Half Dome opens early because of no snow in Yosemite

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – The cables to the summit of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park are opening three weeks ahead of schedule because of the low snowpack.

They will be in place Saturday.

California is in its fourth year of drought, and state officials fear it may last as long as a decade.

During a snow survey Tuesday state water officials toured the High Sierra by helicopter, finding snow at only one of four sites that normally would be covered.

Permits are required to hike Half Dome.

Park officials say the trail from Yosemite Valley is an extremely strenuous hike covering over 17 miles.

Hikers gain 4,800 feet of elevation along the trail that passes Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall, before reaching the cables on Half Dome’s steep granite shoulder. Metal cables and wooden planks assist hikers to the summit.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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