Escalar en Yosemite


Climb in Yosemite

The guild of climbers -by experience and reputation- knows this very well... climbing in Yosemite is amazing! This location is considered a mecca for the best rock climbers from around the world, and it is an admirable challenge for many to decide to include the walls of this Californian national park in their repertoire. And no wonder!

Those who practice this adventure sport already identify Yosemite as a mandatory stop. However, there is no doubt that immense courage is required, and an optimal physical condition and mental preparation to perform this sport in a condition as vertical as the one you get on many of the walls of this valley.

If you are a true lover of heights and rock climbing is your thing, nothing will fill you with more pride than testing your momentum and skills like the walls in Yosemite National Park.

Even if you are just going sightseeing or in a beginner phase to see the terrain or lose any fear a bit, visiting this amazing location will be an amazing experience that will take your breath away in the best of ways.

Thinking of taking on the challenge on your next adventure trip? Start the journey right here, and learn more about the Yosemite climbing experience!

Escalar en Yosemite


Yosemite is famous for its precipitous waterfalls and great granite rock slopes. It is a location with more than 3,029 square km and an elevation ranging from 600 to 4,000 meters and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1984. Normally it attracts approximately four million visitors a year, although only a few thousand are climbers. Yosemite itself is a valley in California, USA.USA, integrated into Yosemite National Park, located in the Sierra Nevada in this same state.

Its privileged fauna and flora, as well as its panoramic views, waterfalls, waterfalls, lakes of glacial origin, granite rock formations and its iconic giant sequoias make it an impressive tourist attraction, especially for lovers of adventure and climbing big rocks (Big Wall Climbing).

Formerly, it was an area inhabited by different aboriginal tribes until the mid-19th century. Despite having been preserved and protected thanks to former United States President Abraham Lincoln in 1864, it was finally established as a National Park in 1890, thus becoming one of the top ten in the world.

Escalar en Yosemite

When we plan a visit to Yosemite, we must take into account that the national park is huge, with many conservation rules, and that it extends throughout 4 counties of the state of California. The vast majority of those who visit it are concentrated in the Yosemite Valley, about 20 square kilometers, where we find the main tourist locations, hotels, campsites, restaurants, and shops.

In addition to taking into account that it is a hot state and that the weather in the park will require suitable clothing and footwear, sunscreen, repellents and others, it must be taken into account that it attracts many tourists, so make reservations accommodation (hotels or campsites) in advance if that will be important, especially during the summer. None of this takes away from the fun of the experience, but it will never hurt to prepare well and in time so that you always enjoy yourself to the fullest.

Escalar en Yosemite


Do you already have experience with big wall climbing or Big Wall Climbing? This is a very particular and demanding type of climbing that suggests a key element: a big wall, like those you'll find in Yosemite. But do not forget that it also requires a lot of expertise in the subject, optimal physical and mental condition, and also a lot of information about the nomenclature of the surfaces and technical knowledge of the material and equipment. You must prepare very well for this type of climbing, and leave no room for improvisation.

Big wall climbing is a type of rock climbing that is performed over a multi-pitch path using ropes and hooking equipment to the surface of a rock face. Its ascent involves more than a single normal day, and the use of specialized equipment that you must take with you and install as you climb, including a specialized hammock because you will have to live and sleep hanging there during your journey.

That's right, courage must fit in that backpack you carry on your back, along with the desire for adventure and adrenaline.

To progress on the walls you must wear safety tape, a helmet, climbing shoes (cat feet), fill your chalk bag to have a better grip, use a harness attached with carabiners and quickdraws, and support your ropes in hooks, nails, and stirrups, as well as using embedders, Friends, nails and/or fissureros, depending on the case.

However, what will really define the right equipment you will need for your course (besides the most basic items) is the degree of difficulty of the wall you are going to climb or of each specific section on that wall.

Remember that you must be an expert if you plan to climb on the most difficult and challenging surfaces, and if you are not yet start at the lowest level, and climb your ticket to the top with a lot of effort, dedication and desire to master the sport .

When moving on the walls of this Valley, you must place your protection material on the wall -with temporary locks as we have commented before- in the cracks in the wall, but if you cannot do it, you insert the so-called parabolts (tool anchor) or screws.

