Summer Bouldering in Tuolumne

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Summer temps can be hard for climbing. The Bay area can be foggy and balmy. Yosemite Valley can hit the upper 90s. The gym tends to be a little too much during the nice summer days. Thankfully, there are other options. One of the best is the bouldering in the Sierra, in Tuolumne.

Tuolumne Bouldering, May Lake,  Lucho Rivera

Located at 8,000 feet, Tuolumne tends to be significantly cooler than Yosemite Valley just to the south. The granite domes, the meadows and the river offer an amazing view. The campground located in the Meadows, acts as a central location for the different bouldering areas. For those that want to take a relaxed day, there is an amazing boulder located directly in the campground with a few amazing problems from V5 to V8.


This summer, Charlie Barrett put out a new bouldering guide to Tuolumne Meadows. The full color 372 page comprehensive guide covers 1,200 boulder problems in Yosemite’s high country. The book covers areas like the Knobs, the Gunks and Puppy Dome. The book also shows topos for new areas like the Battle Tanks, Drug Dome and the Campground Boulder.

Kenny Manuel, Tuolumne Bouldering, Battle Tanks,

Climbers have been bouldering in the meadows for the past few decades. John Bachar used the Knob boulders as practice for his ascent of the infamous Bachar-Yerian. Ron Kauk regularly ran laps on the Steel Fingers traverse during the summer months. Chris Sharma established the classic Thunderbird at Puppy Dome. There are still hundreds of undeveloped problems in the area.

Tuolumne Bouldering, marmot

For those looking to explore more of the backcountry, the West Shore, the Battle Tanks and the Tank Boulder lay a mile and a half into the wilds of Tuolumne. An easy albeit long trail to May Lake brings you to the amazing roof of the Battle Tanks. The wild climbing is reminiscent of Hueco’s Martini Roof with kneebars and long power endurance problems. Closer to the river are the Shoreline boulders, which host a classic V3 and a difficult project.

Tuolumne Bouldering, Battle Tanks, Lucho Rivera,

The newer areas like the boulders of Drug Dome, Pennyroyal and Olmstead offer a great alternative to the knob pulling at the Tenaya lake boulders and the long traverse of Steel Fingers at the Gunks. For those looking for moderates, the climbing around Puppy and Kitty Dome contains a few dozen amazing problems from V0 to V3.

After a full day of bouldering, the Mobil gas station located 30 minutes down the hill from Tioga Pass offers great food and live music a few nights a week. The Tuolumne Grill serves hamburgers and veggie burgers. The store provides basic groceries and plays rocking funk music while you shop.

For those looking for a summer respite from the heat, Tuolumne offers some of the best boudering in the Sierra. The Touchstone gyms carry the new bouldering guide. Stop by the gym, grab the book and check it out!