National Register of Historic Places in Mariposa County

Camp 4 in Yosemite Valley, California
19 December 2006
(Click Photo to Zoom)
National Register #03000056
Camp 4
Northside Drive
Yosemite Valley
Period of Significance: 1947-1970

Yosemite National Park played a pivotal role in the development of modern rock climbing from 1947 to 1970, what climbers called the "golden age."

Yosemite Valley the epicenter of the evolution of climbing techniques and technology, as well as the evolution of beliefs about the best way to climb. Yosemite rock climbers invented big wall climbing, an activity that allowed them to ascend for the first time Yosemite Valley's vertical granite cliffs. Their accomplishments brought rock climbing into the modern age, and earned Yosemite Valley an international reputation as a climbing Mecca.

The methods developed here would affect climbing throughout the world. Although climbing took place above the Valley floor, Camp 4 served as the campground as well as the intellectual and social arena for Yosemite's expert climbers and climbing innovators. It was a meeting ground and focal point for training activities, ascent planning, the distribution of information and equipment, philosophical debates about climbing standards, and the comradeship and esprit de corps that defined the early days and history of the sport.

Camp 4, then, is associated with the broader history of climbing; it is the place that best represents the evolution of modern rock climbing in both the minds of climbers and the general public.

During 1970s and 1980, the National Park Service renovated the campground and instituted new regulations. Although climbers who had lived in Camp 4 during the 1960s declared that these changes ended the era of laissez faire camping, Camp 4 retained its place as the physical and spiritual center of rock climbing in Yosemite.

At the turn of the 21st century, it continued to attract new generations of world-class climbers.

Excerpted from the NRHP nomination.

Prev | Next
Mariposa County: List | Map
California: List | Map