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Climbing in Yosemite Next Weekend???

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Will Maness · · Ashland, OR · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 50

With next weekend holding both my birthday and MLK day, my partner and I are scheming a trip somewhere away from the gloom of southern Oregon.  We've even been considering the ridiculous haul down to Joshua Tree - and we're still keeping that in our back pocket.  However, I looked at the forecast this morning...and it seems the Valley might be doable??

I know it's supposed to snow between now and then, and I don't know how much ice there is on the walls and if cracks are seeping, etc...

It's probably just a fool's dream...but I thought I'd see what everyone else thinks!  Anyone else plotting a potential trip to Yosemite next weekend?  Or am I totally out to lunch?

Is there anywhere else between here and Joshua Tree (with the exception of Bishop, we're not too keen) that will be doable next weekend?

Cheers!

Christopher Smaling · · Sonora, CA · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 15

Valley weather this time of year is fickle, but Yosemite is really climbable year round.  Yosemite Valley (including the Lower Merced Canyon) is large enough that there's a pretty powerful inversion effect.  You can wake up shivering at the base of the valley in sub-freezing conditions, and as soon as you get ~200 ft off the valley floor and in the sun it'll be 20 degrees warmer.  I was at Reeds last week in a Tshirt.  The catch is wetness - cracks will seep for a while.  If you get skunked, Table mountain and the Columbia boulders in Sonora are 1.5 hrs from the valley and 2000 ft lower (warmer and dryer).

Reeds Pinnacle, Parkline Slab, Cookie, etc. would be your best options.

Mike Arechiga · · Oakhurst · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 4,850

Only climb in the Valley in the winter time, as long as your in the sun great climbing temps! was climbing Friday in t-shirt and shorts at the park, the weather this week looks cold with the highs in the high 30's may snow Thursday but so far next weekend looks good highs in the high 40's in the Lower Merced Canyon so areas like Five&Dime cliff will be perfect climbing temps! but 7 day forecast is subjected to change! This last week in the Valley super mellow and saw no other climbers at all the cliffs I was climbing at, love the park in the winter :-) good luck happy climbing Mike A.

Nick C · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2017 · Points: 225

I would say go for it. I'm in the valley now and the weather down canyon has been perfect. It also doesn't look like a storm, just a little snow. Most of the sunny cracks will probably be dry

Karl Walters · · Oakland, CA · Joined May 2017 · Points: 20

10 inches of snow forecasted for Thursday with a winter storm warning from NOAA so don't pick anything that might have some drip.

Brendan Downing · · San Jose, CA · Joined May 2018 · Points: 0

I will be there after the storm. Down canyon is great; I was just there for a few days.

kevin deweese · · Oakland, Ca · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 611

I'll be there with my partners working the weekend warrior wall grind from Sat through monday, so no, you're not totally out to lunch at all. Weekend before last was plenty warm in the sun but the temps did drop considerably and immediately upon losing sunlight or even a cloud passing in front of the sun. Layer up and bring a lightweight pack to store the layers in when your climbing because there's a chance it could get brutal at the belays.

Parkline has awesome routes and will generally be the warmest  and you can scope the seepage from the road.  (P-Line Express and Stonequest are my favs that I return to time and time again though if you do P-Line skip the mungey opening pitches by climbing in via homeworld from the left)

Reeds will be good, as will all the rest of the down canyon crags.

Or screw it, deal with the cold and have a go at one of the rarest of all Yosemite sights, The Grack without crowds. (j/k it'll have crowds)

splitclimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 18

Put tollhouse on your radar in case the Thursday storm is more potent in the valley than expected.  snow levels will be really low.

Tollhouse is lower elevation and farther south.  

Will Maness · · Ashland, OR · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 50

Thanks for all the great suggestions, guys!  I'll just keep my fingers crossed for limited precipitation and play it by ear.  I've been dying to get back to Yosemite since my first trip back in April, but two days in Joshua Tree isn't a terrible consolation prize!

Any further input is greatly appreciated!  As a climber from the South, I'm always happy to learn more about the intricacies of rock conditions out here on the west coast!

Cheers!

