guided climb up El Cap : LUSENET : Mountaineering : One Thread

My son and I would like to climb El Cap on his 16th birthday. He is almost 15 now. We are beginner-intermediate rock climbers, and have taken a couple of courses at Joshua Tree. My son can follow a 5.8 and myself a 5.7-5.8, we are both in good shape, and willing to train for the climb. What I would like to know is if there are any guide services that would take us up for a fee. Is this even a feasible undertaking? Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Tim Holcombe

-- tim holcombe (, March 17, 1998


i'm not sure about a guide service, but would like to offer a response anyway. i think that you would find the experience much more rewarding if you waited until you and your son were ready to tackle el cap on your own. i climbed it (muir wall) for the first time last year and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. had i been guided, it would have cheapened the experience considerably.

good luck either way.

-- david hill (, April 01, 1998.

I'd just like to comment that I agree with David. There is a huge difference between doing El Cap on your own and being guided up. In the latter case you will be simply jumaring the entire thing. It is also going to be quite expensive, at least a thousand dollars I would guess for the two of you.

I think you might find a long free climb much more enjoyable, something like Royal Arches or Snake Dike which can be done in a (long) day. If you feel competent at leading and route finding you could do it yourselves, or if not hire a guide.

El Cap is a more serious objective than many climbers estimate. And technical difficulties are not really the biggest obstacle, it's mostly mental. Simply jumaring 2000 feet off the deck will freak out most people, some to the point where they become paralyzed by fear or do something dumb. I'm sure a guide would want to evaluate you very closely.


-- George Bell (, April 06, 1998.

I agree with the other two answers to your question. However, I can understand your desire to climb that awesome piece of granite. What a birthday present that would be!!! If you are still itching to go, go to-- -- or call the yosemite mountain shop, they do offer guided climbs. They may have certain criteria though, I don't know. Good luck!

-- Ronnie Miller (, April 08, 1998.

Tim, I just got back from the Valley and I checked in at the Y Yosemite Mntring School as I promised. They were closed, but I did run into one of the guides and talked to him. Their basic fee for a guided climb on El Cap is $3000 PER PERSON, so you may want to rethink your plan. As the others above suggested, you might want to work it out on your own. I have been working with a friend on learning aid climbing, and will hopefully be attempting my first aid route later this spring - the South Face of Washington Column. This is considered to be the normal first aid route in the Valley for new aiders. It is a 2-day affair, rated 5.9.A2, so it is a good learning experience. If you are still interested in the guided climb, the phone number for the school is (209) 372-8344. They opened last Saturday, so you should be able to reach them. Basically, the guide told me that overall climbing ability is not tremendously important, they are more interested in knowing that you are solid in the basics of climbing - placing pro, belaying, that sort of thing.... If you want any more info, let me know....

-- Jim Leininger (, April 15, 1998.

Personally I am very opposed to guiding on El Cap. I think an accent of El Cap needs to be earned; not just through training but experience. I think you would be cheating yourself to get guided up El Cap. Instead plan something in your limits, I believe you would feel much more pride by leading your own a small 3or4 pinch climb then being babysitted up El Cap.

-- Jeff (, May 06, 1998.

Getting guided up El-Cap means you won't lead a single pitch. As was said you'll jumar the whole thing. This really wouldn't be rewarding. I agree with the above post; you should earn your way up by building your skills and doing it yourself.

The Triple Direct can be done at 5.9 A1 (my rating) although there is some non trivial 5.8 chimeny climbing on the Muir. Don't be cocky about the free ratings. This is heads up climbing. The aid is easy though.

Don't rush it.


-- Steve Purcell (, August 20, 1998.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