New Instagram account reveals how many climbers are active in Yosemite every day

Two rock climbers on portaledges on triple direct, El Capitan, Yosemite Valley
(Image credit: Getty Images / Alex Eggermont)

A new Instagram account set up by Yosemite park rangers isn’t quite the big wall climbing equivalent of a live departures app for trains or buses, but it’ll do for now. And it’s also curiously browsable if you have a head geared for pattern-spotting.

What are we talking about? The Yosemite Big Wall Traffic instagram account, which began relaying daily data about rock climbing in Yosemite a week ago.

It shows how many climbers have started up the major Yosemite climbing routes every day. The information is based on the number of climbers who’ve received a wilderness climbing permit.

“This is a valuable tool to see how busy popular routes in Yosemite are,” said a spokesperson for the park’s rangers. “Daily updated posts will have information for yesterday, today and tomorrow. The more community buy-in that we have for the self-registration permits, the more accurate the data we can share with the people will be.”

Yosemite Big Wall Traffic instagram

 A snapshot of the Yosemite Big Wall Traffic Instagram. (Image credit: Yosemite Big Wall Traffic instagram)

Yosemite National Park has said that all climbers staying overnight on big wall climbs in Yosemite must have a wilderness climbing permit. If you are doing a day climb, you don’t need a wilderness climbing permit.

“Permits are issued using a 24-hour self-registration kiosk at El Cap meadow located right by the shuttle stop,” note the rangers. With a permit, climbers can bivouac on any vertical cliff, face, or wall in Yosemite provided that they are at least one pitch off the ground on a route that is Grade V or higher. 

So over the first week of the account’s operation you can see that El Capitan’s The Nose was by far the most popular, though there was a sudden rush on Triple Direct last Wednesday and Lurking Fall was popular the day before that.

Although communicating this data via social media is hardly utilizing the latest tech (and we’d assume Live Climbing Apps will be the next step if the site proves useful / popular) it’s still an interesting, easily accessible record of trends.