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.
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.
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!