El Capitan; Photo by Mike Murphy, CC BY-SA 3.0
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A wilderness climbing permit is required for all climbers staying overnight starting this month.
In an effort to understand climbing patterns and to ensure environmentally safe practices, Yosemite National Park will soon require some climbers to purchase special permits, park officials said today.
The Wilderness climbing permit is free but compulsory for every big wall climber staying in the park. The National Park Service said there will be no limit to the number of permits the park will issue.
“Yosemite’s big wall climbs take place almost exclusively in designated wilderness – the highest level of protection available to public land. Both the park administration and the park visitors have a special responsibility to protect the designated wilderness for this and future generations, ”said the park officials said in a statement.
Here’s what you need to know about Yosemite’s Wilderness Climbing Permit and New Rules.
Yosemite climbing permit
The new rules come into effect on May 21, 2021 and only apply to climbers with large walls who stay overnight. Day climbers do not need a permit. Those who need a permit must Request a permit reservation 4 to 15 days before the planned climb. Each permit includes up to four people.
With the permit, climbers can bivouack with few conditions on any vertical cliff, face, or wall in Yosemite. They must be at least one incline above the ground on a Class V or higher route, comply with all existing Yosemite regulations, and not be in an enclosed area. NPS officials note that climbers are not allowed to bivouack or camp on walls outside of designated wilderness such as Rostrum or Elephant Rock.
Yosemite officials said the permit pilot program will help visitors comply with parking rules because most people who break a parking rule “don’t realize they’re breaking those rules.” According to the press release, night climbers will receive a personal classroom meeting similar to night hikers in the park. According to Yosemite, if the program works as intended, there will be less junk, human waste, and abandoned device caches.
To assess the effectiveness of the pilot program, rangers collect data on the number of climbers on each route and seasonal usage patterns in wilderness climbing areas in the Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows. You will also rate how well Don’t leave any traces Educational briefings work when climbers pick up theirs Wilderness permit.
For more information, see the Yosemite Wilderness Climbing Permit FAQ Here.