Climbing and drilling at the same time will not be easy, and it also requires a lot of care and concentration because in the case of Yosemite the granite walls are very smooth. Consider hanging artificially and screwing into the wall and continue after finding a rest spot on the climb.

But these are circumstances that vary a lot depending on the climb, if you go alone or accompanied, the wall you choose and the style you use. With this will come decisions that you must make to safely reach the top of the wall.


Climbers in all their facets will find their place in Yosemite, from the most beginner to the most experienced. So don't worry, there's something for everyone!

You can get lessons by signing up with the Yosemite Mountaineering School and Guide Service, who offer hands-on classes for beginners, intermediates, and advanced people who haven't tried climbing in Yosemite before. There you can rent all the necessary equipment and also participate in informative seminars.

For the more advanced adventurers, there are the most advanced rocks. The large granite rock formations you find in Yosemite are truly massive walls, and normally take several days to climb. The preparation is arduous and the summit enchanting in all its peaks, but the most challenging vertical rocks to climb are El Capitan, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls and Glacier Point.

Escalar en Yosemite

The experience of climbing in Yosemite

Climbing in Yosemite is truly a vertical adventure no matter how you look at it. When you arrive at the national park you will breathe a pure air that you have never felt before. And it is that it is so well preserved and cared for that few "errors" you will find.

The place is beautiful in every way, although it is true that if it gets very crowded you may get overwhelmed finding a place to stay and so on. But the truth is that it fills up precisely because it is truly unique, both at its base and at the top.

In addition, it is an experience that you live with yourself and with other colleagues or family. Just like climbing, you can go alone, but if you go with partners it becomes a move that revolves around confidence, yourself and who climbs with you. So when you go to Yosemite, you're going to test the trust thing a lot, and if you pass that test, you'll be more than delighted.

Nature has done wonders over the years, and man, as always, has tried to conquer it. And it is that the experience of climbing in Yosemite is all about the conquest, of the rocks of course, but also the conquest of personal limits.

In Yosemite everyone finds their peak because, although there are gifted climbers who go wild, alone and with no equipment, everyone knows their limits and knows how far they want to go. Step by step the climbers are achieving it in this place, because it is also great to practice, on less difficult rocks and then increase.

The routes and tracks are dream challenges. The waterfalls, the panoramas, the sports atmosphere, everything is really enchanting. Courage is in the air, and camaraderie too. All who go there find an atmosphere of camaraderie. They all go there at the same rate, to a greater or lesser degree. There are plenty of adventurous people eager to have a good time and leave proud of themselves, for achieving their goal or for having the courage to try.

Reaching the top is like floating. You feel like you've stepped on top of the world. And besides, the pride you feel in yourself is impressive. You have tamed the “untamable”. Feeling the waterfalls up close is amazing, and also challenging. The water is such that it polishes the rocks, leaving them smooth, imagine that it is like a video game, which increases the difficulty along the way, but in real life. It is beyond exciting, you never get bored, and you just can't! Your best friend will be concentration and consistency as you place every hand, foot and material between the fissures.

Getting acclimated to the area and adapting to this type of rock will be essential. Practice the ways of adhesion, and also the way of fitting between the cracks. This rock is special. When you come into contact with it, you find out that it is not just any rock. You will have to get used to placing and removing the protective material on this type of wall. Practice makes a master. Think about what to prepare right there with short and medium long routes, before taming the biggest walls.

There are many that are great for you:

  • Short routes at the base of El Capitan
  • Nutcracker in the Eagle Creek Area
  • Ribbon Fault Area
  • Reed's Pinnacle Area
  • The Cookie Cliff
  • Arches Terrance
  • Washington Column

These are some examples, but the truth is that there are many good ones to strengthen you and prepare you according to your goals. Remember that these are some tips that you can take into consideration, but they are not a substitute for professional guidance or trained training.

Degrees of difficulty in Yosemite

The Yosemite difficulty system, and in general the one applied in the United States, is very specific compared to the rest of the European graduation systems and criteria. When you visit Yosemite, these are the ones you have to preview before starting your climb.

