93-year-old summits Yosemite’s Half Dome: ‘It felt pretty good’

July 31, 2023

Everett Kalin isn’t letting age hold him back. The 93-year-old retired professor climbed to the top of Yosemite National Park’s Half Dome rock on July 18, reports Good Morning America.

Rising nearly 5,000 feet above Yosemite Valley and 8,800 feet above sea level, Half Dome is a Yosemite icon and a great challenge to many hikers. Despite an 1865 report declaring that it was “perfectly inaccessible, being probably the only one of the prominent points about the Yosemite which never has been, and never will be, trodden by human foot,” George Anderson was the first to reach the summit in 1875, in the process laying the predecessor to today’s cable route.

Kalin’s son Jon, a backpacker and climber, and granddaughter Sidney joined him on the hike; which they divided into a multi-day excursion, taking 13 hours overall to finish the trek.

“I guess I was pleasantly surprised that when I got up there. I did not feel that I was huffing and puffing so much as we went up. It felt pretty good,” Kalin said.

The Half Dome trail is described as an “exciting, arduous hike” on the National Park Service’s website. The full round-trip hike is 14 to 16 miles.

While thousands of hikers summit Half Dome each year, according to the NPS, park rangers end up assisting “hundreds of people” along the difficult Half Dome trail each summer.

“Most of these emergencies could have been prevented,” the NPS states on its website.

Kalin made sure to prepare for his own ambitious goal of summiting Half Dome by training and climbing the stairs at the 17-floor senior living community where he resides.

Kalin told ABC affiliate KFSN-TV in Fresno that the idea to climb Half Dome simply came to him, and his wife Clara signed off on the trek before it began.

His son says, “It was spectacular for the three generations of us to be together, enjoying it all at once.”

Kalin’s latest feat isn’t his only major adventure in recent years: For his birthday last year, the nonagenarian thrill-seeker jumped out of a plane.

Research contact: @GMA