Big Wall Climbing Info
Yosemite is big wall paradise. The walls are enormous, the rock
solid, and the weather ideal. Below I have offered a primer to
help you plan a Yosemite big wall adventure. I have also included
some personal tips and techniques and the gear I am currently
P.S. email me if you have
any beta that should be added to this page
Big Wall Skills
Yosemite offers short practice aid routes, 3000-foot A5 nightmares,
and everything in between. No matter what you plan to climb, you
will need basic free climbing and aid climbing skills before you
arrive in the Valley. Train in both a climbing gym and your local
crag and read our How
To Big Wall Climb Book.
Consider purchasing Road
to The Nose, a guidebook that offers advice on training for
Yosemite big walls and also includes numerous topos for moderate
routes. For a more complete selection of big wall routes, check
out Yosemite Big
Practice Aid Climbs
Here are some El Capitan base routes to hone your aid skills
and get you familiar with Yosemite granite. All these climbs are
included in the Road to The
guidebook. Also, here are some Southern
California practice areas
First Big Wall Climbs in Yosemite
Below are five moderate Yosemite big walls. None of these climbs
is easy and you will need to have your aid skills wired before
attempting one. Most of these climbs are included in the Road
to The Nose guidebook.
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Big Walls guidebook.
There is a free
sample download here
Long and Moderate Big Wall Climbs
After climbing a few shorter big wall routes, you may be ready
to tackle the biggies: Half Dome and El Capitan. Listed below
are some of the most classic Grade VI big walls in Yosemite. Even
if you are too cheap to buy one of our rock climbing guidebooks,
please take a look at the list of climbs to develop a good tick
list of great Yosemite climbing routes. But, please consider supporting
our efforts by buying one of our SuperTopo
itinerary packsyou won't be disappointed! Check out
our list of Yosemite's 40+ best big wall climbs
Dome, Northwest Face
(Chris McNamara's) favorite route. Loads of quality free climbing
in a spectacular location. Most of this route can be climbed
at 5.9 or easier.
by many to best rock climb in the world. Period.
as classic and slightly harder than the The Nose. Many memorable
pitches and ledges.
of the more moderate and shorter routes on El Capitan. The first
half requires mostly aid climbing and the second half requires
mostly free climbing.
most moderate route on El Capitan's overhanging southeast face.
Spectacular exposure and easy hauling.
More than 100 climbing accidents occur every year in Yosemite. The
two documents below include some helpful information to help you
avoid an accident.
The document below contains a number of tips that all big wall
climbers should adhere to in order to keep Yosemite the climbing
paradise it is today. Also, here is a great thread on making a
tube or big wall waste system and a discussion
on big wall passing ethics.
Big Wall Links
OutdoorGearLab Big Wall Gear Reviews
El Cap and Half Dome Cams
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some of the gear mentioned in this article, we would appreciate
it if you would try our Gear
PriceFinder before you buy. It won’t cost you anything
extra, will probably save you 10-50% and it does help support this
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McNamara's Aid Rack
Here are the two aid racks I use most often on Yosemite big walls.
I have also included a checklist of what to bring on multi-day
walls. I did not include a rack for a sample A4 nailing route
because nailing racks vary wildly depending on the route. Keep
in mind that everyone prefers different gear and my rack not necessarily
the best rack for you. Also, I tend to go light and you will probably
carry more cams, nuts, pitons, etc. Here is a detailed description
wall gear and protection or a description of haul
bags, portaledges, and bivy gear
If you click on any of the following links and make a purchase,
a portion of sale comes back to us to help keep the site running: Altrec EMS Moosejaw Backcountry Patagonia REI
Since 1997 the American Safe Climbing Association has replaced more
than 800 bolts in Yosemite. Some anchor information is available
for certain climbs on the route
beta pages. For the most up-to-date information on each routes
anchors conditions, visit the ASCA