Developed by the Sierra Club in the 1930s, the Yosemite Decimal System (YSD) was devised for grading climbing and hiking in the Sierra Nevada, California, where Yosemite National Park is located.

For those who don't know it, this system is made up of three parts that you should consider: grade, class, and protection. The class is the most important because it directly refers to the technical difficulty.

We show you a little of the table of equivalences that are worth when you go climbing in Yosemite, with respect to the French system, which is one of the best known:

YSS: Decima Yosemite System

French System



















































The other two factors that we have mentioned are measured by their degree of exposure and their degree of commitment.

Remember that in classic climbing it is typical to have several shared graduations, but also depending on the different routes to take. For example, El Capitan in Yosemite, which we are interested in, has many routes, and each route has sections in which the difficulty changes, and becomes more or less difficult. You will see it in the specifications of each section of a rock, there are some more "easy" and another more "difficult". The important thing is to know that if you can achieve it successfully. If in the citations you see the term “obligatory” it means that this route necessarily contains a section of at least that indicated degree and you must have the skills to overcome it or you will be left halfway. So if you do not master this circumstance, then you do not meet the requirements to climb it.

A bit of history: chronology of climbing in Yosemite, divided into three eras:

1870 – 1950

Time of approach and exploration.

1950 – 1970

Time of climbing and opening of classic routes

1970 – 1990

Development and heyday of free and artificial wall climbing.

Increasingly, we have seen professional climbers raise their level of proficiency. They are no longer concerned only with exploration as in the beginning of climbing in this valley, but with taking classic wall climbing in Yosemite to the extreme, in less and less time and in more risky conditions without harness or traditional equipment.

However, traditional big wall rock climbing is still the most practiced in Yosemite Valley. If you are thinking of being one of the brave ones to climb it, the first and main recommendation is that you go very well prepared and have practiced the less difficult walls very well. Once you master the simplest ones, you will be able to venture through the most vertical and demanding walls like the ones you find in Yosemite, especially the best known and longed for: El Capitan.

Escalar en Yosemite


It doesn't take much introduction for this legendary wall. With its 914 m of prominence and a total elevation of 2.308 m, El Capitan is the great symbol of Yosemite. This impressive granite rock is one of the world's most coveted climbing meccas.

At the end of the day no matter which path you choose to climb, The Captain will blow you away, and getting to the top of him even more. Although The Nose is the most famous and most difficult of all, it has many routes to climb, including the following:

  • The Salathé Wall
  • Freerider (in The Salathé Wall)
  • The Nose
  • The Dawn Wall
  • The Dyno Pitch (at The Dawn Wall)
  • Pacific Ocean Wall
  • North American Wall
  • The Child
  • Gulf Stream
  • Native Son
  • Tangerine Trip
  • Kaos
  • Zodiac
  • Surgeon General
  • The Prophet

Remember: to really enjoy the rock climbing experience, it is essential to have solid knowledge and level 6a rock skills, as well as having done aid climbing and being in excellent physical condition.

Escalar en Yosemite


If you travel to Yosemite you have two options: stay inside the park or stay in nearby cities. As we have mentioned, the national park is huge, so it is best to stay inside it: you will save transfer time, which is 2 hours (or more if there is traffic) and you will also avoid going too far inside it since you will have to going in and out daily if you are visiting for several days.

If you decide to stay outside the park, although it is not the most ideal, you will find many accommodation options in the surroundings close to the main entrances of the park: Big Oak Flat Entrance, Arch Rock Entrance and Fish Camp and Oakhurst.

You find towns near these entrances where you can make a reservation, for example, El Portal, Midpines, and Mariposa, Buck Meadows, Groveland, Sonora. There are options of all styles, you will find something great that suits your budget well.

If you stay inside the park you have many more advantages, of course, but it is true that you should do it with time so as not to run out of space, especially if you want to live the experience of camping there, which many travelers prefer.

Within the park, the advantage is that you get many types of accommodation, from hotels of all kinds, to private cabins, apartments, and spaces for tents and recreational vehicles. It is important to know that you can find each type of accommodation in different locations throughout the park. Then you must locate on a map the exact location that suits you best according to the needs of your trip.

