7 Reasons to Love Yosemite

Yosemite is the Mecca of rock climbing. Every climber knows about El Cap, Half Dome and Midnight Lightning. To visit Yosemite as a climber is to pay homage to the roots of modern bouldering and traditional climbing. You can’t help but feel a humble respect for the history of climbing when surrounded by the iconic granite walls and boulders of Yosemite Valley. I am always struck with awe when I consider that The Northwest face of Half Dome was done by Royal Robbins, Mike Sherrick, and Jerry Gallwas in 1957! The Nose on El Cap was first climbed in by Warren Harding, Wayne Merry and George Whitmore in 1958. Ron Kauk did the first ascent of Midnight Lightning (V8) in 1978, before bouldering was accepted as actual climbing. He did Thriller (V10) in 1984 before most of today’s strongest climbers were even born!

Ron Kauk sending Midnight Lightning in 1978. Photo: Ron Kauk Collection

In terms of bouldering it seems to be widely known that Yosemite is a world class climbing destination with high quality rock, a multitude of classic test-pieces and an almost endless potential for development. It also seems, paradoxically, like it’s not even on the radar for most people. I’m not sure why that is. Yosemite gets some press every once and a while when Alex Honnold decides to solo something, or when Hans Florine sets a speed record. It’s getting a little more attention now with the Reel Rock tour and Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell freeing Mescalito. The bouldering in the Valley, however, has gotten very little press. It was featured in Big Up’s Dosage V but that is pretty much the extent of it.

You always hear about pro climbers making big trips to Hueco, Magic Wood, Rocklands, Fontainbleau, Bishop, and RMNP but you never hear about anyone wanting to make a big trip to Yosemite. Yet it’s one of the best climbing areas in the world and the climbing is excellent. Are people intimidated by the stiff grades of Camp 4 bouldering? Are they just unaware of the amount of 4 and 5 star lines of every grade there are? Are they uninterested because there is only one V13 and no V14’s or V15’s (even though the potential exists here )? I’m not sure what anybody’s reasons are but in this I wanted to list 7 reasons why I love Yosemite.

Here they are:

1. Amazing technical granite.

A Yosemite edge.

2. Amazing scenery. 

El Cap.

3. Singular lines up beautiful rock. 

Drive On (V11).

4. Test-pieces of all grades. 

Scott Cosgrove on "Blue Suede Shoes" V5 in 1984. Photo ?

Bruno Ferreira on the classic highball The Force (V9/10).

5. Highballs!!!

Thriller (V10). Photo Susanica Tam

6. Climbing history! 

Billy Westbay, Jim Bridwell, and John Long after the first one-day ascent of the Nose in 1975.

7. And yes, the trad climbing!

Starting up the Crux pitch of Serenity Crack (5.10d).


I have somehow managed to find a way to convince the rest of LT11 that the Valley is worth a trip. I am excited to announce that the ENTIRE LT11 crew will be in Yosemite from November 18th until the 28th. I can’t even begin to relate my excitement! It’s going to be so fun to see my friends experience Yosemite for the first time and I can’t wait!

More to come…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s