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Areas in Yosemite Valley

Apathy Buttress 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Arrowhead Arete 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
B&B Buttress (Indian Canyon) 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Basket Dome 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Cathedral Spires Area 58 / 4 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 62
Chapel Wall, The 9 / 12 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 21
Church Bowl 18 / 5 / 2 / 1 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 25
El Capitan 56 / 5 / 1 / 1 / 0 / 25 / 0 / 0 / 69
Glacier Point Apron 48 / 2 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 48
Grizzly Peak 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Half Dome 9 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 9
Jericho Wall 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 2
Leaning Tower Area 13 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 14
Lehamite Falls/Indian Canyon 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Liberty Cap 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 13 / 0 / 0 / 15
Loggerhead Buttress 19 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 23
Lost Brother 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 3
Lower Cathedral Rock 19 / 15 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 32
Manure Pile Buttress (aka Ranger Rock) 12 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 12
Mecca 0 / 8 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8
Mirror Lake 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Mount Broderick 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 4
Mount Watkins 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 2
North Dome 2 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Public Sanitation Wall 7 / 14 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 21
Quarter Domes 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 3
Ribbon Falls Area 17 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 19
Royal Arches 36 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 41
Royal Arches Boulder Cracks 2 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Schultz's Ridge 8 / 9 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 17
Sentinel Creek Area 23 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 24
Sentinel Rock 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 4
Slab Happy Pinnacle 7 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 7
Staircase Falls 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Three Brothers Area 26 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 26
Washington Column 10 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8 / 0 / 0 / 12
Widow's Tears Area, The 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
Yosemite Falls Area 67 / 6 / 16 / 0 / 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 78
Yosemite Valley Bouldering 2 / 0 / 1 / 160 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 163
Elevation: 4,000 ft
GPS: 37.744, -119.599 Google Map · Climbing Map
Page Views: 2,019,605 total, 14,428/month
Shared By: Josh Janes on Jun 15, 2006 with updates
Admins: M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

Climbing Closures

2017 Peregrine Closures – updated 07/12/2017
Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection Details

Yosemite Climbing Info (updated by Yosemite Climbing Rangers)

Yosemite Climbing Information webpage

Description

Yosemite Valley is THE PLACE for many rock climbers. A literal mecca for climbers across the globe, the crags and walls of "The Valley" see thousands of climber-days in the course of a year. During the height of the season, it's typical to hear climbers on El Capitan yelling back and forth in English, German, Japanese, Russian and many other languages. In this one place, many factors come together to form a nearly perfect arena for rock climbing; mild weather, beautiful scenery, and incredible granite walls perfectly suited to climbing. On a rest day, visit the many tremendous waterfalls, hike some of the beautiful trails, and breathe in one of the most incredible places in the entire country.

Getting There

Yosemite Valley can be reached from the west, south or east via highways 120 (west), 140, 41 or 120 via Tioga Pass. The Tioga Pass drive through Tuolumne Meadows from the east side is normally closed from sometime in the fall through mid to late May due to snowfall.

Traffic is an ongoing issue with Yosemite Valley during the tourist season. On especially busy days, cars are even stopped from entering the park once its determined that capacity has been reached. Plan accordingly.

During the summer months, shuttle buses and other public transit are available into the park. More information at yarts.com.

Weather

791 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

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Classic Climbing Routes at Yosemite Valley

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R
Snake Dike
Trad 8 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Nutcracker
Trad 5 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Central Pillar of Frenzy
Trad 5 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a C1
Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome
Trad, Aid 23 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a C2
The Nose
Trad, Aid 31 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Sacherer Cracker
Trad
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Steck-Salathe
Trad 15 pitches
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Sons of Yesterday
Trad 6 pitches
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
East Buttress
Trad 9 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Salathe (pitch 1)
Trad
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b A0
East Buttress
Trad, Aid 11 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Mr. Natural
Trad
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b PG13
Serenity Crack
Trad 3 pitches
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
The Moratorium
Trad 4 pitches
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Astroman
Trad 10 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Snake Dike Half Dome 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R Trad 8 pitches
Nutcracker Manure Pile Buttress (aka Ranger… 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 5 pitches
Central Pillar of Frenzy Cathedral Spires… > Middle Cathedral Rock 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 5 pitches
Regular Northwest Face of H… Half Dome 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a C1 Trad, Aid 23 pitches
The Nose El Capitan > Southwest Face 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a C2 Trad, Aid 31 pitches
Sacherer Cracker El Capitan > Base Routes 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Steck-Salathe Sentinel Rock 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 15 pitches
Sons of Yesterday Royal Arches 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 6 pitches
East Buttress El Capitan > Southeast Face 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 9 pitches
Salathe (pitch 1) El Capitan > Base Routes 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad
East Buttress Cathedral Spires… > Middle Cathedral Rock 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b A0 Trad, Aid 11 pitches
Mr. Natural Glacier Point Apron > Glacier Point Apron - Right 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad
Serenity Crack Royal Arches 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b PG13 Trad 3 pitches
The Moratorium Schultz's Ridge 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad 4 pitches
Astroman Washington Column 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad 10 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Yosemite Valley »

Weather Averages

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J F M A M J J A S O N D

Photos

Chad Lawver
Yosemite Village, California
Chad Lawver   Yosemite Village, California
I created a mobile guide book app for Yosemite, similar to MP, but with more accurate descriptions, photos, and GPS... you can download it for iPhone here...

itunes.apple.com/us/app/yos…

or Android here...

play.google.com/store/apps/…

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the app!

