Yosemite in the spring - best month?

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the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Dec 21, 2018 - 12:41pm PT
They seem to shoot for Memorial Day weekend, this year that's Monday, May 27 2019. But really it depends on the snow pack.
seankenny

Trad climber
London, England
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 24, 2018 - 11:54am PT
Thanks for the info!
kingtut

climber
Jingus Newroutaineer
Dec 24, 2018 - 01:12pm PT
It just varies so much from year to year, Sean, no one can say.

"Standard" opening for Tioga Pass is around Memorial Day weekend (last weekend in May). But it can be a month earlier if drought or a month later if big winter.

Same for Needles, more or less...really the most experienced among us don't plan on counting on anything and see what is happening when the time comes...between the desert southwest USA, Bishop and east side of Sierras all the way to the Sierra Alpine there is always a place where the weather is perfect in the spring with worth objectives abounding.

Just pick your dates and commit to going where the weather is perfect for you.
seankenny

Trad climber
London, England
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 10, 2019 - 03:40am PT
Same for Needles, more or less...really the most experienced among us don't plan on counting on anything and see what is happening when the time comes...between the desert southwest USA, Bishop and east side of Sierras all the way to the Sierra Alpine there is always a place where the weather is perfect in the spring with worth objectives abounding.

Just pick your dates and commit to going where the weather is perfect for you.

Pretty much my plan should the weather get too hot in the Valley! I've already climbed in Tuolomne, a bit around the east side (Rock Creek, Patricia Bowl, ORG), a little bit at Tahoe. The Needles is on the list because it's world famous and everyone who's been says it's one of the best places they've ever visited (just why no guidebook tho?!).

Are there any other places in the Sierras really worth visiting but a bit leftfield? I'm sure there are heaps.
FRUMY

Trad climber
Bishop,CA
Jan 10, 2019 - 08:31am PT
"The Needles Climbing" A complete Guide
By Kris Solem is an excellent guide with great history.
It should be in everyone's library.
kingtut

climber
Jingus Newroutaineer
Jan 10, 2019 - 10:04am PT
Are there any other places in the Sierras really worth visiting but a bit leftfield? I'm sure there are heaps.


"Heaps" doesn't begin to measure the scope.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Jan 10, 2019 - 10:25am PT
If you are traveling internationally, I suppose you would want to plan everything long in advance. But by mid-March you can usually have a pretty good idea of when the high country will open. It might look like a light snow year and have a bunch of late year storms, but that isn't too likely.

As far as more recommendations, letting people know what sort of climbs you are looking for would help. What grade level. How long of approach you are willing to consider. Clean well traveled classics, or more adventurous out of the way stuff. etc.

And how much driving around in order to check out new places are you interested in. There is nice mid-May climbing farther north around Lake Tahoe and plenty of stuff south of Yosemite also. If the Needles is open, it is worth checking out. Scenic and good climbing.
seankenny

Trad climber
London, England
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 11, 2019 - 06:35am PT
If you are traveling internationally, I suppose you would want to plan everything long in advance. But by mid-March you can usually have a pretty good idea of when the high country will open. It might look like a light snow year and have a bunch of late year storms, but that isn't too likely.


Not particularly trying to get a plan together, more have a good set of alternative venues in mind should Yosemite Valley get too hot. (Or - and I'm sorry to mention it, seems a bit rude - should your government shut down all the national parks.) Like I said, I've already got the Needles, Tuolomne and Tahoe in mind. Good beta on making a call in March, thanks.

As far as more recommendations, letting people know what sort of climbs you are looking for would help. What grade level. How long of approach you are willing to consider. Clean well traveled classics, or more adventurous out of the way stuff. etc.

And how much driving around in order to check out new places are you interested in.

Yes I could have been a bit more specific!

So I'm looking for 5.9 - 5.11 routes, ideally trad climbing (not averse to sport but we have a lot of amazing sport climbing in Europe), a mix of short routes and up to 10-15 pitches. I don't mind a bit of heading into the backcountry but nothing too involved.

Quality-wise: I'm flying 12 hours to get to California so only interested in really good routes! Though I'm aware that there are plenty of "unknown classics" that are really worth doing at practically every climbing area, and I get the impression that in the Sierras there are whole crags and areas that are great but very little known, at least by outsiders. Of course you might want to be keeping it that way...

How good is Shuteye Ridge? Are there any other good areas south of Yosemite?

Driving-wise I guess about six or seven hours is my limit.
nopantsben

climber
europe
Jan 11, 2019 - 07:00am PT
Shuteye ridge is mindblowing, def. visit. Some of the best rock in california. Solid and crazy features.. El Portalien is among the 5 best routes i have done in California. Itís about 4 pitches, safe, 5.11.

Much of the access to shuteye requires a car with clearance though. Not sure what subareas can be done with a low clearance 2wd.
The Needles are great too. Less of a scene than Yosemite and better rock, but much smaller. Atlantis and White Punks on Dope are not to be missed.
Yosemite has the least featured and slickest rock of the three, but once youíre used to it, there are some awesome routes. The place is fantastic, especially when quiet and green, so early spring is a good idea. Donít miss Voyager, Serenity to Sons and Snake Dike!

Idyllwild/Tahquitz has some great climbing, especially the Vampire (5.11) and Valhalla (5.11).
10b4me

Social climber
Lida Junction
Jan 11, 2019 - 08:21am PT
April
TomKimbrough

Social climber
Salt Lake City
Jan 11, 2019 - 08:28am PT
Long before Climate Change became a topic......
My girlfriend, Jude, and I moved into Camp 4 on the first of April, 1967.
It snowed on the Valley floor every day that month.
Maybe good preparation for the Great Ranges?
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