Cables to aid hikers on Yosemite's Half Dome are up and the popular hike is open

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YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. - A summer rite of passage is underway at Yosemite National Park, where the handrails on Half Dome are in place and hikers began scaling the granite monolith Friday morning.

Park spokeswoman Kari Cobb says the last of the heavy metal cables were installed late Thursday. Park officials also place wooden boards to act as footholds on the sometimes slippery granite.

In recent years park officials began requiring hikers to have passes for the popular hike to the summit. They were distributed through a lottery in March, but 50 are available through a two-day-in-advance lottery.

Park officials want to limit numbers to increase safety on Half Dome, where changing weather conditions can be challenging. With fewer people backed up on the cables, it's easier to evacuate if a storm hits.

Geographic location: YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

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