Thanks! Sep 1, 2015
Bryan G
Yosemite
Bryan G   Yosemite

When to Climb



Yosemite Valley is a year-round climbing destination, but depending on what you're looking for, some months are better than others. Here's what you can expect...


Winter (Dec, Jan, Feb)

Winter days are short and frigid on the Valley floor. Walls with a southern aspect get more sunshine and typically warm up to perfect temperatures. Any climbing on the south side of the Valley (north facing) is out of the question unless it's one of the Valley's rarely done ice climbs. Longer routes will typically have a few wet sections from runoff, similar to spring conditions. During the winter, climbers will flock to the excellent cragging in the Lower Merced Canyon (Arch Rock, Cookie, Pat and Jack, Reed's Pinnacle, ect..) which are at lower elevation where the snow doesn't stick as much. If the sun is shining, you can count on climbing in a t-shirt.

Winter is also the perfect time to send your bouldering project, however winter storms can dump a lot of snow that can stick around the Valley floor for weeks. The crags typically dry out much faster than the boulders - usually within a couple days. Also watch out for falling sheets of ice that form at the top of some bigger cliffs and break loose in the AM. Overall, the weather is usually clear, but you do run a higher chance of it storming which makes planning a trip from far away more risky. The campgrounds are empty, and you will have your choice of sites at Camp 4 or Upper Pines.


Spring (Mar, Apr, May)

Spring brings longer days which means more time for climbing. And with the sun higher in the sky, the snow doesn't stick around nearly as long after a storm. Spring brings it's own set of challenges however, mainly in the form of wildlife. The falcons are the first on the scene, with many route and cliff closures for their nesting season beginning in March and extending into July. The ants start showing up in late March, and they can absolutely overrun belay ledges, rappel trees, and bouldering problems. In April the poison oak blows up the Lower Merced Canyon, so make sure you before you head down-valley. Then in May, the mosquitoes hit, and if it's been a wet winter, they will be absolutely miserable. Also in May, start watching out for yellow jackets which make their hives on the sides of crags, sometimes on very popular routes. Each year a few unlucky climbers get stung a whole bunch of times.

Aside from all that, the weather is typically good, starting out cool and crisp in March, and progressing to warm in May when you will likely start chasing shade. There's issues with runoff on some routes, and the descent gullies on the south side of the Valley are usually still full of snow. But if the skies are clear, you should have plenty to climb, and the skies are usually clear. Overall this is a great time to plan a trip to the Valley. Camping can be secured with ease in March, and gets more difficult and crowded as you head into May. From May 1st to September 15th, there is a 7-night camping limit in Yosemite which is rigidly enforced in Camp 4. Leaving the Valley and coming back does not "reset" this stay limit during this time.


Summer (Jun, Jul, Aug)

Summers in the Valley start out warm in June, and get oppressively hot in July and August when the mercury will regularly push triple digits in the sun (or 38 C, for non-Americans). Chasing shade is made difficult when the sun is directly over-head for much of the day. Many north facing formations (such as the GPA, and DNB) broil in all-day sun because they aren't vertical. A common strategy is to climb in the mornings on a west-facing cliff, then take lunch by the river before getting in a few more pitches on an east-facing cliff in the evening. Also if you can get elevated a few pitches above the Valley floor you will find cooler temperatures, and if a wind is blowing, then you'll be in business. Half Dome is typically packed with climbers during these months.

The mosquitoes, yellow jackets, poison oak, and falcon nesting closures persist through the majority of the summer months. Tioga Pass usually opens sometime between end of May and end of June, and provides an escape to the cool, elevated, and less crowded destinations of Tuolumne and the High Sierra. Valley camping in the summer requires an alpine start to get in line, and then a grueling wait to secure your seven nights in Camp 4. The summer is my least favorite time in the Valley, but big wall climbers often have a more favorable opinion since they can get around the ridiculous camping scene by bivying on the wall (plus getting offsets to stick in a C2 seam isn't affected by temperatures in the same way that getting your hands to stick in a 5.11 crack is).


Fall (Sep, Oct, Nov)

Autumn in the Valley is similar in temperatures to the Spring, except it's more dry, less buggy, has less frequent storms, and also the days are shorter. It starts out warm and crowded in September, and then progresses to cool and serene in November. Pretty much all routes are "in condition" during this period, and some formations which require crossing the river are finally made accessible by low water levels.

