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(Park Overview)

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About (Park Overview):

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By far the best place to climb rock in the United States, Yosemite National Park is arguably the most sought-after climbing destination in the world! Climbers from all reaches of the planet make their pilgrimage to 'The Valley' to savour its glorious sunshine, magnificent scenery and granite so abundant you'll scarcely be able to decide which rock you should apply your rubber to first. Here in Yosemite Valley and its higher-elevation neighbor Tuolomne, you will find some of the most famous, if not the most famous, boulder problems and trad climbs ever written about. But the real draw remains the thousands of acres of big walls which abound in this First National Park.

The free climbing Areas in Yosemite Valley include the Cathedrals, Glacier Point Apron and Cookie Cliff. Popular and accessible Grade V big walls are found on Leaning Tower, Washington Column and Yosemite Falls Wall, while the Grade VI's on Half Dome and Mount Watkins present more difficult and remote challenges. Tuolumne Meadows actually offers more climbable rock than 'The Valley', with numerous domes located along the road to the east entrance of the park. Several routes listed in '50 Classic Climbs' are found in Tuolumne Meadows on Fairview Dome, AFFD, and Stately Pleasures Dome. But the frontispiece of Yosemite remains El Capitan, epicenter of the Aid Climbing and Big Wall Universe.


While Camp 4, the "climbers' campsite", is famous enough to be put on the National Register of Historic Places, it is also the noisiest and least developed place to stay in 'The Valley'. Campsite fees are now up to $5 per person per night, far too much to pay for cold water, scratched stainless steel "mirrors", and no electricity. Camp 4 is normally full during the spring and fall climbing seasons, meaning a long wait in the queue for those who want to [legally] camp. While the more affluent may choose to stay in The Pines campgrounds, more enterprising individuals find ways to live in 'The Valley' for free for months at a time.

There are several other campsites outside of Yosemite Valley including White Wolf, Yosemite Creek and Porcupine Creek located halfway between Tuolumne Meadows and the 'The Valley'. These are great places to stay if you plan to climb at both Areas of the park.

The Valley Scene:

"If El Cap epitomizes Yosemite's climbing, then Camp 4 embodies its soul. It is here among the boulders and bear boxes that climbers gather to live, lie and lust over ascents real and imagined. Throw your haulbag down into the dust and come join the international cast of reprobates and delinquents who battle bears by night and rangers by day. There are even a few normal people here, too. Find your next wall partner on the kiosk bulletin board, hang out in the parking lot to buy copperheads or swap tales, or go to the lodge caf where you can drink coffee every morning with some of the world's great climbers. Take a hike through the woods and drink in the pervasive aroma of bay leaves, or hang out in El Cap Meadows with your binoculars and watch other people suffer.

By mid-afternoon the scene swings over to the deli where you'll find the crew buried beneath a heap of Olde English beer cans before we adjourn to the Pizza Deck in Curry Village for supper. After popping into the Mountain Shop to gaze longingly at the stacks of gear you wish you could afford, you'll end up drinking a few more beers at the parking lot bear boxes in "Camp 5", or you'll ride the shuttle bus back to the Mountain Room Bar to complete your circuit. That night as you lie in your bivi sack and gaze skyward at the constellations blinking between the ponderosas, you'll realize that there's nowhere on earth you'd rather be than here in Yosemite."

Nearest town or city: Yosemite

To get there from San Francisco Airport, hop the shuttle bus across the bay to Emeryville (it runs a few times each day) and take the Amtrak to Merced. The train beats the heck out of Greyhound - more comfortable, and you can even BYOB! From Merced you can hook up with the bus that'll take you directly to the Valley.

Driving from the east, follow US 395 to Lee Vining, then head west on Hwy 120 through Tioga Pass (closed in winter). This route will take you through Tuolumne Meadows before you drop down into 'The Valley'

Driving from the west, you have three options. From the northwest, follow Hwy 120 through Oakdale and Groveland. At Crane Flat turn left and continue east on 120 to Tuolomne, or else carry on straight ahead to drop down into Yosemite Valley. From the west, you can take Hwy 140 from Merced by way of Mariposa and El Portal to enter the Park at Arch Rock. From Fresno to the southwest, drive north on Hwy 41 through Oakhurst and Wawona.

If you drive in this third way, stop on the far side of the Wawona Tunnel for a view that will take your breath away !!!

The climbing in the park is too much to combine into one Area, therefore a seperate Region has been created with all the Areas within the park on the California Home Page. Just click the 'Back Arrow' to view the Park Areas.
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Latitude, Longitude: 37.79459, -119.55597
Access Issues:
Camping: Pay
When to Climb:
Quantity of Climbs: Lifetime

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Forum Discussions (See all 60 posts )

  Subject Author Replies Last Post
With Replies Recommended climbs for Yosemite first timers Twobits 20 Aug 27 2008, 7:57 PM
With Replies best offset TCU size for the valley? phile 6 Jun 08 2007, 4:20 PM
With Replies Recomended Yosemite Climbs in January? cinderlick5205 1 Jan 24 2007, 6:00 PM
With Replies Main Road to Yosemite Closed Indefinitely tonypurmal 4 Oct 04 2006, 6:03 AM
With Replies Yosemite Partner Mid June..... vegastradguy 1 May 31 2006, 12:45 AM
With Replies yosemite guide book trailtripper 5 May 31 2006, 6:21 PM
With Replies Mileage from Valley to Tuolumne Meadows tslater 2 Feb 13 2006, 6:22 PM
With Replies late march in Yosemite? dynoguy 4 Jan 18 2006, 5:11 AM
With Replies Spot to TR 10a-10d cracks in the Valley? dynoguy 4 Sep 03 2005, 3:44 AM
With Replies how to camp free in the Valley? Mosquitos? dynoguy 11 Aug 28 2005, 1:43 AM
With Replies Yosemite Climbing Association Clean-Up, Sept. 22nd 25th robi 2 Aug 18 2005, 6:48 PM
With Replies create a valley tick list for Elvez elvislegs 9 Jul 05 2005, 10:58 PM
With Replies Yosemite advice needed cmstone 14 Jun 09 2005, 9:01 PM
With Replies Yosemite closed... bandycoot 6 May 16 2005, 7:15 PM
With Replies Tenaya Creek Canyon iltripp 5 Apr 21 2005, 9:33 PM