“Go Climb a Rock” is the slogan seen on tee shirts at Yosemite National Park promoting their famous mountaineering school. Yosemite is known as a designation for world class mountain climbers, and casual day hikers as well.
Climbers enjoy an endless variety of challenges- from the sustained crack climbs of the Merced river canyon to pinching crystals on sun drenched Tuolumne domes to multi-day aid climbs on the big walls of the Valley. Yosemite is not just a climber´s playground, however- Its walls and crags are an integral part of a larger ecosystem, protected as wilderness, that was set aside for people to enjoy in a natural state for generations to come.
A band of climbers were spotted ascending the shear granite rock face of the 7,569-foot tall El Capitan last week, attracting a lot of attention of visitors on the valley floor. Folks craned their necks upwards using binoculars, and telephoto camera lenses to watch the climbers´ progress.
As the number of climbers visiting the park has increased through the years, the impacts of climbing have become much more obvious. According to park officials, some of those impacts include: soil compaction, erosion, and vegetation loss in parking areas, at the base of climbs, and on approach and descent trails, destruction of cliffside vegetation and lichen, disturbance of cliff-dwelling animals, litter, water pollution from improper human waste disposal, and the visual blight of chalk marks, pin scars, bolts, rappel slings, and fixed ropes.