Half Dome #119 Peaches with Mia


My Yosemite Ambassador Story  By John P. DeGrazio  2016 marks the Centennial Anniversary of the National Park Service. When I first learned of the Yosemite Ambassador program to celebrate this anniversary, I was highly impressed with the group of athletes, musicians, and local personalities who were selected. I was profoundly happy for my good friend Les Marsden […]

#20 Finding Solitude in Wilderness


A Solo Half Dome Adventure  By John P. DeGrazio  Do we choose our adventures or do our adventures choose us? I moved to California two years after my first visit to Yosemite. On that trip, our group hiked to the top of Half Dome and were left craving more adventure, but not necessarily more Half Dome. When […]

#24 It’s Not How You Start


It’s How You Finish  By John P. DeGrazio  I was up at the plate with a runner on second base and one out. I hit the ball pretty well but lined out to the right center fielder for the second out. Our cleanup hitter followed with a fly out to right. It was the first time […]

#50 Always Celebrate Achievements


Enjoy Every Milestone By John P. DeGrazio  I was leading a group of explorers who were all close friends when one of the hikers looked at the others and said “Well, we all made it here, what’s our next trip?” This seemed a bit odd since they were beginning the first day of a three day adventure in Yosemite. There was an […]

#48 The It Factor


This is What “It” is all About  By John P. DeGrazio  The “It” factor is a concept that there are certain intangible characteristics individuals possess that set them aside from other peers. It’s a widely used phrase in our daily lexicon whose meaning is often implied, yet it is never fully explained. It’s often used in […]

#11 Gotta Have Heart


The Glow of Half Dome  By John P. DeGrazio  Every story worth telling is crafted from an experience replete with highs and lows that are accompanied by the pain and triumph that ultimately go along with them. Humility will let you remember but not dwell on the negatives while relishing but not overstating the positives. It will also teach you that no matter how […]

#86 A Bond Stronger than Steel


Sisterhood and the Half Dome Cables  by John P. DeGrazio  As a father of two daughters, I am constantly reminding the older one that she needs to treat her sister with more love. “She’s the only one you have so treat her better,” I find myself repeating. Just today, the younger one gave her older sibling a […]

# 8 Jersey Strong


A 9 Year Old’s Journey to the Top of Sub Dome  by John P. DeGrazio  Success is not always measured by reaching the summit of the mountains we climb. Sometimes, our greatest success is determining when to terminate our summit attempt to avoid potential injury. This “live to climb another day” philosophy is not the most […]

#36 High was Worth the Pain


Rising Above the Pain  to Summit Half Dome  By John P. DeGrazio  Taylor Swift is a genius. Yes, you read that correctly. The highly successful pop star has written many chart topping songs that appeal to millions of people. Blank Space is one of her latest releases and admittedly, anyone who has ever been in an impulsive tempestuous […]

#53 Friendship and Half Dome Bucket Lists


Buddy Trips   By John P. DeGrazio  “The Bucket List” was a buddy film with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson about completing a list of things you want to do before you die, or more poetically, kick the bucket. Surprisingly, the Half Dome hike was not on their bucket list, but Jack and Morgan are more than […]

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