Visitors flock to Yosemite in all seasons of the year, but autumn brings all of the climbers to the mountains. With cooler temperatures, more shadows, and the trees donning their fall colors, there’s no better time to scale the mountains than in the autumn.
Starting after Labor Day, climbers of all experience levels gather in Yosemite to take advantage of the cooler temperatures and the world-renowned climbing. Make your plans and head to Yosemite National Park this Fall to test the waters of rock climbing.
Learn How to Rock Climb at Yosemite
While some of the mountains in Yosemite are reserved for the most experienced climbers, there’s plenty of rock to go around. Whether you’re new to rock climbing or have a little experience, the Yosemite Mountaineering School offers various rock climbing classes to help you improve your craft.
Each class offered builds upon the knowledge learned in the class before. Guides recommend a multi-day approach, taking multiple classes to learn or polish your skills quickly. Class size is limited to six people and reservations are highly recommended.
Levels of Rock Climbing Classes
- Welcome to the Rock – The most basic class offered in Yosemite is “Welcome to the Rock.” In this class, students get an introduction to rock climbing, climbing and rappelling up to 60 feet high.
- Crack Climbing – The Crack Climbing class is an intermediate class that teaches a variety of climbing techniques, including crack climbing, basic protection, and simple anchors. This class is great for those who have indoor climbing experience.
- Anchoring – The third class in the series teaches climbers how to evaluate another person’s climbing experience, top rope, and advanced anchors. Strong anchoring skills are fundamental to climbing safety and for climbing on your own.
- Advanced Leading and Multi-Pitch Climbing – This advanced class requires that students have taken the anchoring class or have equivalent knowledge to enroll. The class covers multi-pitch climbing and rappelling techniques. This class is essential for anyone who wants to climb on their own.
- Self-Rescue – To take this advanced class, climbers must have taken the anchoring class or have equivalent experience. In this class, climbers learn how to avoid accidents and respond to worst case scenarios.
- Big Wall Climbing – This advanced class takes two days and covers a number of advanced climbing techniques, including chocks, pitons, hooks, copperheads, bolts, big wall anchors, haul bag handling and packing, and aid climbing.
Yosemite Guided Rock Climbs
Whether this is your first time climbing or are an experienced climber, you can sign up for a guided climb with a guide from the Yosemite Mountaineering School. These guided climbs include one-on-one instruction and teach Yosemite-specific skills for climbing safely.
Guided climb options include:
- ¾ day
- Full day
- Extreme day
- Grad V
- Half Dome
- El Capitan
For the Non-Climbers: Guided Hikes or Backpacking
Not everyone has the need to scale cliff-faces — and that’s ok. There’s plenty to do in Yosemite, even if you’re not interested in learning how to climb. Anyone can celebrate Roctober, simply by enjoying all that Yosemite has to offer.
With over 800 miles of hiking trails and plenty of guided hikes, there’s something for everyone in Yosemite.
- Guided Custom Hikes – If you’re looking for a customized experience, sign up for a custom guided hike. You’ll get a private hike led by an experienced guide and customized to your skills and preferences. You can also book a guided group hike for a half-day or full-day hike.
- Guided Half Dome Hike – Ready to take on Half Dome? You can join a guided hike and make your way to the summit with an experienced guide.
- Guided High Sierra Hikes – The High Sierra Camps are a number of camps dotted throughout the Yosemite backcountry. Your guide will lead the hike from one camp to another where you’ll spend the night.
- Guided Backpacking Trips – If you’re interested in spending the night in the wilderness, you can reserve a spot on a guided backpacking tour. Along the way, your guide will teach you about the local flora and fauna while also sharing skills for backpacking. Guided backpacking trips include:
- Learn to backpack: 2 days
- Exploring the cathedral range: 3 days
- Beneath the summits of Vogelsang: 3 days
- Cascades of the Tuolumne River: 3 days
- May Lake, geographic center of Yosemite: 3 days
- A trek into Youngs Lake Basin: 3 days
- Cloud’s Rest via sunrise: 3 days
- The incredible High Sierra Loup: 4 days
- Yosemite Valley rim adventure: 4 days
- Journey to Mount Lyell Glacial Cirque: 5 days
Where to Stay: Yosemite Valley Lodge
For many Yosemite visitors, the plan is to stay in nature and camp. For others, their day must end with a nice comfortable bed. If you’re the latter, you can book a room at the Yosemite Valley Lodge this fall. The Lodge has onsite dining, shuttle service, guest parking, a gift shop, and outdoor amphitheater.
Whether you’re a seasoned climber or ready to learn for the first time, Yosemite has a place for everyone. No matter your skill level, you can find something to challenge you and learn new skills.