Night Assault / Ghost Hikers [C_033326-56br] a photo by Steven Christenson on Flickr.
Here is an example of star trails and people-made trails. It uses the same old stacking tricks I’ve been espousing in several articles on my BLOG.
Hikers brave the famous cables on Half Dome in Yosemite at night. The moon was about 90% illuminated and this was taken as astronomical twilight began. Hikers with headlamps blazing hiked up the cables in this multiple exposure shot spanning about 18 minutes.
Permits are required every day of the week. Rangers are there checking quite often.
NOTE Photos of the cables from this angle make it look like the ascent is brutally steep. It is STEEP. The slope of Half Dome on the left side is about 45 degrees. The slope on the right is about 65 degrees. The slope the hikers are taking is about 39 degrees with a section in the middle that is almost 45 degrees. I say this because it’s NOT that much steeper than a flight of steps which is normally about 39 degrees. Of course there are no steps here and thousands of hikers have smoothed the granite enough that good footwear is a necessity. The consequence of a slip and fall are quite a lot more serious than a slip on a flight of stairs. To say that you have to “pull yourself up” the cable is not at all true (fear or bad footwear might drive you to try that, though!) But you will want to to keep at least one hand on the cables at all times. DO NOT attempt to walk up in sneakers, flip flops, or dress shoes. Wear hiking boots or climbing shoes. You will probably slip and die if you don’t have good footwear. Several have already done the slip, fall, die thing, so you won’t be doing anything original or creative. So don’t, please!
By the way, coming down is more daunting! I suggest going down backward always keeping your arms fully extended and at least one strong grip on the cable.