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By StacySmith
Jul 11, 2014

Hi,

I was wondering if anyone has advice on living in Yosemite full time. I would be going alone in the hopes of meeting fellow climbers next spring (2015) that I could adventure with. I know Camp 4 is a common place climbers congregate, but according to park regulations a person can only stay in Camp 4 for seven days during the spring and summer. Any suggestions on where the more stationary locations are for people that want to climb full time? Do people just move around, or hide from rangers? This is probably a stupid forum to post, but I don't know anyone that's considered dirtbagging in Yosemite, so I figured I'd just ask. My apologies for my idiocy and ignorance. Also, for those of you that have dirtbagged in Yosemite for whatever period of time, are climbing partners fairly easy to come by?

Thank you for your time and assistance,
Stacy


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By Ryan Nevius
From The Range of Light
Jul 11, 2014
Mt. Agassiz

To live in Yosemite full time: get a job there (really).


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By Patrick Shyvers
From Fort Collins, CO
Jul 11, 2014
Me

Yosemite is very popular with very high traffic, so dirtbagging there is going to be harder than most any other place in the country. (Or so I hear)

If you plan on being there for more than just a week or two, I agree with Ryan- see if you can get a job there. Bonus: the rangers probably know their sh*t. You want someone who can talk to you about The Nose? Try your new coworker who has rescued scores of climbers off it!


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By mark felber
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Jul 11, 2014

People move around and employ various other stratagems. Before May 1 and after Sept. 15 (I think) the 7 day limit is somewhat relaxed.

Theoretically getting a job there will solve your problem, but the easy to get jobs tend to be really crappy low paying jobs with the concessionaire, while NPS jobs (which can also be crappy jobs) aren't nearly as easy to come by. There are also volunteer positions (campground host, etc.) that will let you stay there, but you'll be working for free.

Finding partners in Yosemite Valley is easier than in most places.


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By vincent L.
From Redwood City
Jul 11, 2014
First day of school

I worked for DNC in the valley on two occasions . It was easily some of the funniest most memorable times in my younger life. Getting a job with DNC is pretty do able , you will have to take a pee test . That gets you legit accommodations in the Park , and a meager wage .

Other than that , the dirt bagging lifestyle you seek in Yosemite might be difficult , especially since you say you don't really know how to go about it . You want your time in Yos. to be filled with climbing and hanging with great people , not worryin about where your going to lay your head every night . Dirt bagging in Yosemite is do able , but it is an art form and experience based , and it doesn't lend itself to being explained online .

Best of luck .


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By Ryan N
From San Louis Obispo
Jul 11, 2014
RJN

vincent L. wrote:
I worked for DNC in the valley on two occasions . It was easily some of the funniest most memorable times in my younger life. Getting a job with DNC is pretty do able , you will have to take a pee test . That gets you legit accommodations in the Park , and a meager wage . Other than that , the dirt bagging lifestyle you seek in Yosemite might be difficult , especially since you say you don't really know how to go about it . You want your time in Yos. to be filled with climbing and hanging with great people , not worryin about where your going to lay your head every night . Dirt bagging in Yosemite is do able , but it is an art form and experience based , and it doesn't lend itself to being explained online . Best of luck .


"It is an art form and experience based"

Best quote in this thread. Don't get your hopes up. Dirt bagging in Yosemite is much harder than other places. Though it's a nice place with world class climbing the summers are brutally hot in the valley and cooler in tolumne. Winters are cold. Most dirt baggers spend the spring and fall seasons there and are elsewhere during the off season.


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By StacySmith
Jul 11, 2014

Okay thanks guys. Do you have any ideas about other locations in the United States or Canada? Maybe Indian Creek or Squamish? I thought about Hueco Tanks because I hear that's popular (and quite hot), but I'm more of a multi-pitch kind of climber rather than a boulderer. I just want to be a climbing bum and I'd like to meet fellow climbing bums so we can potentially bum together.

Oh and one last question about Yosemite:
For those of you who have worked in the park, have you found that your coworkers climb? I considered a job there (I'm not terribly concerned with pay, just a way to stay in the park), but I figured it would be difficult to get the same days off or meet other climbers if I'm working.


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By Optimistic
From New Paltz
Jul 12, 2014

StacySmith wrote:
Okay thanks guys. Do you have any ideas about other locations in the United States or Canada? Maybe Indian Creek or Squamish? I thought about Hueco Tanks because I hear that's popular (and quite hot), but I'm more of a multi-pitch kind of climber rather than a boulderer. I just want to be a climbing bum and I'd like to meet fellow climbing bums so we can potentially bum together. Oh and one last question about Yosemite: For those of you who have worked in the park, have you found that your coworkers climb? I considered a job there (I'm not terribly concerned with pay, just a way to stay in the park), but I figured it would be difficult to get the same days off or meet other climbers if I'm working.


