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Ron Kauk bouldering The Cross at The Knobs, Tuolumne Meadows - Yosemite, USA
Ron Kauk bouldering The Cross at The Knobs, Tuolumne Meadows - Yosemite, USA
Photo by Chris Falkenstein
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Tuolumne Meadows - Yosemite bouldering

05.08.2009 by Chris Summit

An introduction to bouldering and rock climbing at Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park, California, USA by guidebook author Chris Summit.

High in the sky at over 8000 feet in elevation, Tuolumne is the largest sub- alpine meadow in the Sierras. When almost every other Sierra bouldering area is cooking in the heat of summer that is when The Meadows calls. Surrounded by stone, Tenaya Lake marks the western gate of the main Tuolumne climbing and bouldering areas and makes a perfect place to have a scenic picnic or take a dip on a hot summer day as well.

The Tuolumne area is the ideal summertime boulder playground with perfect cool conditions to complement Bishop and Yosemite Valley’s ripe fall, winter and spring bouldering seasons. Closed in winter, there is only a window of climb time each year for Tuolumne which equals about half the time you get at other areas with all year access. This shortened window of opportunity makes Tuolumne a place to be appreciated, cherished and respected each and every visit.

With a rich bouldering history that reaches back to the roots of Yosemite climbing lore and first ascents by the original “Stonemasters,” Tuolumne has always had a reputation for its unique knobs and challenging, uncharted and untamed rock in a wild alpine environment. Superb High Sierra granite with diorite knobs protruding from solid gold, white and black domes, cliffs, and boulders describes the rock. Thin and slabby, run-out face climbs on huge granite domes describes most of the routes. The bouldering is often very similar, just condensed into a shorter, more intense but equally hair-raising experience. In the end, of course, it’s always a very rewarding, satisfying and memorable experience. Head-spinning highballs, splitter cracks, balance slabs, thin and tenuous knob pinching face climbs, and epic long traverses describes the majority of boulder styles. A few overhanging problems are in the Tuolumne area but they are not the norm. The steep stuff is, however, excellent and on mostly well-featured, solid stone with burly, powerful moves mixed with the classic technical granite moves and quite often a heinous mantel top out. Bouldering in Tuolumne is an experience not to be missed.


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