Permits for Yosemite Climbers

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

     Just when some of the dust is settling foro the new requirement for permits to hike to the top of Half Dome, a new draft National Park Service Wilderness Policy on Climbing Fixed Anchors has been issued. The update covers a wide range of topics including provisions specific to climbing fixed anchors in the U.S, including Yosemite. The proposed policy acknowledges that climbing is a legitimate and appropriate use of wilderness and that each must prepare a climbing management plan. However, the policy calls for climbing to be restricted or prohibited if unacceptable impacts to wilderness resources or character occur. 

     This proposed policy recognizes that the occasional placement of a fixed anchor for belay, rappel, or protection purposes does not necessarily impair wilderness, but it requires prior authorization for the placement of new fixed anchors. The requirements and process for authorization are to be laid out in each park’s Climbing Management Plan

     The practical outcome of this proposed policy is that climbers would need a permit or some other authorization prior to the hand-placement of new bolts in any national park wilderness area. Most parks currently require no such prior-approval. The public has 60 days to comment on this proposed policy revision. 

     Our hiking brothers and sisters have been watching the Half Dome permit system and fearful of regulation of their activities. Here we go.

 Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.” – A wise old man

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch –

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