Why not just road-trip around the States and check stuff out? Bring partners with you, or find 'em on here when you get to wherever...

What's your home area? Nobody from there wants to hit the road?


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By Ryan N
From San Louis Obispo
Jul 12, 2014
RJN

StacySmith wrote:
Okay thanks guys. Do you have any ideas about other locations in the United States or Canada? Maybe Indian Creek or Squamish? I thought about Hueco Tanks because I hear that's popular (and quite hot), but I'm more of a multi-pitch kind of climber rather than a boulderer. I just want to be a climbing bum and I'd like to meet fellow climbing bums so we can potentially bum together. Oh and one last question about Yosemite: For those of you who have worked in the park, have you found that your coworkers climb? I considered a job there (I'm not terribly concerned with pay, just a way to stay in the park), but I figured it would be difficult to get the same days off or meet other climbers if I'm working.


Same thing with IC and Squamish, they are quite season dependent. I've known a few people who worked for that company that runs the majority of Yosemite concessions (not parks service) and they find plenty of time to climb and live just fine off the income taking the employee housing.


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By Simon W
Jul 12, 2014
Foreplay at The Pinnacles

StacySmith wrote:
Oh and one last question about Yosemite: For those of you who have worked in the park, have you found that your coworkers climb? I considered a job there (I'm not terribly concerned with pay, just a way to stay in the park), but I figured it would be difficult to get the same days off or meet other climbers if I'm working.


I've never worked in the park, but everytime I go I end up talking to DNC employees who are also climbers. No idea what the percentage is but it's enough that on all my trips I've chatted up at least one person working some random job there who climbs when they aren't working.


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Jul 12, 2014
El Chorro

Optimistic wrote:
Why not just road-trip around the States and check stuff out? Bring partners with you, or find 'em on here when you get to wherever... What's your home area? Nobody from there wants to hit the road?


What kind of climbing do you want to do? When are you going? What kind of vehicle do you own?

There are dozens of different areas in the US that are perfect for extended climbing trips, and it is not uncommon for people to link them up over a 12 month period. You basically just need to pick a place that is in season and drive to it. By the time you're ready to move on, you'll have met enough people and gotten enough info to know where to go next.


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By csproul
From Rancho Cordova, CA
Jul 12, 2014
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background

Simon W wrote:
I've never worked in the park, but everytime I go I end up talking to DNC employees who are also climbers. No idea what the percentage is but it's enough that on all my trips I've chatted up at least one person working some random job there who climbs when they aren't working.

^^this...it seems I am often running into park employees while climbing, so they must be able to get out often enough. Last time I was there I met a couple guys from Florida who had been there something like 6 years in a row. They made it sound like they get a lot of climbing done.


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By Greg G
From SLC, UT
Jul 12, 2014
The route in it's entirety.

stacy head to any of the locations you've spoken about, and meet up with the other transients in the area. you'll glean much more valuable information from those practicing dirtbags than from a bunch of internet wankers like us. the unknown is part of the draw right?


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By Erik Sloan
Jul 12, 2014

After September 15, Camp 4 goes to a 30 day limit, and the weather has been staying nice until mid November the last 10-15 years so plenty of time to climb in the fall.


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By Erik Sloan
Jul 12, 2014

I made a Yosemite Logistics page here:

www.yosemitebigwall.com/logistics


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By Mickey Sensenbach
From San luis obispo CA
Jul 12, 2014
me at the top of higher spire!

If you are a girl climber in yosemite looking for a climbing partner... You should have about 20 dirtbags willing to hold the rope!

If you have a car, Then yosemite is pretty easy to dirt bag, for me, the hardest part of yosemite is locking stuff up and food. If you have a car locking stuff up and having a little homebase is taken care of. for the food, because of bears I use two tactics. I either buy like 3 days of food and live around my bear locker somewhere like the bridge... Or I will only buy food as I need it so I don't have to worry about storing it.

I have always found camp 4 as a joke. It seems its just a whole lot of families and rangers. It is pretty darn easy to stealth camp in yosemite without being caught, just park your car, walk away from it into the woods for like 5 mins, then sleep.

From what I have seen of DNC and the general attitude of the employees, There is way to many depressed souls for me, I would much rather just save up some money and eat cheap and dirt bag. The climbers in DNC seem to never climb either..

Eriks page above is great! Best of luck!


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By mark felber
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Jul 12, 2014

DNC employees don't necessarily work a Monday-Friday, 9-5 schedule like a lot of people, and they don't all work the same schedule. Neither do a lot of NPS employees, for that matter. So, finding a co-worker who climbs is half the battle, matching your time off with his or her time off is the other half.

