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No climbing lifestyle is complete without a pilgrimage to Yosemite! The first time I ever visited Yosemite, I entered through Tioga Pass. The abrupt change from High Sierra escarpments to the grand, round domes of Tuolumne filled my view shortly after. After climbing the iconic Cathedral Peak and linking it with the striking Mathis Crest, I didn’t think it could get any more surreal. After a couple of days of cragging, I dropped into the valley where the majesty of Yosemite National Park comes to life. Towering 3,000 feet above, the faces of El Capitan (El Cap) and the Cathedrals filled my imagination with the seemingly impossible task of standing on their summits. It’s probably the most historically significant rock climbing place out there, but it’s also one of the best places to rock climb in the world. Also, hiking trails in Yosemite are some of our favorite in the country.

For climbers, Yosemite has it all

In the realm of traditional climbing, Yosemite provides ample opportunities for adventure at all scales. Grades are a mixture of sandbagged to modern, with older, historical feature routes such as the Steck-Salathe (hard 5.10b squeeze). Then, there are the grand cracks on routes like Astroman (5.11c), which will have you grunting to earn the send. Over at Manure-Pile Buttress, popular routes like Nutcracker offer a more moderate introduction to climbing in the valley. All of this is done on high-quality granite like the one you encounter on Front Range climbing trips.

Not ready to tackle El Cap just yet?

Warm up your big wall skills on formations like the Leaning Tower or the South Face of Washington Column. Free climbing on a big wall? Try your hand at the Regular NW Face on Half Dome or the now iconic Free Rider (thanks, Honnold). Up in the high country, Tuolumne Meadows can offer short single pitch areas such as Murphy Creek, runout slab scare fests on just about any of the domes, classic test pieces such as the Bachar-Yerian (5.11c X), and moderate, fun link-ups of classic formations such as Tenaya Dome, Mathis Crest and Cathedral Peak. There’s even alpine objectives on Mt. Conness!

About the author
In Memory: AMGA Certified Rock Guide and 57hours Ambassador

On September 1, 2022, we learned of the passing of Cody Bradford, a friend, an inspiration, an educator and community member. During his time as a guide, he made an indelible impact on the industry and those around him, with an unceasing smile and positivity and the way he welcomed others into the outdoors through teaching (#TechTipTuesday), humor and compassion. We first met Cody five years ago and it was his love for people, enthusiasm for guiding, and determination to become a fully certified mountain guide that impressed us and motivated us to build this company. Cody began his guiding career with the North Carolina Outward Bound School in 2012 and rapidly tackled challenge after challenge to gain his AMGA Rock Guide Certification in April 2018. We were lucky to have worked with Cody and he will forever be a part of the soul of 57hours. He will be deeply missed and remembered by the 57hours team.

In memory of Cody Bradford

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