Yosemite has a lot of what you’ll need to prepare for your first climb up El Capitan, including short practice aid and free routes.
Before you go, you’ll want a good resume of basic aid climbing skills and the ability to climb up to 5.11.
Below are five quick tips to keep in mind if you’re thinking about heading to Yosemite this year to try your first route up El Capitan.
Learn About Aid Systems: Be sure you understand hauling, jummaring, rigging with more than one rope and how to set up a portaledge. Be overly prepared and it might not seem too bad.
Don’t Rush It: Most climbers will only head up El Capitan once in their lives. It’s best to sit back and enjoy it.
Be Prepared to Work Hard: Big wall climbing is physical, mental and emotional. You’re going to work hard, your elbow and forearms will hurt and you’ll walk away a little more beaten up than you arrived.
Be Realistic: If you go to Yosemite thinking you’ll do Winds of Change, a 20-pitch A5, you’ll be disappointed. Start on a few shorter routes and work your way up. And if you’re wondering how hard Yosemite 5.11 is, it’s really hard.
Don’t Go Down: More than a lot of parties start up El Cap and then turn around before really committing, but have the skills to continue. Don’t let the exposure freak you out. You travelled far to get to that wall, keep going!