“Government shutdown. Yosemite National Park will be closed for recreating.” The loud speaker boomed up onto the granite walls. My partner and I rappelled into the middle of El Capitan’s Freerider at 6 am to work on free climbing the granite monolith. I managed to stick the crux boulder problem twice before the NPS loudspeaker shouted up from the meadow. On the corner pitch below the headwall, I fell. I would do the route soon if I could figure out how to deal with the Shutdown.
“Yosemite is closed,” said Public Affairs Officer Scott Gediman. Yesterday on the 123 anniversary of the park, visitors were given 48 hours notice of the closure. Currently, park rangers at the El Capitan crossing and by Camp 4 are telling visitors that if they leave they will not be allowed back in. “Going forward all visitors need to be out by tomorrow (Thursday) at 3 pm. “
Yosemite will remain open to through traffic but barricades and traffic cones are at the pull outs. “There will be no stopping along the road." said Gediman. "Even employees are not supposed to be hiking along trails or recreating.”
Thea climbs out the last pitch of the Salathe/Freerider on a day working the route this fall.
The Yosemite Village store will reduce hours drastically. The smaller stores in Yosemite, Curry, the Ahwanee, and the Lodge, will close completely. Employees will be working less and many may have to leave. “I planned on taking off in a month but with the closure, I may need to leave earlier,” said Andrew, a seasonal employee at the Lodge gift shop.
“I’m heading to Indian Creek,” said Mark Almack, a British climber who had traveled across the Pond to climb in Yosemite. “They can’t close that.” Almack joined hundreds of other climbers from across the globe exiting the park for other climbing destinations. A few climbers remain on the side of El Capitan but they will be told to leave when they get off the wall.
A long offwidth, dubbed the Scotty Burke, caps the top of the Freerider
Last night, I climbed out to the top of El Capitan. I’ve invested over twenty days climbing on the side of the wall. There’s no definite date for when the park will reopen but it is not expected to exceed 30 days. The government shutdown would be a minor delay. I need to train harder for the upper corner pitch anyway.
Tags: government shutdown, climbing closure, Yosemite
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