Arch Rock is one of the best "crags" in Yosemite Valley with an excellent selection of single and (short) multi-pitch routes on some of the best rock in the Valley. The climbing predominantly follows clean cracks and the wide nature of these cracks makes for some strenuous outings.
Despite the wide nature of the climbing, most of the routes can be well protected with cams up to #6 BD Camalot or equivalent. This fact, along with the length of the routes makes this an excellent place to develop wide crack technique which is more or less essential on many of the longer free climbs in the Valley.
Arch Rock is located in the Lower Merced River Canyon, 15 miles west of the main Yosemite Valley above the park entrance station on Highway 140. This canyon is lower elevation than the main valley and can have significantly different weather. It can be dry even when it is raining in the valley and is usually a good few degrees warmer. This fact, and its SE aspect make it an excellent winter venue or a good choice on cooler days. On many spring and autumn days, when it is sunny in the valley, it will likely be too hot to climb here.
The "crag" is spread over multiple tiers, though all the classic routes are on the lowest, tier and routes on the upper-tiers are much less frequently climbed. Gripper, Midterm, New Dimensions, Leanie Meanie and Anticipation are all superb.
Approach. Park either at the parking lot next to the park entrance station, or at the small lot beneath the crag itself. The crag is obvious from the road: follow an intermittent trail up the talus to the base of Midterm. 20min.
In most years Arch Rock is subject to a climbing ban to protect nesting Peregrine Falcons. Typically this ban runs from March 1st until mid August, though it is often lifted earlier if the birds don't nest. It is strongly recommended that climbers check access restrictions before visiting this crag and respect them if they are in place.
|3||Inner Sanctum||5.11c *|
|7||Entrance Exam||5.9 **||3|
|8||Blotto aka Axis||5.10d *|
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