Climbing Trail Work!

Through the years climbing has increased in popularity, with an estimated 6.8 million climbers worldwide.  Last year alone, a peak of 150,000 climbers visited Yosemite National Park.  We expect to see more next year.

160430-001This increase inevitably results in a higher impact on the approach trails that lead to the thousands of climbs Yosemite has to offer.  Many approaches contain no official trail, therefore the development and preservation of these trails are not maintained by NPS.  With a heightened number of visitors accessing climbs through the path of least resistance, use generated trails are created, causing erosion, breaks in meadow systems, loss in vegetation, and confusion among climbers.  The Yosemite Climbing Trails Program helps to delineate, maintain and restore trails for a sustainable future for the ecosystem and climbers alike.

The Yosemite Climbing Association initiated The Yosemite Climbing Trails Program to organize and facilitate work projects designed for improving access trails in the park.  Volunteers have a unique opportunity to learn trail building and environmental restoration techniques such as dry stack masonry, water bars, check steps, and swails (grade dips).  Trail building techniques are vital to keep water from flowing on the trail, causing major erosion.  Wilderness restoration techniques prevent further damage to selected areas and accelerate the naturalization process.  Diverting traffic to durable surfaces and re-seeding, de-compacting, and blocking off the effected wetlands and meadows encourage the space to return to its natural condition.

By combining trail building and restoration techniques, the Climber Trails Program hopes to solve problems created by social trails.  The rangers in Yosemite’s Climbing Management feel incredibly privileged to work with such talented and dedicated volunteers.  We are excited to carry on the tradition of uniting climbing communities and facilitating opportunities for climbers to become stewards of the Wilderness, preserving the health and beauty of the places they love.