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Virtual Yosemite Facelift: Act Local from Sept. 22 to 27

The North Face, Subaru, Tioga Sequoia, Athletic Brewing, Black Diamond, The National Park Service, and others sponsor the Facelift

Ken Yager, founder of the Yosemite Facelift Photo by: Max Buschini

The seventeenth annual Yosemite Facelift is coming up on September 22 to 27. Founder Ken Yager asks for volunteers to pledge to clean up remotely. 

With the pandemic shuttering businesses and reducing park access while the Creek Fire rages outside Yosemite’s southern gate — over 200,000 acres have burned so far — Yosemite feels like a ghost town. Thick smoke shrouds the famed granite walls, filling the valley with an eerie haze. The plume is so thick that El Capitan can barely be seen from El Cap meadow. 

Due to Covid-19, the 17th annual Yosemite Facelift — which removed more than 1 million pounds of trash from the park — has morphed into Facelift: Act Local, where Ken Yager asks volunteers to spend the last week of September cleaning their local areas. 

“The idea is that whatever outdoor area that you’re enjoying while staying home, your local bike path or park, let’s clean up those areas,” Yager says. “Do something to improve your surroundings.”

To pledge to clean up your area in the spirit of the Facelift, click this link

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Facelift: Act Local evening programs will be streamed on our YouTube Channel! This year, Facelift: Act Local will be a virtual event. We are encouraging everyone who would like to participate to take the spirit of Yosemite Facelift to your local crag, neighborhood park, or even your own backyard. Grab some friends, pick up some trash, and let us know online by posting to social media with the tag #FaceliftActLocal! We are still having evening programs! They will be streamed online at our YouTube Channel, so please subscribe now at the link in our bio! This event is FREE and anyone can participate. However, you won't be able to participate in the Instagram giveaways unless you sign the pledge! So give that a look in our bio as well!

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“Now you can participate anywhere you are,” adds Yager.

The Facelift is open to everyone and pledging on the website takes only a few seconds. Entering a pledge and tagging images (#faceliftactlocal) on social media enrolls participants into a giveaway, including both gear from Black Diamond and branded bikes from Subaru.

Climbing historian and Yosemite first ascentionist Yager is the founder of Yosemite Climbing Association, where for 28 years, he’s collected climbing artifacts dating back to the late 1800s. With Board members Allyson Gunsallus, Sandy Russell, Tommy Caldwell, Timmy O’Neill and Jason Keith, they recently set up the YCA Climbing Museum in Mariposa, California. The museum displays everything from the Stove Leg pitons used on the first ascent of The Nose to Alex Honnold’s rope on his one-day solo of Half Dome and El Capitan. 

Yager, a former guide at Yosemite Mountaineering School & Guide Service, started the Facelift in 2004 because he was disgusted by walking through used toilet paper and other waste near his favorite climbing areas. Yager and a few friends began Facelift by loading up his truck with discarded Curry Company mattresses, micro trash, and cigarette butts, which steadily grew to the park’s biggest annual event. Each year at the end of September, park employees and visitors alike work side by side to clean roadsides, backcountry locations, and busy trails. Thousands of visitors arrive annually to clean the place they love, watch evening programs, dance to live music and enjoy the party. 

Says YosemiteFaceLift.com, “During Facelift: Act Local (September 22nd-27th), we will be encouraging our global community to get into the outdoors and pick up trash and recycle what they can at their local crags or even in their neighborhood parks and backyards. The Facelift: Act Local event will hinge on participants sharing their trash pickup experiences on social media so we can celebrate all of the hard work the community is doing to be good stewards.”

To honor volunteers, Facelift will be hosting evening programs on the Yosemite Facelift Youtube channel. Participants can also share photos of their clean-ups on Instagram with the hashtag #faceliftactlocal, promoting community in a year that has been challenging to say the least. 

Yager holding a Stoveleg Piton
Yager holds a Stoveleg Piton at the Yosemite Climbing Museum in Mariposa, Calif. Photo: Max Buschini

The North Face, Subaru, Tioga Sequoia, Athletic Brewing, Black Diamond, The National Park Service, and others sponsor the Facelift.

“It feels good to do good,” Gunsallus says. “If just one person gets outside and cleans up locally, the event will be a success.”

Lead photo: Max Buschini