Nick C · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2017 · Points: 225

I think the sign today said chains required for highways 120 and 41. 140 is usually better conditions but you might need chains depending on the amount of snow 

Erik Sloan · · El Portal, CA · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 154

While I love the optimism on this thread, and no one is more well known for being optimistic about all things Valley than me, haha, I think the tone overall has done W Maness a disservice.....now only one day out there is still over a foot of snow forecast in the Yosemite area through Thursday night, with snow levels down to Parkline Slab ish level (3,000 feet). There is very little chance that there will be much climbable rock in Yosemite this weekend if it is cold on Friday and no melting occurs, which looks likely.....Yosemite is not an area known for face climbs....sure Parkline actually has quite a few face climbs that dry out amazingly fast after a storm, and there are a couple bolted routes on Five and Dime that dry really quick, but to suggest coming all the way to Yosemite just to climb at those two crags, possibly walking through snow to get to them (if you do come the camping down along the river on the Hwy 140 is awesome this time of year), seems like a stretch.....love the optimism though guys - I renew my rose-colored glasses prescription early every year..obviously I need to bust out my 2020 pair! Woot Woot! E
erik sloan
Yosemitebigwall.com
RockclimbYosemite.com

Christian Hesch · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2017 · Points: 12
Nick C wrote: I think the sign today said chains required for highways 120 and 41. 140 is usually better conditions but you might need chains depending on the amount of snow 

To piggyback this, I can't believe I used to put chains on and stay w/ 41 (most direct from my house). If you're coming from the N (or S, doesn't matter!), DON'T bother w/ 120, drive the "extra" 20min to the 140 and skip the whole chain scenario, it always ends up saving me time and hassle. I still have to carry em, just in case, but sure is nice not to have to install them or deal w/ the annoying drive at 20mph...."whap-whap-whap-whap-whap....."

Will Maness · · Ashland, OR · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 50
Erik Sloan wrote: While I love the optimism on this thread, and no one is more well known for being optimistic about all things Valley than me, haha, I think the tone overall has done W Maness a disservice.....now only one day out there is still over a foot of snow forecast in the Yosemite area through Thursday night, with snow levels down to Parkline Slab ish level (3,000 feet). There is very little chance that there will be much climbable rock in Yosemite this weekend if it is cold on Friday and no melting occurs, which looks likely.....Yosemite is not an area known for face climbs....sure Parkline actually has quite a few face climbs that dry out amazingly fast after a storm, and there are a couple bolted routes on Five and Dime that dry really quick, but to suggest coming all the way to Yosemite just to climb at those two crags, possibly walking through snow to get to them (if you do come the camping down along the river on the Hwy 140 is awesome this time of year), seems like a stretch.....love the optimism though guys - I renew my rose-colored glasses prescription early every year..obviously I need to bust out my 2020 pair! Woot Woot! E
erik sloan
Yosemitebigwall.com
RockclimbYosemite.com

I appreciate your input, Erik!  And thanks for all the work you do with the guidebooks, etc!  Could you tell me more about the camping along 140?  My first time in the Valley was a bit spoiled by the whole camping situation.  

JSH · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2007 · Points: 1,072

Piggybacking -- what are some Valley moderate cragging areas that are relatively drier in winter?  What are areas to definitely avoid?

Christopher Smaling · · Sonora, CA · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 15
JSH wrote: Piggybacking -- what are some Valley moderate cragging areas that are relatively drier in winter?  What are areas to definitely avoid?

Very generally, if it’s not in the sun and at least 100 ft off the valley floor it’s gonna be cold, and possibly wet.  Like I said, there’s a strong inversion effect that makes things warmer the higher you get off the valley floor (to a point).  Reeds pinnacle and park line are the warmest and dry the fastest. Washington Column can be really nice if it isn’t windy.

Karl Walters · · Oakland, CA · Joined May 2017 · Points: 20

I highly recommend finding a BLM map of the  area. Loads of spots with public camping.

revans90 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 50

Outer limits drys quick. Indian flat campground
Jam crack.
Edit: be carful on the 140 in the morning it can be icy before the sun warms the canyon up.

Erik Sloan · · El Portal, CA · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 154

Well I might be eating my words....if you loop this radar image (at the top a blue link says Loop Image, i believe it's an 8 hr loop), it looks like most of the weather is passing to the north, hard to say for sure though.

https://radar.weather.gov/Conus/full_loop.php

Yeah Indian Flat campground, Red Bud, lower down Briceberg is the sweeter spot, and it's away from the 140 traffic (but 20 minutes below El Portal - totally worth it to camp right by the river with no cars driving by, imo).

Lol, 50 and sunny in the Valley right now, haha, but usually gets warm before the storm.

Will Maness · · Ashland, OR · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 50

Thanks for the update, Erik!  Keeping my fingers crossed!

Erik Sloan · · El Portal, CA · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 154

Oh shoot that must have been a 2 hr loop, not 8 hr...coming right at us now, haha.....at least you're not on the Dawn Wall right now like those poor fellas!

Will Maness · · Ashland, OR · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 50

Oof.  Been watching the webcams and the radar all day.  Y'all definitely got some snow.  Current conditions report from anyone?  Should stuff be climbable by Saturday?

My biggest concern now is getting out of Oregon, haha.  We got dumped on here.  

Lower Merced likely good to go by Saturday?

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Northern California
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