Best Aid Climbing in California

Trying to find the best aid climbing in California? Bivy has great hiking, biking, paddling, climbing, skiing, riding and more, with hand-curated trail maps, as well as detailed driving directions.

1

California, Mariposa County

02 :25 hrs
2 mi
742.1583 ft
Various

Towering over the east end of the Yosemite Valley, the northwest face of the world known Half Dome formation offers steep climbing with a long approach. There are two approach options. The first option is to hike from Happy Isles, up the Mist Trail and through Little Yosemite Valley. The second option and the one shown here, begins at Happy Isles and approaches via the “Death Slabs” from Mirror Lake. The slabs approach is a classic by itself. This approach option is the quicker of the two, but requires a steep and grueling hike and the use of fixed lines. The stand out routes here are “Regular Northwest Face” and “Direct Northwest Face”.

2

California, Mariposa County

02 :28 hrs
2.8 mi
582.94275 ft
Unknown

Located along the John Muir Trail between Nevada Falls and Mt. Broderick, Liberty Cap offers quality climbing on granodiorite in a iconic location. Liberty Cap is cam friendly due to the many splitter cracks that run up the face and huge corners. The classic standout route here is “Southwest Face” which ascends right up the middle of the face. Begin your approach from Happy Isles and follow the john Muir Trail for one mile before turning left onto Mist Trail. Continue to the base of Nevada Falls where the white granite step are located. Here you will see the climbers trail. Follow this as iy skirts the southwest face for a few hundred yards. Next scramble up 3rd class terrain back to the right until reaching the base of the routes.

3

California, Mariposa County

01 :33 hrs
1.3 mi
471.63513 ft
Various

Located to the right of the world famous Yosemite Falls sits a spire that changed the big wall climbing world back in 1946 when John Slathe made the first ascent. Lost Arrow Spire offers excellent exposure and a unique climbing experience. The two stand out routes here are “Lost Arrow Tip” and “Lost Arrow Direct”. This spire offers great opportunities to prepare for harder aid climbs on other big walls such as El Capitan. The approach is long and extremely exposed. Park at the over night parking area and ride the shuttle to the visitor center; begin your approach from here or from Camp 4 and follow the Yosemite Fall Trail to the climbers trail.

4

California, Mariposa County

00 :41 hrs
0.5 mi
239.45508 ft
Various

Located to the right of Bridalveil Falls as you enter into the Yosemite Valley, Leaning Tower is an overhanging granite tower rising 1860 feet above the valley floor. The steep and continuous overhang offers challenging climbing. The standout routes here are “Jesus Built My Hotrod”, “Wet Denim Daydream” and “West Face”. Approach from the Bridalveil Falls parking area. From the bathrooms hike east towards a large boulder and gain the climber trail. Follow the trail up a boulder field marked with cairns. After topping out on any of the routes, the descent requires multiple rappels located on the backside of Leaning Tower.

5

California, Mariposa County

01 :03 hrs
0.7 mi
349.96643 ft
Various

Located inside Yosemite National Park, the granite monolith known as El Capitan sits on the north side of the Yosemite Valley, and is the most notable climbing destination in the world. The granite face wall of El Cap towers 900 meters (3,000 feet) above the valley floor which offers awe-inspiring views and numerous climbing routes to choose from. Extensive climbing experience on long multi-pitch routes is a must to climb any of the routes on El Capitan. Find a place to park along El Capitan Drive, or Northside Drive and gain one of the numerous climber’s trails leading through the trees to “The Nose”. From The Nose, head left up along the base of the wall to reach the routes. Descend by taking the trail that heads east along the rim passing Eagle Peak which leads to Yosemite Falls Trail. Follow this trail down steep terrain leading you directly to Camp 4. The other option is to descend from the East Ledges; this option does require some scrambling and rappels.

6

California, Mariposa County

01 :17 hrs
0.9 mi
416.75635 ft
Various

Located on the same formation as Ribbon Fall, this wall offers great climbing on well featured golden granite and nice views of El Capitan’s west face. For the approach, go a few hundred yards from El Capitan Meadow and and gain an old dirt road. Stay right and head up the switchbacks. Watch for cairns and other climber trails as there are multiple ways to approach. The stand out route here is “Gold Wall”.

7

California, Mariposa County

00 :50 hrs
1 mi
203.7749 ft
Various

Located on the east end of Yosemite Valley, Washington Column is the obvious prow of overhanging rock east of the Ahwahnee Hotel. The east face of the Washington Column formation offers clean and continuous crack systems ascending steep terrain. Some of the standout routes on the south face are: “Astroman” and “The Prow”. Approach from the small dirt parking lot just east of the Ahwahnee Hotel and walk along the bike path to reach the climbers trail. Another option is to park at the overnight parking area and grab the shuttle over to Mirror Lake Trailhead. From there, gain the bike path to the climbers trail.

8

California, Mariposa County

00 :19 hrs
0.5 mi
60.457153 ft
Various

Located inside Yosemite National Park, the granite monolith known as El Capitan sits on the north side of the Yosemite Valley, and is the most notable climbing destination in the world. The granite face wall of El Cap towers 900 meters (3,000 feet) above the valley floor which offers awe-inspiring views and numerous climbing routes to choose from. Extensive climbing experience on long multi-pitch routes is a must to climb any of the routes on El Capitan. Find a place to park along El Capitan Drive, or Northside Drive and gain one of the numerous climber’s trails leading through the trees to “The Nose”. After ascending to the summit via any route, descend by taking the trail that heads east along the rim passing Eagle Peak which leads to Yosemite Falls Trail. Follow this trail down steep terrain leading you directly to Camp 4. The other option is to descend from the East Ledges; this option does require some scrambling and rappels.

9

California, Mariposa County

00 :27 hrs
0.5 mi
108.07153 ft
Various

Located inside Yosemite National Park, the granite monolith known as El Capitan sits on the north side of the Yosemite Valley, and is the most notable climbing destination in the world. The granite face wall of El Cap towers 900 meters (3,000 feet) above the valley floor which offers awe-inspiring views and numerous climbing routes to choose from. Extensive climbing experience on long multi-pitch routes is a must to climb any of the routes on El Capitan. Find a place to park along El Capitan Drive, or Northside Drive and gain one of the numerous climber’s trails leading through the trees to “The Nose”. From The Nose, head left up along the base of the wall for the southwest face routes. After ascending any of the routes, descend by taking the trail that heads east along the rim passing Eagle Peak which leads to Yosemite Falls Trail. Follow this trail down steep terrain leading you directly to Camp 4. The other option is to descend from the East Ledges; this option does require some scrambling and rappels.

10

California, Mariposa County

00 :49 hrs
1 mi
199.07507 ft
Various

Located on the east end of Yosemite Valley, Washington Column is the obvious prow of overhanging rock east of the Ahwahnee Hotel. The south face of the Washington Column formation offers varied features on a lower-angled face. Some of the standout routes on the south face are: “South Central”, “The South Face”, “Southern Man” and “Skull Queen”. Approach from the small dirt parking lot just east of the Ahwahnee Hotel and walk along the bike path to reach the climbers trail. Another option is to park at the overnight parking area and grab the shuttle over to Mirror Lake Trailhead. From there, gain the bike path to the climbers trail.

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