dome with me. I always hiked and climbed alone, relishing in the solitude my treks deep into the wilderness provided. However, I eventually discovered that I was a loner who did not like to be alone, if that makes any sense. I longed for a special companion, a partner in life who shared my spirit of adventure, but above all, my love for God. This would have to be an unusual person.
A year later Lenée and I married. I never did take her to the top of Half Dome, but we travelled to some of the most remote locations in America together. She so loved the outdoors, and like me, the solitude it afforded. Lenée was that special someone that I had been praying and waiting for. We were both loners who did not want to be alone, and God in His amazing wisdom worked that whole thing out.
Half DomeYosemitemountain climbingDoug MeekCloud's Rest