What It Feels Like to Climb Outdoors: A 36-Hour Trip to Yosemite


After 10 hours on the road, we finally arrived at Yosemite National Park.

If you’ve never been to Yosemite, I’d advise visiting during the off-season. Or any season other than summer. Sure, you get 10+ hours of sunlight, great hiking weather, and can eat ice cream every 2 hours if you wanted. But you’re also going to be surrounded by hundreds of people, and their cars.

Sure enough, upon our arrival at the west entrance to YNP, there was a sign warning visitors of 3-hour delays in the park.



Secretly, I was hoping that the sign would deter visitors away.

It did not.

Our first day in Yosemite consisted mainly of driving to view points and taking photos. We were in Yosemite Valley, and drove up to Glacier Point after stopping by a number of viewpoints below.


The boyfriend and I have been to Glacier Point before, but it’s one of Yosemite’s most visited sites for a reason. At 7,000+ feet above ground, there are incredible views of Yosemite’s well-known landmarks including Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Falls, Vernal Fall, and Nevada fall.


After snapping photos, videos, and taking in its breath-taking beauty, we headed back down to the valley for dinner. Fortunately, the pizza station at Curry Village, er, Half Dome Village (last time I was there for my cousin’s wedding, it was still named Curry Village) was still open, or else we’d have cold sandwiches for dinner.




The three of us shared a large pizza, topped with all the necessary goodies: pepperoni, sausage, veggies, and cheese. Lots of cheese.

After we filled our tummies, it was time to head back to camp in efforts to sync up with the group from up north.




We camped in a town called Coulterville, about 30 miles east of Yosemite. It was the next best thing, since we weren’t able to reserve a campsite in Yosemite. In order to do that, you’d have to reserve a site 6 months in advance.

Back at the Coulterville campground, we caught up with the others. Our conversations were short, as everyone was pretty tired from the day. We said our goodnights and goodbyes soon after, and called it a night.



Our group headed back to Yosemite early the next morning, to avoid morning traffic. That was a good idea; we avoided much of the traffic from the day before, and were able to find parking by Yosemite Lodge.




From there, we grabbed our gear: climbing shoes, chalk, crash pad, camera, and headed to Camp 4.




Well known as the hang out spot for climbers, Camp 4 is located near Yosemite Falls on the north side of the valley.   It’s easy to understand why it’s a popular climbing location, once you’ve arrived, you’ll see about 10-12 boulders in the area.




DSC_0317.jpgThe boyfriend and I climbed, while our friend took up the role of photographer for the day (he doesn’t climb).







Final thoughts: Climbing outdoors is very different compared to climbing indoors. It’s more difficult, as there are no colored holds. There are no jugs. The only padding you have is the crash pad you bring. It’s warmer. Down-climb is trickier.





I can see why it’s thrilling to climb outdoors. After I sended that one-route-I-can’t-remember-the-name-of, it was an amazing feeling. I was pretty scared, but proud that I completed the route. And that, was the highlight of my trip.









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