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1st time visitor to "The Valley".
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Nov 11, 2012
I'm taking my first trip to Yosemite this May. I'm wondering what peoples first impressions were of this area? I'm also wondering if there is a good guide book available? I'm not planning on any big walls, just some good single and multi-pitch routes, not looking to bivy. Any advice or awesome stories about your first time.
mike olsen
From Clarksville, TN
Joined Apr 21, 2009
0 points
Nov 11, 2012
This is what you want then, worth every dime.

Also prepare to be humbled unless you are a crack master and can find the invisible little edges on glaciated granite :D. Having grown up in CA though I love that :P
NorCalNomad Blank
From San Francisco
Joined Oct 6, 2011
55 points
Nov 11, 2012
Great thanks for the guide book advice. mike olsen
From Clarksville, TN
Joined Apr 21, 2009
0 points
Nov 11, 2012
My first climbing trip to the valley and first day my very experienced partner took me to the Cookie and I got my ass kicked. I realized quick I needed better crack technique. A friend at the time gave me this and it helped.

Each year after that I would go to the valley for a month or so and always went to the Cookie and Arch rock as a welcome back/warm up.
Keith Robinson
Joined Aug 2, 2008
0 points
Nov 11, 2012
The scenery is the best. The camping and tourist scene is the worst. The lines are aesthetic and the rock is very high quality. I personally did not like the climbing style either time I've been there, but I am a face hold seeking wuss. If you like pure crack-and-slab granite you will like it. Ben Sachs
Joined Oct 11, 2008
675 points
Nov 11, 2012
First thought coming into the valley .. WOW.. so much rock.

You can have a blast at any level of climber in this Valley. The easier moderates are very popular of course and will be crowded at times. You can find lists of all the usual suspects easily enough.

I recommend getting a climb in at all the different formations you have time for. Try a different place every day.


some stuff between Bishops terrace to royal arches.

Open books and the lower falls trail

Middle cathedral


Base of El Cap

Manure pile

GP Apron

part of a day a Swan Slab

Take a day (at least) up in Tuolumne around Tenaya Lake if the pass is open.

Don't get stuck at any one .. do as many as you have time for.
Derek Roland
Joined Oct 24, 2012
0 points
Nov 11, 2012
Thanks for those who have posted. I love .9-1.10c cracks. Love Indian Creek and Chattanooga splitters, would like more crag suggestions. mike olsen
From Clarksville, TN
Joined Apr 21, 2009
0 points
Nov 12, 2012
My first impressions were pretty much variations on this theme:


I spent a lot of time trying to climb the biggest things I get get up, but perhaps at the expense of neglecting the excellent shorter stuff- which is what actually made me a better climber.

Pretty much any time you aren't climbing and you go for a curiosity hike, you will have a great day.

The bivy is the crux.
Rob Dillon
Joined Mar 22, 2002
640 points
Nov 12, 2012
The Reid guidebook is much more comprehensive and will get you on routes that don't have trains runnin' up 'em.
I recommend it plus all the stuff here on MP.
From California
Joined Aug 23, 2009
65 points
Nov 12, 2012
Bring a bicycle for the valley floor if you're going to spend a bunch of time in the spring/early summer. If you're still there in the summer, be willing/able to drive to Tuolumne. Marc H
From Denver
Joined May 10, 2007
20 points
Nov 12, 2012
Wish I could bring a bike, can't carry that on the plane... mike olsen
From Clarksville, TN
Joined Apr 21, 2009
0 points
Nov 12, 2012
My first visit to the Valley I rolled into El Cap meadows and it terrified me so much I didn't go down to that end of the valley for a few days.

I personally think jamming cracks in the valley is unlike anything I've experienced elsewhere. It may be that the routes are frequently sandbagged, but I think it's also that there are often subtle flares that require exacting technique, with few features on the face for one's feet. There are plenty of locking finger/hand moves, but equally many places where it feels like the crack is trying to spit you out, where endurance matters less than technique. I hooked up with a guy who had more experience than me in the valley when I first got there. While he didn't let me get away with s*** when it was my lead on multi-pitch stuff (even though he could have easily dispatched any pitch I had difficulty with), he did take me up some single pitch stuff that was over my head, which helped me with my technique.
Jason Holliday
From Blacksburg, VA
Joined May 15, 2010
0 points
Nov 12, 2012
There's a lot of good single and short-multipitch crack climbs in the 5.9-10c range down canyon. Do you like offwidths and are you bringing some big cams? If so there's lots of classic splitters that you won't have to wait in line for. The finger to hand cracks tend to be more crowded.

Here's a few areas that have loads of excellent cracks in that grade range (along with a few routes you should definitely do at each area):

4 - Arch Rock
Supplication - 5.10c (but easy for a Valley 10c) - thin hands and liebacking up a beautiful corner
English Breakfast Crack - 5.10c - chimney, hands, and crux fingers at the end
Midterm - 5.10b - polished fingers to start, then hands, OW, and flared chimney
Gripper - 5.10b - two pitches featuring every size of crack, the crux is pulling over a roof on thin hands

10 - The Cookie Cliff
Outer Limits - 5.10c - hands and wide hands up a flake
Meat Grinder - 5.10c - awesome corner, first pitch is 5.9 hands and fists, second is 10c stemming, liebacking and jamming
Beverly's Tower - 5.10a - another nice corner with fingers, hands and stemming
Waverly Wafer - 5.10c - offwidth pod followed by thin hands
Wheat Thin - 5.10c - classic lieback flake protected by bolts, climb Bev's Tower or Waverly to approach it
Vendetta - 5.10b - a neglected classic, fists, offwidth and a roof

21 - Reed's Pinnacle Area
Chingando - 5.10a - offwidth, can be toproped
Reed's Direct - 5.9 - beautiful hand crack with an offwidth crux at top of pitch 2, finish on the reg route for pitches 3 and 4
Lunatic Fringe - 5.10c - fingers and hands
Stone Groove - 5.10b - leaning thin hands

El Capitan Base Routes
Salathe Wall - 5.10c - first pitch is stellar double-cracks, keep climbing up the fist crack to the higher anchor under the roof
Moby Dick Center - 5.10a - cruxy fingers to start then fists/offwidth up higher
Sacher Cracker - 5.10a - thin hands widen to offwidth, you can finish on Slack Center by climbing two more pitches of 5.7 chimney
Peter Pan - 5.9 - offwidth to chimney
West Buttress - 5.10a - the second pitch is an amazing handjam flake
Bryan G
From Yosemite
Joined Nov 17, 2007
4,863 points

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