YOSEMITE, Banner Cloud on Half Dome

Banner Cloud on Half Dome

Banner cloud in the lee of Half Dome. More...

YOSEMITE, Levanter Cloud on Half Dome
Banner cloud in the lee of Half Dome.

Banner clouds form in the lee of isolated peaks such as Half Dome, the Matterhorn, and Everest. Gibraltar's Levanter cloud is a banner cloud that streams west from the rock during easterly "Levanter" winds.

Immersed in cloud, it was my lead. Narrow "Thank God Ledge" extended across the sheer face to a buttress and a crack system that would lead us to the top of Half Dome. The light rain that had dampened the Zig-zag pitches had ended, and the sky seemed to be brightening. Maybe the dissipating hurricane wasn't going to be an issue after all.

This narrow granite ledge, high on Half Dome was infamous. Describing the pitch in his Yosemite Climber's Guide, Steve Roper proffered, "walk, slither or hand-traverse across the ledge..." Well, we would see.

Done conventionally, the traverse was a joy. Half-way across the ledge, the clouds briefly parted, adding startling perspective and depth to the 1500 ft. drop. Climbing does not have to difficult to be exhilarating.

Back down in the Valley we learned that the cloudiness that we had perceived to be the first wave of a fierce incoming storm was little more than our very own banner cloud, adding excitement to our climb.


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