Project goal: Help visitors connect with the vertical wilderness through a program that explores rock-climbing, natural history and environmental stewardship. 

Why this work matters: Yosemite Valley’s stately cliffs, domes and columns command attention and stoke wonder. Some people see the walls up close, stepping off the Valley floor and into the Yosemite Wilderness to scale famous features, such as El Capitan. Most people take in the size and power of the rock from below, occasionally spotting ant-sized adventurers inching up the gleaming granite.

A Yosemite climbing ranger using a portaledge on a rock wall in the park This is a screenshot from a "Behind the Scenes" video that Yosemite National Park posted in June 2020.

A Yosemite climbing ranger offers “behind-the-scenes” insights from high on a park wall as part of a video produced in June 2020. (Courtesy of NPS)

Park managers view education as a powerful tool for protecting Yosemite’s resources, including the vertical wilderness. Through the Ask a Climber program, climbing rangers coordinate educational activities that connect people with the world on the walls.

The Ask a Climber program usually includes in-person conversations and hands-on demonstrations. Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Yosemite’s climbing rangers are adjusting the program to offer engaging educational resources while ensuring the health and safety of all involved. Rangers will be creating and delivering online programming, such as videos recorded on the park’s big walls that you’ll be able to watch from home. We’ll share new videos below as they’re available, so stay tuned for updates!

Ask a Climber videos:

How your support helps: By supporting the Ask a Climber program this year, you’ll enable the park to adapt and deliver a popular seasonal program that helps people connect with Yosemite’s renowned climbing areas and promotes stewardship within the climbing community.

Partnering with Yosemite National Park and Yosemite Climbing Association.

Jesse McGahey

Lead Climbing Ranger, Yosemite National Park

Project Notes

"The Yosemite Ask-a-Climber Program brings visitors, park rangers and rock climbers together to celebrate how over a century of exploration of Yosemite's vertical wilderness has made the seemingly impossible become reality."