Climbing Half Dome

by Scott Foulger

an adult having cystic fibrosis

Spring 1995

At 7 a.m. on a really beautiful morning last August, I set out with two friends from Camp Curry on the floor of Yosemite Valley to climb Half Dome. Since I have CF and am 34 years old, it was with no little amount of nervousness that I started out.

To conquer Half Dome which tops 10,000 feet, you have to ascend more than 6,000 feet from the 4,000 foot-high-valley floor. We would walk more than 17 miles in our hike.

We didn't want any excess weight to weigh us down. We planned to complete the hike in one day, so we didn't carry camping gear. All we took with us were a small portable water purifier and a few power candy bars.

During the next ten hours, we climbed and climbed. We scaled two miles of staircases cut into the rock trail. The trail winds around two waterfalls with some not-so-steep areas that seem to go on forever. The last 400 yards is a steep uphill ascent up a 60 percent grade. You go up hand over hand on cables installed each year by the park rangers. Without these cables, the last part would be a rock climb requiring ropes and some higher degree of skill. Of course, the air at this height is very thin.

We spent some time at the top admiring the view. All in all, the climb had more rewards for me than that. It proved that I could do it. I was even the first of our group to reach the top. It was hard and I wanted to stop more than once, but I was not going to give up. In fact, our group plans to do it again in 1995 and several more of my friends say they will join us.

It was a wonderful adventure. It proved to me that even with my CF, with exercise and treatments, I can make such experiences a reality.

Editor's note: Scott Foulger will graduate from Fresno State College this June. He plans to be a kindergarten teacher and will have one more year of training to obtain his teaching credential. Since he was diagnosed as a small boy, his family took care of him conscientiously, and now he treats himself with a motorized percussor. He also lifts weights, rides his bicycle and has practiced aerobics. He credits both Pulmozyme and good habits for his steady health which allows him to attend school, climb mountains and have a future.

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