Rock Climbing

Climber and ropes looking across the Valley while on El Capitan
Climber on El Capitan

What You Can Do

  1. Read and follow the guidelines and regulations.
  2. Embrace the Yosemite Climber's Credo community values.
  3. If you see climbers who are not following these guidelines, talk to them. Explain how they can minimize their impact, and why it is important that they do so.
  4. If you're doing an overnight big wall climb, get a wilderness climbing permit.
  5. Clean up after others. Pick up trash when you see it, or return with friends on a rest day and do a thorough clean-up. Take part in organized clean-ups and other projects.
  6. Climb safely! Rescues endanger rescuers' lives, are expensive, and cause a lot of impact.
  7. Keep informed about closed areas, and respect these closures.


More than 100 climbing accidents occur in Yosemite each year; of these, 15-25 parties require a rescue. Climbing in Yosemite has inherent risks and climbers assume complete responsibility for their own safety. The National Park Service does not maintain routes; loose rock and other hazards can exist on any route. Rescue is not a certainty. If you get into difficulties, be prepared to get yourself out of them. Know what to do in any emergency, including injuries, evacuations, unplanned bivouacs, or rapid changes in weather. Safety depends on having the right gear and the right attitude. Practice self-rescue techniques before you need them! Courtesy is an element of safety. Falling rock or gear is a serious hazard. Be careful when climbing above others. Do not create a dangerous situation by passing another party without their consent.

Emergency Information

The Yosemite Medical Clinic, located between Yosemite Village and The Ahwahnee, is equipped to handle climbing injuries. If you cannot get to the clinic on your own, call or text 911 for assistance.

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.

Wilderness Permits

Wilderness climbing permits are required for overnight big wall climbs.

It is illegal to camp at the base of any wall in Yosemite Valley. If you must bivouac on the summit, you are required to follow all regulations:

  • Do not litter, toss, or cache anything. If you hauled it up, you can carry it down.
  • Fires are not allowed at the base or summits of any Yosemite Valley formation.
  • Do not build windbreaks, platforms, or other "improvements."

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.

Looking down a big wall at a woman placing protection
Amity Warme on Phoenix

Taylor Shaffer


  • Fight litter! Don't toss anything off a wall, even if you intend to pick it up later. Don't leave food or water at the top or on ledges for future parties. Set a good example by picking up any litter you see, including tape wads and cigarette butts.
  • 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, the permit kiosk at El Capitan Bridge, 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.

Yosemite Climber's Credo

In 1972, Yvon Chouinard and his colleagues advocated for their vision of a Clean Climbing Manifesto, where climbers share a responsibility to show restraint in the wilderness, to respect Indigenous rights, to protect wildlife, and to be a voice against threats to the places we climb. Fast forward to 2024, and a new call has gone out for Yosemite climbers to come together as a community and embrace a set of shared ethics and values; recognizing that how we as a community care for the areas in which we climb can have a direct impact on the level of protective regulation needed and the degree of access afforded to current and future generations of climbers.In collaboration with a diverse group of Yosemite climbers, NPS climbing rangers, and climbing advocacy groups, the Yosemite Climbing Association (YCA) has answered that call with the Yosemite Climber’s Credo. All climbers visiting Yosemite are encouraged to read and commit to the credo.

  • Serves as a grassroots voluntary consensus agreement amongst Yosemite climbers.
  • Establishes values for community care of our public lands.
  • Demonstrates that climbers can steward and protect Yosemite's vertical wilderness.

Climbing Instruction and Guide Service

Contact Yosemite Mountaineering School and Guide Service at 209/372-8344 for information on rates and schedules.

Last updated: July 2, 2024

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