To keep peace and tranquility in Kings Canyon, climbers should respect park service regulations. Let us work for a more respectful and cooperative relationship between the climbing community and the park service as the climbing continues to be developed. Visitors are limited to camping 14 days within park service boundary. Electric drilling should not be utilized beyond the wilderness boundary line at 5,000 ft elevation. Keep impact of new routes to a minimum. Pick up trash and keep food protected from bears.
Access to Kings Canyon National Park will cost $20 seven day pass, $30 annual pass, or $80 annual National Parks Pass. There are 4 campgrounds within park boundaries that will cost $18/night. Rare is the day one needs reservations and spots along the river are plentiful. There are also limited amounts of free camping along the river within National Forest in the lower end of the valley. Cedar Grove has no gas station but can provide groceries, restaurant, and showers.
This information is a public crowdsourcing effort between the Access Fund,
and Mountain Project. You should confirm closures, restrictions, and/or related dates.
“Nature is seldom suspected of being poor, for does she not possesses all the real estate of the world, to say nothing of unexplored moons and stars? And has she then only one Yosemite Valley?” John Muir ponders.
Once upon a time in the age of the Pleistocene, Mother Nature nurtured a landscape shaped by glaciers and granite in the womb of the Sierras. With the retreat of the glaciers many deep valleys fed by mountain snows were born on the western front of the range. The four main sister valleys named Yosemite, Hetch Hetchy, Tehipite, and Kings were raised with equal love and opportunity by Mother Nature. It was not until the Sierras were seen through the eyes and bias of western civilization that the valleys developed distinct personalities. Yosemite with her glamor and charisma, caught the most attention and praise (especially among bearded men). Nearby attention starved Hetch Hetchy made the biggest sacrifice to humanity only to be forgotten beneath the waters. Quiet Tehipite afraid of such attention withdrew her huge domes and beauty out of sight. And the Kings sister, unconcerned with humanity’s opinion and such drama, continued the business of flowing rivers, growing trees, greening meadows, and shaping granite. Despite being bestowed National Park status, the Kings sister continued a modest peaceful life free from the nuisance of beauty starved city dwelling humanity. The mystery, though, is how the beauty and potential of the King sister’s rock walls have not been entirely discovered and swarmed by climbers.
While most climbers are bedazzled by the glamor of the Yosemite sister, there may be some climbers that see more beauty and allure in the unnamed formations, un climbed cracks, un tapped faces, and un discovered classics of the Kings sister. Even John Muir, Yosemite’s most ardent courtier, fell under her spell. “Yet no individual rock in the valley equals El Capitan or Half Dome, but, on the other hand, from no position on the Yosemite walls could a section five miles in length be selected equal in downright beauty and grandeur to five miles of the middle portion of the south wall of the new valley (Kings Canyon).”
This day in age, the Kings Canyon offers climbers something unique. A land of choose your own adventure. Climbing for every mood. Sport, traditional, bouldering, and big walls. Shade or sun. Clean or dirty. Short or long approach. Granite or marble. The rock quality can be excellent on established routes and new routes will encounter the usual loose rocks, dirt, and vegetation.
Contribute and More Information:
Lack of available literature and information contributes to the low density of climbers (1-2 per valley most of the year). The limited route information can be hunted down in the out of print Southern Sierra Rock Climbing: Sequoia/Kings Canyon guide by Sally Moser that will cost a pretty penny online. Updated climbing information can be found at the Cedar Grove Ranger station (Spring 2010).Please contribute information on first ascents along with opinions and ratings of established climbs to the ranger station and Chelsea Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530 320 4724.
“Those who can should visit the valley at once, while it remains in primeval order.” John Muir. .
From Fresno, instead of following the traffic jam up 41 toward Yosemite, take Hwy 180 toward Kings Canyon. Hwy 180 will take a sinuous drive up to the park entrance. Stay left continuing on Hwy 180 toward Kings canyon, pass Grant Grove, through National Forest land and then dive into the depths of stunning Kings Canyon. Total driving time from Fresno= 2.5 hrs.
From Visalia take Hwy 63 North to Hwy 180 and continue East as previously directed. Total driving time from Visalia=2.5 hrs. Unfortunately there is no public transportation to Kings Canyon. Average approach time from parking to lower cliff walls = 10 min.
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Kings Canyon:
Climb up a flake, then pass a bolt (crux) at 20 feet and up to anchors. P2: climb up the corner (bring gear to #4 camalot) to a comfy belay ledge. P3: Up a section of wide crack then undercling out a roof (reminiscent of Commitment, in Yosemite Valley) to a comfy ledge. Rappel the route (bring extra webbing to back up the anchors)....[more]Browse More Classics in CA