For 15 years I was astonished that not more people free climbed on El Capitan. Well, now its pretty main stream and the climbing rangers are having to consider how to manage the influx. Overall I think El Cap is cleaner than it was 15 years ago. People these days tend to be more respectful of the place and better about packing out their waste. In many ways, climbers have become defacto care takers of the park thanks to organizations like the Yosemite Climbers Association. But more people means we need to continually be more thoughtful about our impact. The top of El Cap is in the spotlight for impact right now. So for those of you hoping to camp up there, here are some suggestions straight from the climbing rangers. 📸 @austin_siadak
Permit required for camping on top (exception for the night after climbing a wall). I'm hoping to add an East Ledges trailhead to our system but for now planned camping on top of El Cap will need a permit with Yosemite Falls, Rockslides, or Tamarack Flat trailheads--they can still hike up the East Ledges of course. (Permits are free by the way)
Please refrain from having fires on top of El Cap (next year this will likely be a regulation.) There is hardly any wood up there that is dead and down, and it is needed to regenerate the soil.
Label and date caches. Name and contact info. When you leave the park for the season it should all be gone. Climbers are getting special treatment here already, and caches left longer than 24 hours unattended are technically not allowed. We get it though and as long as you are actively working your route, and not leaving the park they are ok.
Food storage: regulation is either in a bear canister or hung over the face.
Of course all other LNT principles are relevant!