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Adventure Seeking in Yosemite with YouTube

Hang glider soaring through Yosemite National Park, with video on YouTube

Scroll down to the end of the article to watch this video.

There is something about those sheer granite walls of Yosemite Valley that draw adventure seekers from around the world. Even the park's best known early resident, John Muir, couldn't resist. He writes of body-surfing an avalanche in his book 'The Yosemite'. Had the same thing happened today, Muir would certainly be prepared with a video camera to capture the whole thing on tape!

A video camera is standard equipment today for adventure seekers. Services like YouTube have taken the art of self-promotion (a.k.a. bragging) to a whole new level. Have a peek at these three videos all hosted on YouTube:

(Note: I have heard that YouTube and its videos are blocked by the Department of Interior firewall, so, sorry Park Service visitors, there's probably nothing to see here.)

#1 - Hang Gliding in Yosemite Valley -
Yes, this is legal! I talked with the Park Service today which said the sport is mostly self-regulated, but that there are some rules. Want details? Talk with the folks at the Yosemite Hang Gliding Association. A Yosemite spokesperson told me that she didn't see hang gliders that often in the park, she estimated 2 or 3 every couple of weeks. The views are pretty amazing from the vantage point of that glider. It's really something to look down on Yosemite Falls like that. Found via the Yosemite Blog.

#2 - Slacklining 3000 Feet Above the Valley Floor -
NOTE: There is some swearing in this video, more than a few "f" words come out of this guy's mouth as he attempts this high-wire act. I'd probably say the same things if I kept falling off that rope, time and time again like he does. The challenge of this activity is pretty obvious, not really something I think I'd ever dream of attempting.

#3 - Hiking Half Dome the Day of a Fatal Accident -
This video was shot June 16, 2007, the day that Hirofumi Nohara died on the mountain. Don't worry, there is no gory footage of the accident, but the camera does capture the park rescue helicopter arriving on the scene. Quite honestly, the most amazing part of this footage is to see all of the people on that rope-ladder. It is unreal. That many people on that steep pitch all hanging onto a single rope just does not look like a situation I'd be comfortable with. The experience of the video is so far removed from my expectation of a park visit, I'm not sure I'll ever make it to Half Dome. Found via the Yosemite Blog.

What's next? I'd love to see a video of a hang glider take off from Glacier Point, pick up a hiker from the top of Half Dome, and then drop them off on a slackline next to Yosemite Falls. Someone will do it, I'm sure.


Anyone who might think that parks are not overcrowded should take a look at this video of the half-dome hike. The mass of humanity clinging to that cable is absolutely amazing.

Thanks for bringing the video to our attention.

I did the same trip in June 1990 and thought it was crowded back then. And we were by far less then half the people seen in this video clip. There were wide gaps in the line on the cables, and certainly no queue before you got to the cables. Or maybe we were just earlier in the day - judging from sun and shadows. Yosemite Valley and the day trips from there are places of mass tourism. And all who visit are part of it, no matter if they are reading this blog, see themselves as individualists and/or love the backcountry too. And there isn't much wrong with it, if you know about the conditions before and don't expect much more. For many people, driving up to Glacier Point and climbing Half Dome is the closest they will ever get to mountaineering - and that's fine too.

But fortunately one just has to walk in a different direction and can experience something close to solitude in Yosemite NP. For example in Tuolumne Meadows, just one mile from Tioga road.

That was amazing. Great video, great editing, great sound.

Wow how cool. Even more cool was to find my video displayed here for hang gliding. Thank you. I wanted to show the beauty of modern hang gliding. You can see that a modern hang glider is stable enough to fly with no hands while taking photos of the beauty below. The record distance for a hang glider flight (no engine) is 436 miles. I have a friend who is over 65 who hang glides, been flying in Yosemite many times. That flight for me was the embodiment of a long dream to fly I've had since childhood. Come join us- it's the friendly skies.
There's more of my hang gliding videos here:
and leave a comment on my video log. I have some high resolution copies of several of the videos, watching the water fall is spectacular at Yosemite (it's lost on the web version).


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