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Climb Europe - helping to organise your rock climbing holiday in California

Map of the rock climbing areas in California

Map of the rock climbing areas in California Rock climbing at Yosemite National Park Rock climbing at Joshua Tree National Park

Rock Climbing in California

California has a rich variety of rock climbing and bouldering areas including two world class destinations, these being Yosemite and Joshua Tree.

Yosemite Valley is the most famous rock climbing area in America, which is dominated by the granite big walls of El Capitan, Half Dome and Sentinel.  El Capitan at 3,300’ (1,000m) is the largest continuous wall in the United States.  The valley is famous for its granite cracks and offers every type of climbing at all grades.  The big walls of El Capitan and Half Dome dominate the area, but there are plenty of “smaller” walls that are in fact 500’ (150m) high.  Yosemite also offers many excellent granite bouldering opportunities.  Generally the best time to climb in Yosemite is in the spring and autumn with the summer usually very hot.  However the summer can also be the best time to climb the longer and higher routes plus there is extra daylight at this time of the year.

Joshua Tree is the largest climbing area in north America in terms of number of routes, with over 8,000.  The white granite rock provides numerous single and multi-pitch routes and many classic bouldering problems.  The Quartz Monzonite granite at Joshua Tree is famously course, thus providing excellent fiction, along with many crack features.  Hence the style of climbing is “traditional”, requiring the placing of cams and nuts.  The best time to go rock climbing in Joshua Tree is from mid-October through to late April or early May.

Bouldering guidebook for Bishop in CaliforniaRock climbing guidebooks for Shuteye Ridge in CaliforniaBishop is an excellent bouldering destination with more than 2,000 problems spread across 3 principle areas.  These being the volcanic rock at Tableland and Sherwin Plateau that is very pocketed, and the quartz monzonite rock at Buttermilk Country that is generally crimpier.

Shuteye Ridge is located in California's western Sierra Mountains that offers a wide range of climbing styles from easy low angled multi-pitch routes, to widely overhanging jug hauls.  All the rock climbing is on heavily featured granite faces, favouring routes that use a mixture of bolts and traditional gear.

Northern California has many different bouldering areas including around Mount Lasson near Redding, Lake Tahoe and the San Francisco Bay area.  It is possible to experience different types of rock in a relatively small area including granite, volcanic, Balsalt and sandstone.

Rock Climbing Guidebooks for California

There are many rock climbing guidebooks available for the various rock climbing areas in California.  Rock climbing and bouldering guidebooks for Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Bishop, Shuteye Ridge, Lake Tahoe and the San Francisco Bay area are available from our shop.