“Nature is seldom suspected of being poor, for does she not possesses all the real estate of the world, to say nothing of unexplored moons and stars? And has she then only one Yosemite Valley?” John Muir ponders.
Once upon a time in the age of the Pleistocene, Mother Nature nurtured a landscape shaped by glaciers and granite in the womb of the Sierras. With the retreat of the glaciers many deep valleys fed by mountain snows were born on the western front of the range. The four main sister valleys named Yosemite, Hetch Hetchy, Tehipite, and Kings were raised with equal love and opportunity by Mother Nature. It was not until the Sierras were seen through the eyes and bias of western civilization that the valleys developed distinct personalities. Yosemite with her glamor and charisma, caught the most attention and praise (especially among bearded men). Nearby attention starved Hetch Hetchy made the biggest sacrifice to humanity only to be forgotten beneath the waters. Quiet Tehipite afraid of such attention withdrew her huge domes and beauty out of sight. And the Kings sister, unconcerned with humanity’s opinion and such drama, continued the business of flowing rivers, growing trees, greening meadows, and shaping granite. Despite being bestowed National Park status, the Kings sister continued a modest peaceful life free from the nuisance of beauty starved city dwelling humanity. The mystery, though, is how the beauty and potential of the King sister’s rock walls have not been entirely discovered and swarmed by climbers.
While most climbers are bedazzled by the glamor of the Yosemite sister, there may be some climbers that see more beauty and allure in the unnamed formations, un climbed cracks, un tapped faces, and un discovered classics of the Kings sister. Even John Muir, Yosemite’s most ardent courtier, fell under her spell. “Yet no individual rock in the valley equals El Capitan or Half Dome, but, on the other hand, from no position on the Yosemite walls could a section five miles in length be selected equal in downright beauty and grandeur to five miles of the middle portion of the south wall of the new valley (Kings Canyon).”
This day in age, the Kings Canyon offers climbers something unique. A land of choose your own adventure. Climbing for every mood. Sport, traditional, bouldering, and big walls. Shade or sun. Clean or dirty. Short or long approach. Granite or marble. The rock quality can be excellent on established routes and new routes will encounter the usual loose rocks, dirt, and vegetation.
Contribute and More Information:
Lack of available literature and information contributes to the low density of climbers (1-2 per valley most of the year). The limited route information can be hunted down in the out of print Southern Sierra Rock Climbing: Sequoia/Kings Canyon guide by Sally Moser that will cost a pretty penny online. Updated climbing information can be found at the Cedar Grove Ranger station (Spring 2010).Please contribute information on first ascents along with opinions and ratings of established climbs to the ranger station and Chelsea Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530 320 4724.
“Those who can should visit the valley at once, while it remains in primeval order.” John Muir. .
From Fresno, instead of following the traffic jam up 41 toward Yosemite, take Hwy 180 toward Kings Canyon. Hwy 180 will take a sinuous drive up to the park entrance. Stay left continuing on Hwy 180 toward Kings canyon, pass Grant Grove, through National Forest land and then dive into the depths of stunning Kings Canyon. Total driving time from Fresno= 2.5 hrs.
From Visalia take Hwy 63 North to Hwy 180 and continue East as previously directed. Total driving time from Visalia=2.5 hrs. Unfortunately there is no public transportation to Kings Canyon. Average approach time from parking to lower cliff walls = 10 min.
8 Total Routes
['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',5],['2 Stars',2],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
Featured Route For Kings Canyon
Nowhere To Run 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c CA
: Sequoia & Kings Canyon NP
: ... : North Mountain
Really fun climb up six pitches with all sizes of cracks. Feels sand bagged on the easier pitches because they require many techniques but the grades are fair.P1: Short, funky but fun corner up to a ledge with a tree. P2: Wonder up next to or in a chimney until it pinches to fingers and ends at a white triangle with webbing on it.P3: Splitter crack ranging from squeeze to fingers up to a tree.P4: Kind of confusing. Trend up and right to a crack, then back left, then up and right again to a ...[more] Browse More Classics in CA
Local Information for Kings Canyon
Some rail/tufa thing that I projected. Linked up a... Tehipite Dome rises 3,500 feet from The Middle For... Tehipite Dome, Middle Fork of The Kings River Cany...
Grand Sentinel as viewed from North Dome, Zumwalt ... The eastern end of Kings Canyon
We dubbed this one the Sharks Tooth. Did two lines... FA Dolphin Dreams, North Dome. P-4 Wide, Flared & ... Looking East up Kings Canyon
Some unnamed v6 thing we did. Halo sits on the ste... Eastern end of Kings Canyon Konstantine on "Hot Wine", 5.10b, North Dome.
Another shot of that tufa rail thing. I climbed this problem, which I called Halo, first... The caramel thunderstones of Kings Canyon. This is...
At road's end, the old school denizens of Zumwalt ... FA Rainbow Warrior, Chernobyl Wall, North Dome.
Trim the bush V6
The sit start to Halo.
Kings River as viewed from the base of North Dome,...
Fire and Brimstone V5
Konstantine Stolev on Wish You Were Here (5.9).
Expansive granite apron, Chernobyl Wall, North Dom...
Kiss the Quartz
FA Invisible Nebulae. P-5 No Reverse Traverse (A4)...
Setting up for the 1st bolt on Rainbow Warrior, Ch...
Early repeat of "You Had A Hand In This Too" (11a)...
I'm calling it: "No Bush Trimming Required".
Black snake groan V4/5
Glacier View up canyon
Cleaning a problem.
Chrome Dome, as seen from the road.
From: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Nov 30, 2009
More info to be posted soon 2010 on routes and areas.
From: Menifee, CA
Mar 1, 2010
Been putting up boulder problems and routes here for almost seven years. One of the best kept secrets in the sierra. I absolutely love Kings Canyon!
From: SEKI, CA
Mar 1, 2010
I like to think that there are a lot of new lines there, but who knows?
From: Menifee, CA
Mar 2, 2010
So, it's called Halo. I've done that as well, but figured someone else has. That rock at the base gave me pause before doing it.
Aug 17, 2010
My wife and I did alot of bouldering here, mostly at Roads End, in '04 -'06. I'll try to post up some info soon.
|By Kris Solem|
From: Monrovia, CA
Feb 3, 2011
I finally got around to putting up a page on The Gorge of Despair, a crown jewel of King's Canyon back country climbing.
Enjoy! Let me know how to improve it too.
|By Steven Thaw|
May 2, 2013
The SIERRA (NOT sierras) is ONE mountain range.
The SIERRA NEVADA is Spanish for snowy range.
John Muir named the SIERRA the "Range of Light".
PLEASE correct your mistake.
30 Woodside Drive