It has 13 campsites or campgrounds divided into three zones of the park (Yosemite Valley, the south zone of Yosemite Valley, and the north zone of Yosemite Valley) where you can pitch tents or enter with your motorhome/recreational vehicle, depending on its size. It will take you a second to look at the Yosemite National Park website where you can get more information on the subject at this link.

The Yosemite Valley area is where most tourists stay, so it will have more influx. The southern zone is rather close to the giant sequoia forest. And the northern area also has nearby points of interest more towards the entrance of Big Oak Flat.

The reservation of the places for campsites is done online on the park's website, but you must do it several months in advance. You can choose the camping area you want as long as it is enabled because not all of them are open throughout the year. And then there are also others that are not reserved, but are handled in order of arrival depending on availability, what they call “First-come, first-served”.

The canvas tent campsites (already arranged in the park) are a very cheap means of accommodation that you can opt for if your budget is a bit tight and also if you are a camping lover and you like all this type of adventures campfires and so on. Normally they have bunk beds to save space, and although some may have heating, there are many that during the winter get freezing, so you should prepare very well for them if you visit these stores during this time of year.

The parking spaces are also managed by the park and there are several areas to choose from. You will find 4 campsites specifically for this accommodation, and an additional one that functions as a shelter during the winter in Glacier Point.

You can find the two most famous in the Yosemite Valley area: Half Dome Village, which is the largest of all with a pool area and large stores, some equipped with their own bathroom; and the Housekeeping Camp. On the access road to Tioga Pass you will find the other two: the White Wolf Lodge and the Tuolumne Meadows which, although closed during the winter, also admit this type of accommodation the rest of the year.

There are also the park areas where you can find wooden houses and apartments that are very pretty and picturesque in style, as well as having all the luxuries and comforts. You find them in three areas of the park: Yosemite West, Wawona, Foresta.

And then we found beautiful hotels inside the park, but there are only three and places fill up very quickly, so booking in advance is essential. This option is more luxurious, and therefore more expensive: The Majestic Yosemite Hotel (around €500 per night), Yosemite Valley Lodge (around €250 per night) and Big Tress Lodge (around €150-200 per night).

Escalar en Yosemite

About the mythical Camp 4

Let's talk a bit about the mythical Camp 4 and why it is so famous among climbers.

It was the meeting place for the most outlaw climbers of the 60's, who didn't have a penny, but they were lovers of climbing and they didn't mind staying outdoors and camping as long as they were close to the rocks. big and challenging. In this era, Yosemite Valley becomes THE PLACE to climb, and little by little they shaped the future of the sport.

This field continues to be highly sought after and also very special within the nostalgic. But today if it is subjected to new maintenance rules, like the rest of the park, especially for its care and conservation. So the traditional atmosphere has dissipated more and more.

In addition, the space reservation system in this location has also been recently modified. The traditional system that worked by signing up on a list is no longer relevant. Right now you must register on the park page and make a payment of $10 that gives you access to the weekly raffle for a place, and with a little luck you can stay there.

Although there are legendary things that remain. The smell of firewood from the campfires and pine sap makes you fall in love as you walk through this field, listening in the distance to an atmosphere of camaraderie and laughter among colleagues. Nowadays it is not difficult to find all kinds of people, from businessmen to hippies, and also from all over the world. Walking through this field you can hear Chinese, Italian, Russian... each one in their own way, arriving from a climb or preparing to climb, between picnics, laughter, crying and even guitar or harmonica chords in the distance, a community of people gather completely different, but with a passion in common: climbing big walls.

Escalar en Yosemite

Without a doubt, the most impressive granite mecca is found between these great walls of California, regardless of whether you climb El Capitan or another wall in the park alone or with your colleagues, you will feel an almost liberating sensation of adrenaline. This place has become a benchmark for rock climbing and also a perfect place to break new records and see new climbers grow.

And it is that, regardless of his ability, every climber who travels to Yosemite arrives with the dream of completing the climbing route he longs for. For many it has become a rite of passage and for others an annual tradition. If you can make your dream of big wall climbing come true, you can make it come true in Yosemite, California. Investigating and practicing a lot will be the key to your success, but also commitment and the desire to excel.