National parks are closed, but are rock climbers really deterred?


Rock climbers are a dedicated bunch, and apparently some were not ready to let the government-ordered closure of Yosemite National Park keep them from scaling El Capitan.

The accompanying image, posted on Reddit by a user named LiquidColor a day after the October 1 shutdown was implemented, shows small beams of light on the 2,900-foot face of El Cap, which annually draws climbers from all over the world (photo posted above).

The lights are used by climbers on an iconic California monolith that typically requires about three days for a successful summit.

Yosemite, el cap

El Capitan photo is via the park’s Facebook page

Climbers sleep on El Cap’s sheer face on porta-ledges, which they fix to the granite at the end of each day.

The image, also posted on Imgur, is posted with this introduction: “Day 2 of government shutdown: Climbers on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park don’t give a [expletive].”

The user stated that he used a hand-held compact camera. These were both taken on a hand-held compact. “No tripod, no exposure longer than a second possible on the camera. You work with what you have,” he wrote.

Outside Magazine published a story under the headline: “Climbers on El Cap Ignore Shutdown.”

Mother Nature Network’s headline: “Big Wall Climbers on Yosemite’s El Cap say, ‘What government shutdown?’ ”

However, park spokesman Scott Gediman on Tuesday explained that although the park was officially closed on October 1 (last Tuesday), visitors were given until Thursday to leave.

Some climbers did not begin their El Cap ascents until Wednesday. They were not ordered down, and were expected to leave the park after their climbs.

That said, Gediman could not say for sure whether climbers were not still attempting to scale El Cap. The park staff has been reduced from 820 to 160, and rangers who are on duty--whether manning entry stations or performing security patrols--are not actively looking for people to kick out.

“I can’t say authoritatively that there aren’t still climbers up there,” Gediman said. “But there shouldn’t be.”