trad noob in Yosemite


Original Post
jacob m s · Jun 18, 2016 · Provo, Utah · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 100
So I am heading out to California for a week and I'll be visiting Yosemite for the first time, I have one maybe two days. I was really just planning on hiking and just seeing the valley. But at the same time it seems pretty sacrilegious to go to Yosemite and not climb, problem is me and my friend only have the humble starts of a rack. 3 cams, 4 tricams, and a set of nuts. There are some easy looking climbs in tuolumne meadows that i thought might not be too bad. But is it worth the time and gear, will the gear be sufficient for the long pitches? Or should I just play tourist this time. Also would it be worth it to bring my crash pad, or just leave that home. Any advice for a first trip to Yosemite would be great too? Best hikes, photography spots, campsites? We are just getting the plan together and will be in the park july 2nd and maybe the 3rd.

Thank you in advance

Ted Pinson · Jun 18, 2016 · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 40
Your best bet would be to hire or meet up with somebody who knows what they are doing. Yosemite is a pretty serious place.

Rob Dillon · Jun 18, 2016 · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2002 · Points: 645
mountainproject.com/v/puppy...

Run around in TM and have fun. Consider approach shoes. Don't do dumb stuff, and you'll have a great time.

Marc801 C · Jun 18, 2016 · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 0
jacob m s wrote:So I am heading out to California for a week and I'll be visiting Yosemite for the first time, I have one maybe two days. I was really just planning on hiking and just seeing the valley. But at the same time it seems pretty sacrilegious to go to Yosemite and not climb, problem is me and my friend only have the humble starts of a rack. 3 cams, 4 tricams, and a set of nuts. There are some easy looking climbs in tuolumne meadows that i thought might not be too bad. But is it worth the time and gear, will the gear be sufficient for the long pitches? Or should I just play tourist this time. Also would it be worth it to bring my crash pad, or just leave that home. Any advice for a first trip to Yosemite would be great too? Best hikes, photography spots, campsites? We are just getting the plan together and will be in the park july 2nd and maybe the 3rd. Thank you in advance
That's a lot of questions...so just a few quick hits:

Your rack: insufficient for a awful lot of routes, esp in the Valley, but the Meadows as well, especially since you're calling yourself a "trad noob" - yet perfectly adequate for many routes. No, you can't tell by the route grade if what you have is enough. For example, not enough for Nutcracker (5.9) in the Valley but the Dike Route (5.8+) up in the Meadows can be done with about 9 quick draws and a few slings and maybe a nut or two on the last pitch, but, and it's a big one, you'll be doing the crux 5.8+ knobs 25' out from the last bolts. The pitch before that is 5.7 friction - it has 3 bolts (maybe it was only 2?) in 55m of climbing. *Many* of the Meadows routes are somewhat to very to extremely run-out, especially the routes that went in 30-40 years ago. Bachar's Edging Skills or Hospital Bills (10b) has zero protection. Same for a lot of the Glacier Point Apron routes in the Valley. The first bolt on Misty Beethoven (10c) is 40' up on 5.9 friction.
In short, KNOW what you're getting yourself into.

Camping: search the threads here for Yosemite camping for info and options. You're about 10 months too late for getting campsite reservations in the Valley.

Weather: July and August are the ugliest months to be in the Valley - baking hot and super crowded. July in the Meadows is pleasant but the worst time of the year for mosquitoes - esp. after this snow year. Be prepared.

Crash pad: are you flying? If so, see the active thread on best crash pad to fly with. (Hint: none if it involves oversize baggage fees).

George Wu · Jun 18, 2016 · Newport Beach, CA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 67
As a noob who climbed Cathedral and Tenaya last summer, I mostly agree with Marc's advice. Your experience is a little light, and your rack's a little bare for the intense stuff. But I think you can still have fun climbing, and stay safe. Look for shorter, moderate climbs in the guide section of this site, or get a guidebook. Maybe consider hiring a guide from Yosemite Mountaineering School. I think they have an exclusive on guiding in the park. I hope they're re-building the climbing shop in Tuolumne this summer - it was in the gas station last year, but I saw them tearing it down in October. If you find you do need more gear, that would be the closest place.

