Megan Anders Conquers Half Dome
By: Gabe Taylor '12
Six hours and approximately eight miles had passed when sophomore middle blocker Megan Anders accomplished the feat of reaching Half Dome's summit. Alongside her high school companion, Anders trekked up the infamous landmark located in Yosemite Valley.
"I went to Yosemite as a kid, and I was like 'one day I'm going to hike that,'" said Anders, an outdoorsy type.
Prior to completing the 14-16 mile round trip hike, she had ventured up Yosemite Falls as well. But according to Anders, that excursion was "nothing in comparison to Half Dome."
Although training is usually sought out before embarking on the climb up Half Dome, Anders felt as though the volleyball workouts were sufficient.
"If I hadn't been playing volleyball, I would've trained for it," noted Anders.
Departing for the summit at five a.m., Anders and her friend, Katherine, attempted to take advantage of the slight patch of good weather. Weather reports signaled that the afternoon was likely to be riddled with thunderstorms. Had rain started to pour down, the summit would have been closed off to hikers.
"We just had to beat the bad weather," said Anders.
And they did just that.
The most daunting part of the climb presented itself when the cables came into view. Labeled the most dangerous part of the hike, the 400-foot long cables require patience, stability and a firm grip. In researching the cables prior to the hike, Anders came across the report that 20 deaths occurred while climbing the cables. She, however, refused to let this slow her down, even as the number kept ringing in her head.
"I was calculating my chances the whole time," said Anders.
Shortly after grasping the cables and journeying upwards, Anders and Katherine stood atop the summit that towers 8,800 feet above sea level.
"It was…awe inspiring," said Anders, describing the beauty that surrounded her.
But Anders was not too quick to celebrate. Just as winning one game in volleyball does not guarantee the match, Anders understood that her feeling of triumph would result from touching down, back where the hike began.
"I finally did it," said Anders. "But at the same time, I'm only halfway there."
With the descent, and more importantly the cables, still in the picture, Anders struggled to fully relax, even with the tranquil view.
"You have to take it bit by bit and not think about how far you've gone; just keep going."
Soon enough, however, Anders and Katherine landed right back where they had started. And the feeling of satisfaction finally sank in.