Mountain Project Logo

Climbing Conditions in May (NorCal)


Original Post
Tim Opsahl · · SF, CA · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

Hey all - I was curious about the best climbing in May? Multipitch/singlepitch

I'm looking to take a 4-7 day trip from SF, but not sure how wet it'll be up north, and how hot it'll be down south?

I accidentally posted this in the partners formum, where Tahquitz/Suicide Rocks + Yosemite was recommended (thanks!!). How predictably nice is Tuolumne around then? I'm guessing Tahoe will be wet?

Much appreciated!
Tim

phylp · · Upland · Joined May 2015 · Points: 521

Smith Rock, Or.
This year you may want High desert climbing in May.

Or head around the southern route to Bishop.
It's always an uncertainty if 120 will open for Memorial Day. I'm fairly certain it won't open by then this year.

Or the Valley, or course.

Muscrat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 3,610

Valley i suspect will be warm, and crowded. Was there this week, the south rim is still covered.
Pine Creek. Still snowed in but i hope/guess clear by May. Lots of options to get there.
Smith; warm/hot.
Whitney portal. Check to see if the road is open (rockfall).
Castle Crags; just south of Mt. Shasta. Great place to get a crag to one's self.
As with all destinations this year, there is a sh*t ton of snow. As in 20+ feet in places. Squaw Valley announced they will be open for skiing through July 4th. And they are only 10k'!
Been to tollhouse? Do you like sandbagged, runout slab?

King Tut · · Citrus Heights · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 420

Tuolumne will not be open in May.

Traditionally the Tioga Pass road does not open until Memorial Day weekend in a normal snowfall year.

This year has been 200% of normal snow.

In the heaviest years it doesn't open til as late as Fourth of July. Stay tuned.

Better in May will be Lover's Leap, Donner Pass or the Valley.

mpech · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 6

To start off, its Norcal. If you say "NoCa" no one knows what you're talking about. I clicked on this thinking you were wondering about North Carolina climbing.

As others have said, we had a record snow year-- tuolemne won't be accessible, and other areas may not be ready in june.

I would recommend being flexible, and waiting till a week or so before the trip to finalize your trip. The optimal choice could be as varied as Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Smith Rocks, East Side, etc...

Tim Opsahl · · SF, CA · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

Thanks so much all, really appreciate the feedback! Looks like we'll be flexible per usual, but great to see the options. I'll keep them in my notebook for the years to come.

Smith rock has come up a bit which I hadn't thought of, might be a fun option - it's not too hot then?

Thanks for some ideas I hadn't even heard of Muscrat, will check out. Sandbagged runout slab doesn't get me too excited, but I suppose I need the practice ;)

Tut, you mentioned Lover's Leap - you don't think that area will be pretty wet?

Would any others agree Tahquitz/Suicide Rocks is a good May option?

Grammar mistake noted mpech - updated to avoid confusion and make it sound less like a trendy gentrifying neighborhood.

King Tut · · Citrus Heights · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 420
Tim Opsahl wrote: --Tut, you mentioned Lover's Leap - you don't think that area will be pretty wet?
It should be in prime condition at 5500-6500 feet elevation or so. Perhaps snow at the base of Corrugation Corner (ie Main Wall) where it piles up but other than that the routes will be dry.
Brandon R · · Sacramento, CA · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 60

It won't be too hot at Tahquitz/Suicide in May, and if bad weather rolls in, Jtree is only a 90 min drive away. Both are very destination worthy places too, unlike a few others I've heard mentioned here. That said, you're looking at an ~8 hour drive from SF, and Yosemite Valley is much closer and will likely be in great condition then too. Tuolumne Meadows will almost certainly be out. Lover's Leap will be a little iffy this year.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply

Log In to Reply