Yosemite is one of the world's greatest climbing areas. Climbers here can enjoy an endless variety of challenges--from the sustained crack climbs of the Merced River Canyon to pinching crystals on sun-drenched Tuolumne Meadows domes to multi-day aid climbs on the big walls of the Valley. Yosemite is not just a climber's playground, however: its walls and crags are an integral part of a larger ecosystem, protected as Wilderness, which was set aside for people to enjoy in a natural state for generations to come.
As the number of climbers visiting the park has increased through the years, the impacts of climbing have become much more obvious. Some of those impacts include: soil compaction, erosion, and vegetation loss in parking areas, at the base of climbs, and on approach and descent trails, destruction of cliffside vegetation and lichen, disturbance of cliff-dwelling animals, litter, water pollution from improper human waste disposal, and the visual blight of chalk marks, pin scars, bolts, rappel slings, and fixed ropes. Many of these impacts can be eliminated or greatly reduced by following the minimum impact practices outlined in the conservation guidelines offered on this page. The impacts of your actions may seem insignificant, but when multiplied by the thousands of people who climb here every year they can have a significant, long lasting effect.
Your help is needed to ensure that Yosemite remains a beautiful and healthy place for the future.
What you can do:
If you are injured or stranded while on a climb and cannot self-rescue, yell for help to obtain assistance. If you require a helicopter evacuation, do only and exactly what you are told by rescue personnel.
Bring adequate gear. Rescues are dangerous, expensive, and cause a lot of impact.
Half Dome: Camping at the base of Half Dome is legal, but a wilderness permit is required. Camping on the summit of Half Dome is prohibited.
Don't leave fixed ropes as permanent fixtures on approaches and descents. These are considered abandoned property and will be removed.
Minimize erosion on your approach and descent. If an obvious main trail has been created, use it. Go slow on the way down to avoid pushing soil down the hill. Avoid walking on vegetation whenever possible.
If you need to build a fire for survival during an unplanned bivouac on the summit, use an existing fire ring. Building a new fire ring or windbreak is prohibited. Make sure your fire is completely out before you leave.
Clean extra, rotting slings off anchors when you descend. Bring earth-toned slings to leave on anchors.
Check the Camp 4 kiosk or the Mountain Shop for the current Peregrine Falcon closures.
On first ascents: Please think about the impacts that will be caused by your new climb- Is the approach susceptible to erosion? Is there a lot of vegetation on the rock? "Gardening" (i.e., killing plants), is illegal in Yosemite. Can the climb be done with a minimum of bolts? Motorized drills are prohibited.
Contact Yosemite Mountaineering School at 209/372-1000 for information on rates and schedules.