Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are a great place to climb. The rock here is similar to Yosemite in quality. One can enjoy an endless variety of climbs from easy to extremely challenging-without the crowds and pressure of more famous climbing areas. Outstanding routes in the parks include the Obelisk and Grand Sentinel. Most climbs require at least a day's hike in.
In nearby Hume Lake District of Sequoia National Forest, Chimney Rock is one climbing destination. Like Moro Rock, it closes during nesting season for peregrine falcons.
Remember that the rock here is an integral part of a larger ecosystem. Like the rest of the parks, it is protected as wilderness for people to enjoy in a natural state that preserves it intact for future generations of climbers. This means no motors (for example, motorized drills). Respect closures. On your approach, stick to trails. Climb clean. The placement or replacement of permanent fixed anchors, eg., bolts, pitons, etc., requires an approved special use permit (SUP). Permission to place or replace permanent fixed anchors may be granted by the superintendent, after a formal written request is submitted and evaluated.
Kings Canyon climbs
A good place to look for climbs is along Bubbs Creek. On the north side of the Bubbs Creek Trail, just before it crosses Charlotte Creek, are Charlito Dome and Charlotte Dome. The hike in is about 8 miles, but the multi-pitch possibilities are worth the haul.
The easiest site to access in Sequoia is Moro Rock, just off the Generals Highway near Giant Forest. The west face offers 1,000 vertical feet of cracks and knobs. For a more remote climb, hike the High Sierra Trail to Angel Wings. At roughly 2,000 feet, this is one of the park's biggest walls. It's an 18-mile hike from Crescent Meadow. Other Sequoia highlights: Little Baldy and Big Baldy, both off the Generals Highway.
What you can do
- Climb safely! Rescues endanger rescuers' lives, are expensive, and cause a lot of impact.
- Know park rules and the principles of Leave No Trace. Stick to trails. Climb clean. Respect the wilderness character of the parks.
- If you see climbers who are not following these principles, talk to them. Explain how they can minimize their impact and why it is important that they do so.
- Clean up after others. Leave the rock better than you found it.
- Respect closures. For example, Moro Rock (in Sequoia National Park) and Chimney Rock (in Sequoia National Forest) are closed during peregrine falcon nesting season.