While September is quite warm, it's easier to chase shade because the sun is lower in the sky, and a Valley trip can be accompanied by a trip up to Tuolumne which is also excellent in this month. If you're going to be in the Valley at the end of September, consider joining in the trash clean-up and festivities of Facelift. October typically offers perfect temps in either the shade with a sweatshirt, or the sun in a t-shirt. The first big storm usually closes Tioga Pass sometime in November and also ejects most of the climbers and tourists alike, but November still usually sees many clear and crisp days, perfect for climbing hard boulder problems or sunny climbing.

Camping is still difficult in September, but gets much easier by October when all the tourists leave and Camp 4 truly becomes the "climber campground". Overall, the Fall is the best time to climb in the Valley, with the only disadvantage being the shorter days compared to April and May, so don't forget the headlamp if you're heading up something long.


Apr 24, 2013
I haven't seen this amazing resource up on MP yet, so here it is - super hi-res panoramas from Yosemite's most striking summits: The Yosemite Extreme Panoramic Imaging Project

Zoom in/out on the images and you'll be able to explore the most stunning route finding resource available. Sep 25, 2012
Tobin Sanson
San Rafael, CA
Tobin Sanson   San Rafael, CA
Here's a little video I put together after my first visit to the Valley:

vimeo.com/43148125 Jun 12, 2012
Bryan G
Yosemite
Bryan G   Yosemite

A Guide to Yosemite Guidebooks



The Main 4: Bigwall vs Free - Sloan vs Supertopo



Yosemite Bigwalls: The Complete Guide - $30
With over 300 routes, the Sloan/Putnam topo book is the best choice for big wall climbing in the valley. Lots of routes on many different formations. A great value at $30 for the print book plus the eBook with the 2015 update. Or, you can choose to just buy the eBook for only $10! 376 pages. Color.

Supertopo Bigwalls - $30
Only 64 routes (mostly on El Cap) and the same price tag as Erik's book makes the Supertopo less of a bargain. It does have route history, and some sections on logistics - where to bivy, how to retreat, storm conditions, ect... Might be worth picking up in addition to the Complete Guide if you plan on doing a lot of El Cap routes. 208 Pages. Color.

Rock Climbing Yosemite Valley (Erik Sloan) - $40
The latest guidebook for Yosemite free climbing (and the first one to be released in almost 15 years!). It's a bit of a disappointment that so much of the book is just copied and pasted from Erik's big wall book, but it's still the best option currently in print. Comes with a handy smartphone app so you don't have to lugg this massive book around to the crags. 432 pages. Color.

Supertopo Free Climbs - $30
Old, out of date, and has less than 1/3rd of the routes in Erik's Free Climbs book yet costs only $10 less. This used to be the only in-store option after Falcon stopped printing the Don Reid book, but now it's not worth it. 209 pages. B&W.

Other Misc Books



Falcon Guide Free Climbs - $25
aka the "Reid guide". Still the best and most comprehensive free climbs guidebook to the Valley, and the guidebook of choice for locals. Route information is often vague and somewhat suspect (beware the "pro to 3"), but with more than 10 times as many routes as Supertopo's, this guidebook is what you need to escape the crowds. This has been out of print for a while and prices of used copies online vary from reasonable to outrageous. 432 Pages. B&W.

Supertopo Bouldering - $28
Many people overlook the bouldering in the Valley, but it's truly world-class. This is the best (and only "in print") guidebook for the Valley's bouldering. Worth picking up. 160 pages. Color.


Supertopo Sport Climbs and Topropes - $20
A slim and overpriced book with a lot of it's material copy & pasted from "Supertopo Free Climbs". Not worth the $20, either buy nothing and rely on MP, or spend the $40 to get Erik's free climbs book which has everything in here and much more. 120 Pages. Color.


Falcon Guide Free Climbs Select - $15
The trimmed down version of the Reid Guide. Sometimes it's easier to find cheap copies of this one online, but if you want a " Select" guide just get the Supertopo or Erik's book. The whole point of tracking down a copy of the Reid Guide is that it has MORE routes, not less. Notably this is still the only guidebook to feature the Blowhole sport crag outside Wawona tunnel. 144 Pages. B&W.

Yosemite Climbs: Big Walls - Don Reid
The 3rd edition of this book has been out of print forever. This book covers way more routes than the Supertopo Big Walls but less than Erik's Bigwalls book. Still has some routes you can't find anywhere else, so it might be worth tracking down a copy. 216 Pages. B&W.

A Climber's Guide to Yosemite Valley - Steve Roper
A copy of this historic guidebook will most likely cost you a pretty penny but it details loads of older routes that can't be found in anywhere else. Many 4th and easy 5th class climbs and adventures to seldom visited pinnacles and formations, as well as obscure aid climbs can be found within these pages. Roper's written route descriptions often surpass, in detail and accuracy, the topos for those routes found in the Reid guide, but the (piton) rack beta is a bit dated. The one with the green cover is the most recent edition. 304 Pages. B&W.

A Climber's Guide to Yosemite - Richard Leonard & David Brower (1940)
From the Sierra Club Bulletin, basically the Valley's first guidebook. Click the link to view a scanned copy of it. May 11, 2011

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