The number of park concession employees who climb seems to have increased over the years, but they are still a distinct minority. Most of the easily available jobs are pretty menial and low paying. If you can land a tipped job with lots of evening/night shifts (waiting tables, tending bar, etc.) and find a co-worker who works a similar schedule, life could be pretty good. Ditto if you're happy soloing or bouldering on your own. Otherwise, you might find yourself pretty frustrated, working a crap job and unable to take full advantage of all the climbing opportunities around you.


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By Trap
Jul 12, 2014

In Yosemite you will have time to climb, you will have partners and you can climb year round. Just go to the high country in the summer and hit up the alpine routes and I have had better weather in the valley in December and January than any other months. Just go already.


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By StacySmith
Jul 13, 2014

Ryan Williams wrote:
What kind of climbing do you want to do? When are you going? What kind of vehicle do you own? There are dozens of different areas in the US that are perfect for extended climbing trips, and it is not uncommon for people to link them up over a 12 month period. You basically just need to pick a place that is in season and drive to it. By the time you're ready to move on, you'll have met enough people and gotten enough info to know where to go next.


Personally, I'd like to do any kind of roped rock climbing. I don't have a preference if it's sport, trad, or mixed, and I'm a huge fan of pockets, slabs/flakes/lay-backs, and crimps, as well as anything longer than a single pitch. Overhung stuff is super fun, and I kind of want to try off-widths, but we'll see. My absolute favorite type of climbing is more alpine-based, but for all intensive purposes relating to this forum, I figured I'd have more luck meeting fellow climbers if I wasn't isolated in some obscure mountainous location. Oh and I own a 2007 Subaru Outback.

Erik Sloan wrote:
I made a Yosemite Logistics page here: www.yosemitebigwall.com/logistics


Erik this is so awesome!! Thank you for sharing!!! I'll most definitely use it. Nice work.


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By Mickey Sensenbach
From San luis obispo CA
Jul 13, 2014
me at the top of higher spire!

Yosemite is pretty much all trad... there are zero pockets that I know of.

"slabs/flakes/lay-backs, and crimps"... many of those for ya!

if you like alpine climbing then it will be perfect. Big wall climbing to multipitch trad routes... the high sierra is pure bliss as well!


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By TacoDelRio
From All up in yo bidniss.
Jul 17, 2014
We don't kick it with bustas in khaki g-strangs.

I've worked there and lived there without working. Helps to work there first and get to know the place and the people, makes the second option much much easier.

The jobs can be real chill or real crummy. I worked a ton of jobs and they paid well enough to afford eating and paying my student loans at a low $$$ amount, as well as getting gear slowly. Lived in most of the employee housing places. Rent was what, $40 a month? Not bad if you live for climbing, eh? Climbing everyday was pretty neat. Would've stayed longer if I was younger. The housing sucked. Got sick of walking into the community bathrooms and having the toilet literally overflowing with poo, and vomit in the sinks. There can be a lot of partying so if you're in yer early 20's or whatever, probably not a big deal.

Just my position, but I found I enjoy visiting there more than living there. Too far from my friends in SoCal who are a huge part of my existence. Got to do a ton of soloing and upped my game a few notches, but it taught me that I really enjoy sharing routes with the people I already love. Made a bunch of new friends, but missed my friends/family more than anything. Everyone is different though, so you might be completely satisfied where I felt lonely and detached, even if I was up on some wall.

Toprope soloing (microtraxing) helped a lot.

Have fun.


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Jul 17, 2014
El Chorro

Spring is tough. Could rain just about anywhere. If I were you I'd start off in the desert, from southern Utah to southern Cali. Get super strong and wait for the snow to melt. Spend the summer climbing in the Sierra, maybe head north for Squamish and Smith once it cools down. Then back down to the Valley in October. Then back to the desert.


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By JPVallone
Jul 18, 2014

I worked in the Valley for a bit for YCS back some time ago. Take the job, work a bit and learn the system. Quit the job and I am sure you will have a plan after you spend some time there and figure out some Dirtbag options.


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By StacySmith
Jul 20, 2014

Ah you are all so helpful! Thank you so much everyone!!


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By tobia
Jul 20, 2014
me

It has been far too many seasons since i was a "p.b." or "park bum"; as that was the epithet for dirt-baggers. Your inquiry brings back some great memories. I'm talking late 70's & early 80's. The "how-to's" of being an illegal resident, in those times were fairly easy; especially in the meadows. I doubt any of my tricks would fly now. I enjoyed the perks of being a legal resident and then some as I had more time to play.

It was not my intentional lifestyle; but after getting jerked around by YPCC when returning for my second season of employment, I readily adapted to the lifestyle. It would not have been as easy if not for the friends established in the prior season.

As stated above, spend a season as an employee, make some friends and then begin your days of squatting.


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By jocelyndoucet
From Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Qu
Jul 20, 2014

i would like to have a partner this year.
jocelyn.doucet.1agmail


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