The literature on rock climbing is plentiful nowadays! The subject matter on the topic, brimming with exciting tips and ideas are easily available.
In this EDITION, we will dive into one of the most famous rock climbing spots in the world: Yosemite National Park!
You will learn about:
- Yosemite National Park’s Background and History
- Tips for making your own trip
- Information on camping and multi-pitch climbing.
Let’s get into it!
Yosemite Rock Climbing Spots
Yosemite is like the pièce de résistance of rock climbing and multi-pitch climbing. It is the crème de la crème.
Yosemite National Park boasts literally thousands of routes. One of the best features about the park is that no matter your skill level, you will find something that suits you! Whether it’s your first time out there or more advanced and free climbing El Capitan, you’re sure to enjoy yourself immensely in this natural wonder.
This highly-preserved and gorgeous park is known for its glacial polished granite routes. The powerful, unceasing Merced River runs through it. For nearly 200 years, Yosemite has been hailed as a rock climbing mecca! Here are the names you need to know, as they are some of the most famous locations in Yosemite:
- El Capitan (With routes including Dawn Wall and The Nose)
- Half Dome (With routes including Snake Dike and Northwest Face)
- Sierra High Route (195 miles / 314 km long!)
Part of Yosemite’s fame can be attributed also to historic climbers who set records, broke records, and even competed with one another for rock climbing glory. One example of this is an individual named Royal Robbins. Some of his more notable routes as a mountain climber include El Capitan and Half Dome. He was part of the second group to climb Dawn Wall on El Capitan and he did it in 1971.
So if you have driven across United States and embarked on many road trip adventures to some of the best West USA destinations, Yosemite has got to be the best pitstop of them all for climbers.
Camping at Yosemite
Camping at Yosemite National Park is a must for any mountain climber looking for some of the greatest star-gazing and outdoor views! Given how popular these campgrounds are, it is best to plan ahead, preferably 6-12 months in advance. Spots can be taken up very quickly. Camp 4 is one of the most well-known campgrounds at Yosemite, and it is a stellar place to meet fellow climbers.
Here is a list of some of the best camping spots at Yosemite:
For the brave hearted, Yosemite National Park allows you to camp ON the wall of your multi-pitch! You don’t even need a wilderness permit. Of course, it is suggested to go with an experienced guide or if you already have done it before, to make great measure to check your equipment/ test out your portoledge and camping gear before hanging thousands of feet off the ground! Keep in mind that according to their guidelines, it is currently illegal to set up camp at the base of any wall in Yosemite Valley.
Weather checks before climbing
The weather in Yosemite National Park in California varies month on month. So make it a point to do a weather check on when is the perfect season to visit California such that you can squeeze in the best outdoor experiences and climbs. We all fear rain/ bitter cold and wind when we are smack in the middle of the climbing.
Dawn Wall and Multi-Pitch Climbing
Dawn Wall is aptly named because it is the southeast face of El Capitan, which faces the rising sun. There has even been a film made featuring Tommy Caldwell. Its name used to be Wall of the Early Morning Light. The route was first tackled by Warren Harding and Dean Caldwell in 1970, followed by Royal Robbins in 1971.
As with most Yosemite rock climbing spots, there are multiple pitches.
The concept of multi-pitch climbing is easy to understand.
It simply refers to the fact that the route is longer than one span of rope. The leader climbs to the next pitch. They place gear along the route, and they safety themselves up to the next belay station where they belay their buddy up.
Before going on your next travel adventure, consider booking Affordable Travel Insurance from US$14 onwards for that peace of mind! 🙂
Planning and Park Guidelines
Because of its thousands of routes spanning bouldering, traditional climbing,
Park Entry Fees and Costs
Park entrance fees are US$35 per vehicle or US$30 per motorcycle. Park passes can be purchased at any entrance to Yosemite, at visitor centres in Oakhurst, Groveland, Mariposa, or Lee Vining (all located in California) between May and October, or online at Your Pass Now Website. Many mountain climbers and visitors alike opt to purchase online.
Budget to Prepare before Visiting
There are a variety of factors to play into your budget at Yosemite National Park. Your driving and flight costs aside, consider that other expenses include:
- Rock Climbing and Camping Gear and Equipment – this can range from $100 to start off all the way into the thousands, depending on how much you have to spend!
- Food – estimated at $30 per day per person
- Clothes – estimated to be $50-$150 per person depending on what you already own (shoes, shorts, shirts, etc.)
- Camping – Yosemite campgrounds are quite cheap – expect to pay around $10 per night per person. I have always wanted to take a campervan trip in US, so make sure you do your research where you can camp.
Guidelines for preserving the park
It’s important to always respect the rules of any hiking place you visit. As for Yosemite National Park, it is natural habitat – not man-made! It makes sense than to encourage climbers, beginner level hikers and visitors to preserve the National Park so it can be enjoyed for generations to come.
Follow these points laid out by the Yosemite campgrounds and you will ensure a visit that is low-impact on the environment. It’s all about setting the example as a respectful mountain climber!
- Do not toss, litter, or catch anything. Leave it how you found it.
- If you must have a fire, use an existing fire ring.
- Do not build windbreaks or other “improvements”.
Getting to Yosemite – Transportation
Getting to the National Park can be done in a variety of ways. The best time to visit Yosemite is during the spring and fall months. Therefore, be wary of high traffic during these times.
- BUS: Yosemite Area Regional Transit (YARTS). This is the recommended method to travel to Yosemite National Park.
- CAR: Via Highways CA 41, 120, and 140. You don’t want to be bored by the details, so check out this site for more specific information. Parking is free within the park; however, it is limited.
Whether you like bouldering? Rock climbing? Multi-pitch climbing? Free climbing?
It is all at your disposal. You can camp under the stars and be dazzled by the waterfalls, trees, rivers, and blue skies of Yosemite National Park. It is a dream destination in the USA for many mountain climbers to go. Be amazed by what our beautiful mother Earth has to offer!
Is there any other national park that can compete with Yosemite?