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Elevation: 4,641 ft 1,415 m
GPS: 36.7893, -118.67289
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Shared By: Chelsea on Nov 30, 2009
Admins: Mike Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer Ski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes
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Warning Access Issue: Kings Canyon National Park Regulations and Fees DetailsDrop down

Description Suggest change

“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 Sierra. 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 Sierra was seen through the eyes and bias of western civilization that the valleys developed distinct personalities. Yosemite with her glamour 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 glamour of the Yosemite sister, there may be some climbers that see more beauty and allure in the unnamed formations, unclimbed cracks, untapped faces, and undiscovered 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 or 530 320 4724.

“Those who can should visit the valley at once, while it remains in primeval order.” John Muir. .

Getting There Suggest change

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.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Kings Canyon

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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