Big wall climbing is a valued opportunity to experience Yosemite's wilderness. "Big wall climbing" includes climbs of length and technical complexity that require typical parties to take more than one day to complete. It was developed in Yosemite beginning in the 1950s and has risen in popularity since, expanding across areas within Yosemite and beyond. The 1984 California Wilderness Act designated Yosemite's big walls as wilderness, requiring protection and enhancement of the physical and experiential values inherent in wilderness stewardship.
In 2023, Yosemite National Park will transition from the Wilderness Climbing Permit Pilot Program (in place in 2021 and 2022) to a long-term solution to address wilderness stewardship through management of overnight climbing on Yosemite’s big walls and other rock formations.
The overarching goal of this project is to protect the wilderness character and natural conditions of Yosemite’s big walls and other climbing areas while providing the public with continued opportunity and access to overnight climbs.
Cumulative effects of big wall climbing have led to degradation of wilderness values. Issues include: proliferation of litter, human waste, abandoned property, improperly stored food, illegal fire rings and wind breaks, and preventable accidents. Despite extensive efforts by Yosemite climbing rangers and climbing stewards to improve education and outreach to climbers, increase patrols, and coordinate targeted clean-ups, there are still unacceptable impacts to the wilderness character of Yosemite climbing areas.
The purpose of this project is to accomplish the following:
Public Outreach Events
Engaging with the public was an important part of this project and is essential when exploring management alternatives. Park managers accepted and integrated feedback received from the public during the open comment period in fall 2022 as rangers worked to adapt the pilot overnight climbing permitting system into a long-term program for the stewardship of overnight climbs in vertical wilderness. The following options were available for the public to share their thoughts.
The following is the park's tentative schedule for planning and implementation:
There are currently no documents available for review.
Last updated: January 26, 2023