The Kalins smile at the top of Half Dome.
(Photo: Courtesy of Sidney Kalin)

A 93-Year-Old Man Hiked Up Yosemite’s Half Dome

The nonagenarian proved that age truly is just a number

Courtesy of Sidney Kalin

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Proving the old adage that age is just a number, a 93-year-old man recently reached the 8,800-foot summit of Half Dome at Yosemite National Park.

Everett Kalin, a retired theology professor from Oakland, California, finished the difficult hike on Tuesday, July 18, ABC News reports. He reached the top with the help of his 57-year-old son, Jon, and his 19-year-old granddaughter, Sidney.

They carried supplies so that Kalin only had to tote his water bladder.

“I guess I was pleasantly surprised when I got up there. I did not feel that I was huffing and puffing so much as we went up,” Everett Kalin told ABC News. “It felt pretty good.”

Left: Everett Kalin uses two parallel metal cables to hike up Half Dome. Right: The three Kalins walk together on Half Dome.
(Photo: Courtesy of Sidney Kalin)

In the months leading up to the climb, Kalin trained by walking up the stairs in his 17-story Oakland apartment building, and by taking regular walks around Lake Merritt, SFGate reports.

“He’s stubborn as a mule. When he sets his mind to something, he’s going to do it,” Jon Kalin told SFGate. “He kept proving me wrong every step of the way.”

A video that Sidney posted of her grandfather reaching the summit has more than 15 million views on TikTok. In the 12-second clip, the 93-year-old pauses for a moment to steady his footing. Then, he and his son take a few triumphant steps to the top. The hikers behind him clap and cheer as he celebrates his accomplishment.

@sidneykalinJuly 18th, Everett Kalin became the oldest known person to climb Yosemite’s Half Dome at 93 years old. Words cannot describe how proud I am. Opa, it was an honor to take on this trip with you. I hope this stands as a lesson to everyone that you are never too young or old to achieve your dreams.♬ M83 Outro Versaille Intro – yaten82

The trio spent three days in the park, according to SFGate. They started in Curry Village, then camped overnight at Little Yosemite Valley. On the second day, they went to the top of Half Dome and back down over a 13-hour period. On the last day, they descended from Little Yosemite Valley to the valley floor.

Described as an “exciting, arduous hike,” the 14- to 16-mile round trip to Half Dome “is not for you if you’re out of shape or unprepared,” the National Park Service says. Every summer, park rangers rescue hundreds of people who cannot complete the trek.

There’s no way to know if Everett Kalin is the oldest person to summit Half Dome, because the park does not keep records on the ages of hikers, a Yosemite spokesperson said.

Speaking from his home in Oakland the next day, Kalin told SFGate that he wasn’t even feeling sore. “That was fantastic. Just super,” he said. “When you’re 93, it’s a little extra special.”

Everett Kalin and his granddaughter Sidney smile at the top of Half Dome.

Isabella Rosario is an associate editor at Outside. She is based in southeast Iowa.

Lead Photo: Courtesy of Sidney Kalin

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