Rock Climbing

Yosemite is world class destination for climbing. Climbers enjoy an endless variety of challenges from the sustained crack climbs of the Merced River Canyon, to pinching crystals on sun-drenched Tuolumne Meadows domes, to multi-day aid climbs on the big walls of Yosemite Valley. Yosemite is not just a climber’s playground however, its walls and crags are an integral part of a larger ecosystem set aside for generations to come.

As the number of climbers visiting the park has increased through the years, its impacts have become much more noticeable. Some impacts include soil compaction, erosion, and vegetation loss with most of these impacts felt in climber parking areas, bases, and on approach and descent trails. Destruction of cliff-side vegetation and lichen, disturbance of cliff-dwelling animals, litter, waste pollution, and the visual blight have caused conservationists to take notice. We come to Yosemite because we love nature and the outdoors. Being conscience of our surroundings and making small alterations to our practice can eliminated a great deal of destruction. As you know, small impacts may seem insignificant, but multiplied one thousand times, our Park can suffer.

Your help is needed to ensure that Yosemite remains a beautiful.

What you can do:

Talk to fellow climbers: share how to minimize impact
Pick up trash when you see it or take part in organized clean-ups and other projects.
Climb safely! Rescues endanger rescuers’ lives, are expensive, and can be avoided!
Keep informed about closed areas and respect these closures.

Current Closures:

Climbing anywhere on Glacier Point Apron is not recommended due to recent and ongoing rockfall.
Restrictions near peregrine falcon nest sites are in effect. See closure notice for details.

More than 100 climbing accidents occur in Yosemite each year and of these 15% – 25% require rescue. Climbing in Yosemite has inherent risks and climbers assume complete responsibility for their safety. The National Park Service does not maintain routes. Loose rock and other hazards can exist on any route. Rescue is not a certainty. If you find yourself in trouble, be prepared to get yourself out. Be knowledgeable about what to do in any emergency including bodily trauma, evacuations, unplanned bivouacs, or rapid changes in weather. Safety depends on having the right gear and the right attitude. Practice self-rescue techniques before you need them! Courtesy is an element of safety. Falling rock or gear is a serious hazard so be careful when climbing above others. Do not create a dangerous situation by passing another party without their consent. Be sure to read the section on “Staying Alive” in the Yosemite Valley guidebook.

Emergency Information
The Yosemite Medical Clinic, located between Yosemite Village and The Ahwahnee, is equipped to handle climbing injuries. If you cannot get to the clinic on your own, call 911 for assistance.

If you are injured or stranded while on a climb and cannot self-rescue, yell for help. If you require a helicopter evacuation, do only and exactly what you are told by rescue personnel.

Big Walls
Carry a dry bag, plastic container, or “poop tube” for human waste. After your climb, dump the waste in a pit toilet. Paper bags are acceptable; plastic bags are not. Bring adequate gear. Rescues are dangerous, expensive, and cause a lot of impact.

Wilderness Permits
Currently, wilderness permits are not required for nights spent on a wall. It is illegal to camp at the base of any wall in Yosemite Valley. If you must bivouac on the summit, you are required to follow all regulations:

Do not litter, toss, or cache anything. If you hauled it up, you can carry it down.
If you must have a fire, use an existing fire ring.
Do not build windbreaks, platforms, or other “improvements.”
Half Dome: Camping at the base of Half Dome is legal, but a wilderness permit is required. Camping on the summit of Half Dome is prohibited.

Fight litter! Don’t toss anything off a wall, even if you intend to pick it up later. Don’t leave food or water at the top or on ledges for future parties. Set a good example by picking up any litter you see, including tape wads and cigarette butts.

Don’t leave fixed ropes as permanent fixtures on approaches and descents. These are considered abandoned property and will be removed.

Minimize erosion on your approach and descent. If an obvious main trail has been created, use it. Go slow on the way down to avoid pushing soil down the hill. Avoid walking on vegetation whenever possible.

If you need to build a fire for survival during an unplanned bivouac on the summit, use an existing fire ring. Building a new fire ring or windbreak is prohibited. Make sure your fire is completely out before you leave.

Clean extra, rotting slings off anchors when you descend. Bring earth-toned slings to leave on anchors.

Check the Camp 4 kiosk or the Mountain Shop for the current Peregrine Falcon closures.

On first ascents: Please think about the impacts that will be caused by your new climb- Is the approach susceptible to erosion? Is there a lot of vegetation on the rock? “Gardening” (i.e., killing plants), is illegal in Yosemite. Can the climb be done with a minimum of bolts? Motorized drills are prohibited.

Climbing Instruction and Guide Service

Contact Yosemite Mountaineering School at (209) 372-1000 for information on rates and schedules.