Old age is nothing more than a number when it comes to satisfying your adventurous spirit. At least, that is the case for 93-year-old Everett Kalin from Oakland, California. The retired professor started to ask himself about things he would like to do when he reached 90. Among the list, climbing the Yosemite’s Half Dome was one thing that really stood out. Moreover, he successfully achieved it earlier in July 2023, making him possibly the oldest person to have done so.
Everett, of course, could not do the trek all by himself. He had the help of Jon, his son, who is 57, and Sidney, his granddaughter, who is 19. They were the ones who did all the paperwork to secure the permit. They also planned the trek and carried the supplies required to complete the trek. During the trek, Everett only had to carry a bladder for water.
Climbing Yosemite’s Half Dome Is A Daunting Task
Everett, who used to be a professor of theology, knew very well how difficult climbing Yosemite’s Half Dome is. Before attempting it, he spent two months training for the trek. Of course, his body would not be able to accept very grueling exercises. So he walked up the stairs up the 17 stories in his building in Oakland. He also took walks around Lake Merritt almost every day. Everett also spent some time working out his upper body since the trek involved climbing up using cables.
Looking back at the trek, Everett thinks that the toughest challenge was possibly the hike’s first hump, also called the subdome. It is comparatively slicker and steeper than the rest and does not have any cables that can help. At a point, he needed Jon and Sidney to physically hold him so that he could continue. Jon described his father as being “stubborn as a mule”. He explained that Everett just kept proving him wrong every step they took.
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Things became a bit easier when they reached the cables. Kalin explained: “I walked and pulled the best I could. It’s a matter of balance and leaning forwards to try and get the power. If you stand up, you can’t move your arms forwards”.
Moreover, the trek was almost canceled before Kalin could reach the top. According to the weather forecast, it was possible that there might be thunderstorms. If it did rain, the rangers strictly warned that it would be too dangerous to hike. Fortunately, even if the skies looked ominous, there was no downpour in the end.
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Reaching The Top
A celebration awaited Everett when he reached the summit of Yosemite’s Half Dome. All the people they had met along the trek cheered for him. Jon could even spot some people crying along all the photos and videos being taken. He teared up as well while recalling the experience. Unfortunately, no official record is kept about who’s climbing the Yosemite’s Half Dome. So, according to Yosemite National Park spokesperson Scott Gediman, there is no certainty if Everett really is the oldest to do the trek.
However, Jon said that all the rangers they had talked with along the trek could remember some octogenarians doing it, but no one could remember a nonagenarian. When Everett returned home the next day, he was not even sore. Instead, he just felt extremely grateful to everyone who made it possible.
The hike is doable within a day. However, Jon understood that for his father, it needed to be slow and patient. So they planned it over three days. The first night they spent at Little Yosemite Valley. The next day, they trekked up to the summit of Yosemite’s Half Dome and descended for approximately 13 hours. On the final day, they returned to the valley floor from Little Yosemite Valley.
For Kalin, it is an unforgettable experience. One of his most standout moments was when people kept asking to take pictures with him when he told them his age. His next adventure is still to be decided since he is busy enjoying the previous one. Hopefully, he gets to go on many more successful ones.
Keep Reading: Push these over, say rangers at Yosemite National Park
- “‘He’s stubborn as a mule’: 93-year-old summits Yosemite’s Half Dome.” SF Gate. Tessa McLean. July 22, 2023.
- “93-Year-Old Man Summits Yosemite’s Half Dome with Help of Son and Granddaughter: ‘Feeling Great’.” People. Anna Lazarus Caplan. July 27, 2023.
- “93-year-old summits Yosemite’s Half Dome: ‘It felt pretty good’.” Good Morning America. July 27, 2023.