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Yosemite and Sierras in August
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Feb 28, 2013
My wife and I are planning a trip for August. We are hoping to do the RNWF of Half Dome and Positive Vibrations on the Hulk. We've been to Tuolumne and climbed some easy routes, as well as the Red Dihedral.

I realize it will be very hot in the valley. Any suggestions for other routes? I was looking at the Rostrum, since it faces north, though that may be stupid with the heat.

We are both teachers and only have summers available for a trip, so going at another time isn't really possible.

Discuss.
Hans
From North Vancouver, BC
Joined Oct 14, 2007
775 points
Feb 28, 2013
I haven't done this, but it's supposed to be an excellent climb, car-to-car in a day, good in the summer:

mountainproject.com/v/third-pi...
FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Joined Nov 19, 2009
127 points
Feb 28, 2013
The Hulk is an excellent choice. My advice would be to bring a light tent w/ fly to cover your ass (literally). It can T-storm up there that time of year and the mosquitoes are hit or miss.

The Rostrum should also be in fine shape. It gets tons of shade, just start early. I climbed the West Face of El Cap in July, and even with temps in the high 90's on the Valley floor, found it quite reasonable with an early start. It gets morning shade, so if you're up high on the route by the time the sun comes around you'll be fine.

Actually, I think all the climbs you mentioned are climbable in August. You could probably tack on something on Whitney or Temple Crag, too. You have to get a hiking permit for Whitney, but the long summer days allow for a car to car experience on some High Sierra classics.
Ryan Curry
Joined Jun 4, 2008
453 points
Feb 28, 2013
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Ka...
The Needles are usuly very nice in August. Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Joined Mar 1, 2008
189 points
Feb 28, 2013
I understand why you asked about the heat, but I believe people make far too much of an issue about it. Given the hordes of other climbers you'll see when you arrive in August, others can and do climb during that month. Basically, climb on north facing stuff, climb in the shade, early in the day, etc. I've had summer days on the north side of Middle Cathedral, for example, where I've gotten chilled because I didn't bring a sweater since it was so warm on the Valley floor. Or just go climb in the Meadows. I'm not sure when or if there will be closure in effect on the Rostrum that time of year. Or, like Guy, recommended, climb at the Needles. There's also the Third Pillar, Rock Creek Canyon, Cardinal Pinnacle, Pine Creek Canyon, etc., etc. Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Joined Nov 9, 2007
137 points
Feb 28, 2013
Puffy jackets and Happy Boulders
The heat might not matter as much for easier climbing and chimneys, but I imagine that crux fingercrack on the Rostrum will feel a good bit harder in August than it would in October. The lower portion of the Rostrum is less than vert and gets quite a bit of sun starting fairly early in the day. But you could maybe get lucky with a cold snap. The highs can vary quite a bit, 10-15 degrees or more, depending on what sort of pressure systems are going on.

The Steck-Salathe is a good one for the summer. Start early and top out before 1pm and you'll be in the shade for the entire climb. Just bring a hat for the hike down. I didn't think of that, and got way sunburned coming down that gully with the sun directly overhead.

Also the Widow's Tears and Tower of Cosmic Winds area is nicely shaded in the mornings, elevated off the Valley floor, and gets a nice breeze blowing through there. Higher Cathedral Rock has some potential as well. You could do Book of Job in the morning then walk down and do Braille Book after its gone into the shade (the rock will still be warm to the touch, but it's easy climbing).

And then there's always night climbing. Snake Hike by full moon is a popular one.

In theory you could get in tons of great climbing in the Valley in August, but the heat has a way of evaporating the motivation right out of you. Yeah you could go climb something badass... but wouldn't it be so much easier to just drink beer by the river and slackline? I'd mostly stay in the high seirra where August is prime time, and just make a short trip to the Valley to tick Half Dome and Sentinel.
Bryan G
From Yosemite
Joined Nov 17, 2007
4,664 points
Mar 2, 2013
Nice to know about the Steck-Salathe. That looks like "fun"! Thanks for the ideas. Hans
From North Vancouver, BC
Joined Oct 14, 2007
775 points


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