• Rainbow over Half Dome


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  • Road Closures Due to El Portal Fire

    The Big Oak Flat Road between Crane Flat and the El Portal Road is temporarily closed. There is no access to Yosemite Valley via the Big Oak Flat Road or Highway 120. Tioga Road is open and accessible via Big Oak Flat and Tioga Pass Entrances. More »

  • Campground Closures Due to Fire

    Crane Flat, Bridalveil Creek, and Yosemite Creek Campgrounds are temporarily closed. More »

  • Yosemite National Park is Open

    Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, and Wawona/Mariposa Grove areas are open and accessible via Highways 140 and 41. Tioga Road is not accessible via Highways 140 and 41 due to a fire.

Royal Arches Climbers Need Assistance Returning to Yosemite Valley

August 20, 2013 Posted by: Yosemite Search and Rescue
Near dusk on August 13, 2013, the Yosemite Emergency Communications Center received a report of two climbers requesting assistance near the top of North Dome Gully. Park rangers made phone contact with the party, who denied injury but was nearly out of water after ascending the Royal Arches climbing route that day. The climbers were also experiencing route-finding difficulties in the gully and felt they could no longer descend. Rangers asked the two to bivouac in a safe location until the following morning, when two Valley search and rescue team members hiked to their location, provided them with water, and guided them down the descent route without incident.

Royal Arches is one of many classic rock climbs in Yosemite Valley, but it presents significant challenges that can force climbers to spend an unexpected night on top or even require rescue. Though only of moderate difficulty (5.7 A0 or 5.10b), the route rises over 1,400 feet, is often crowded, and usually requires several hours to descend. If things do not go as planned, climbers may top out much later than expected, leaving them to rappel or hike down in the dark. North Dome Gully, one of the descent routes for Royal Arches, is notorious for its exposure, loose rock, and difficult route-finding. Darkness compounds all these challenges. Climbers should always come prepared with headlamps, extra food and water, and knowledge of their intended descent as well as alternative descent options before leaving the ground.

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Did You Know?

Low intensity fire in Yosemite

Natural fires in Yosemite are often no more than a single burning snag (standing dead tree) or a slow moving, low intensity fire that cleans underbrush from the forest floor. These fires prevent unwanted fires by removing accumulating forest debris that can fuel a larger fire in hot, dry conditions.