Every person's comfort level is different, but I enjoyed Tenaya Peak. Very moderate. The first pitches don't really need protection, and even near the summit, I don't think I ever had more than 4 pieces in. The park is huge, and people have been climbing there for at least half a century. There's plenty of moderate beginner terrain, just do your research.

Marc801 wrote:Camping: search the threads here for Yosemite camping for info and options. You're about 10 months too late for getting campsite reservations in the Valley.
I had good luck snagging a walk-in site at Tuolumne Meadows Campground mid-week. There's a penalty for no shows, so there's a flurry of cancellations everyday. Tougher on weekends, to be sure. There are also USFS campgrounds outside the park (generally an hour or more drive away), and I've heard chatter about dirtbagger bivvies.

Don't be reckless, and you'll have a blast.

mark felber · Jun 19, 2016 · Wheat Ridge, CO · Joined Jul 2005 · Points: 28
If you and your friend can afford it, split the cost of hiring a guide for the day. Tell the guide what you want and what your capabilities are, and see what they come up with. And yes, Yosemite Mountaineering School is the sole authorized guide service in Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite Valley is way too hot and crowded in June/July/August, head for Tuolumne Meadows. A certain percentage of campsites are first come, first served, be at the camping office in the Meadows early (like 6 AM) and you have a decent chance of getting a site. Otherwise there are campgrounds just outside the Tioga Pass entrance, and motels in Lee Vining. There's also Tioga Pass Resort just outside the park.

splitclimber · Jun 20, 2016 · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 5
do you have quick draws?

what grades are you looking to climb?

Willing to top rope?

There are plenty of climbs in TM that you could get on with just draws and/or a few cams. Lots to top rope too.

King Tut · Jun 20, 2016 · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 130
Hire a guide or go bouldering...this might not end well otherwise.

In TM there are some short sport climbs out at the East Cottage Domes for a 5.10 leader...but the other 5.7 routes in the Park can sometimes have full pitch runouts on low angle slab and still require friction technique and route finding skills.

Its a great place for beginners who have a rope gun leader to show them around first.

jacob m s · Jun 20, 2016 · Provo, Utah · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 100
Thank you for the information, on friction slabs and crack climbs i'm pretty comfortable up to 5.8, and I do have 17 draws. But my partner is probably more like 5.6 so pretty limited. But if I end up climbing it sounds like TM is going to be the place to be.

Mike Mellenthin · Jun 20, 2016 · San Francisco, CA · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 0
Look at Shagadellic on Medilcott or Zee Tree Pywiack. Both are a few pitches, well protected (by TM standards) on the 5.7/8 parts, and mostly bolts so probably doable with your rack. (Edit: oops, except for the last pitch on Zee Tree)

If you don't mind running it way way out on 5.7, Magical Mystery Tour on Fairview is super fun and requires like no gear.

If you don't mind just TRing (probably the best given the runout nature of most easy bolted climbing in TM) you can walk to most if not all the anchors at Murphy Creek.

Jeff Scheuerell · Jun 20, 2016 · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 1,290
The best time you will have would be to hire a guide and do Cathedral Peak but not on a weekend.

splitclimber · Jun 20, 2016 · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 5
darkside dome, left side of dozier, wind tunnel for all or mostly bolted leads, pothole dome, puppy dome and western front for top ropes. lots more if you have 2 ropes for long raps.

Marc801 C · Jun 20, 2016 · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 0
splitclimber wrote:lots more if you have 2 ropes for long raps.
Oh! Great point... a lot of routes in both the Valley and the Meadows absolutely require two ropes for descent if there isn't a walk-off. Many pitches are right around 50m in length 'cause that's where the predominant ropes of the time ended. You're not getting down from those with a single 60m or 70m. Again, know what you're getting in to.

aran · Jun 24, 2016 · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 0
Since it's your first visit and not sure about what to commit to, why not take in some single pitch/top rope opportunities and bouldering? Would be a great way to get to know the rock and have some fun.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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