Yosemite Camp 4

7:04 a.m. on December 3, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

a.k.a. Keith V.

In June of 2003, I'll be heading to Yosemite (after climbing Whitney) for some hiking and bouldering. How difficult is it to get a campsite at Camp 4? I realize it is a "first come, first serve" site, but is there any advice on securing a site?

12:15 p.m. on December 3, 2002 (EST)
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In June ...

If you arrive after mid-morning, you probably won't get a site, unless you can persuade someone to share (actually, pretty likely if you are the standard dirtbag climber). You really need to bivy at the booth to be in line by sunrise. I exagerate a bit. Midweek is easier than weekends starting Friday noon.

2:28 p.m. on December 3, 2002 (EST)
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Not likely to share at Camp IV...

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In June ...

If you arrive after mid-morning, you probably won't get a site, unless you can persuade someone to share (actually, pretty likely if you are the standard dirtbag climber). You really need to bivy at the booth to be in line by sunrise. I exagerate a bit. Midweek is easier than weekends starting Friday noon.

Share? Very unlikely. Camp IV is a "per person" type arrangement. You can "share" a regular campsite. Folks at Camp IV pay per person, not per site. They usually allow a set number of tents at a site (4?). Unless you can talk your way into someone's tent, most folk won't let you share because it will be easy for a ranger to count the tents and figure someone's not playing by the rules.

In prime time, I'd say most folk start linin' up at the Camp IV kiosk by 5:30am.

We checked last fall, round early/mid October. No way. Was fully booked. Folks lining up at 5am were gettin' turned away.

Hear rumor that Camp IV is goin' to be expanded to add a few more sites? Might help.

My advice is that if you know your dates far in advance, get a campsite in one of the Valley campgrounds. Or, try to check in early mid week. Weekends? Ugh. Busy busy.

Also, Camp IV is a busy and loud place and very hard to get a decent nights sleep there.

Good info on www.supertopo.com.

Brian in SLC

5:14 p.m. on December 4, 2002 (EST)
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Not my experience

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Share? Very unlikely.

I haven't had much problem with this, at least arriving midweek, even in summer. And yes, obviously, "share" means pay your share as well. Limits on tents and bodies per campsite are standard everywhere.

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In prime time, I'd say most folk start linin' up at the Camp IV kiosk by 5:30am.

We checked last fall, round early/mid October. No way. Was fully booked. Folks lining up at 5am were gettin' turned away.

Like I said, ya gotta be in line by dawn on weekends and holidays. In June/July/Aug, this means 4:30-5:00 AM, and probably don't even try on MemDay/July 4/Labor Day. I don't go to the Valley then anyway (except when I get my free campsite, and even then I don't try to climb in the Valley).

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Hear rumor that Camp IV is goin' to be expanded to add a few more sites? Might help.

It is in one of the alternatives in the current Yosemite Master Plan. Then again, the plan keeps getting "updated".

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My advice is that if you know your dates far in advance, get a campsite in one of the Valley campgrounds. Or, try to check in early mid week. Weekends? Ugh. Busy busy.

Lead time is 6 months for the regular campgrounds. That's when the reservations open - 6 calendar months before the date desired. If you want a midweek arrival during the off-season, you can sometimes get a reservation on shorter notice. But there are campgrounds outside the Valley year around that are available on less notice. And there's always the Curry tent-cabins (rather pricey for what your get).


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Also, Camp IV is a busy and loud place

True, but I consider it a very sociable continuous 24-hour party.

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...and very hard to get a decent nights sleep there.

Depends on how tired you are from climbing.

5:51 p.m. on December 5, 2002 (EST)
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Hmmmmm....

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Share? Very unlikely.

I haven't had much problem with this, at least arriving midweek, even in summer. And yes, obviously, "share" means pay your share as well. Limits on tents and bodies per campsite are standard everywhere.

Nope. Camp IV is per person, campsites are per site, with a limit on the number of cars/people. Big difference.

We got lucky sharing with a group in the upper pines last fall. No such luck in Camp IV as it was FULL. That means you can't share (unless you do so illegally).

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Like I said, ya gotta be in line by dawn on weekends and holidays. In June/July/Aug, this means 4:30-5:00 AM, and probably don't even try on MemDay/July 4/Labor Day. I don't go to the Valley then anyway (except when I get my free campsite, and even then I don't try to climb in the Valley).

Uhh...just curious, know you've been in the valley a bazillion times more than me, but, when was the last time you asked to "share" a site in Camp IV? Did you camp illegally or pay at the kiosk? And, if there was space available, did you really need to ask to share (courtesy of course but, if the only space available then, its a given in my mind)?

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Lead time is 6 months for the regular campgrounds. That's when the reservations open - 6 calendar months before the date desired. If you want a midweek arrival during the off-season, you can sometimes get a reservation on shorter notice. But there are campgrounds outside the Valley year around that are available on less notice. And there's always the Curry tent-cabins (rather pricey for what your get).

Easy to check as the availability is on-line.

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Also, Camp IV is a busy and loud place

True, but I consider it a very sociable continuous 24-hour party.

Yeah, right...!

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...and very hard to get a decent nights sleep there.

Depends on how tired you are from climbing.

How about how tired you are from trying to sleep and get an early start to climb? And, if you're gettin' off a route late in the day, just how do you get a campsite after climbing?

I think I got you on this one, Bill...har har...

Yosemite Valley, heavy sigh, awesome place, bad for sleepin'. What with the man eatin' racoons (was too was too) and bear patrols at all hours, ugly.

My opinion, best bet for pre climb sleep is to camp outsite the park...or bivy at the base of a route.

Brian in SLC

1:48 p.m. on December 6, 2002 (EST)
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Re: Hmmmmm....

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I haven't had much problem with this, ...

Nope. Camp IV is per person, campsites are per site, with a limit on the number of cars/people. Big difference.

You mean something different by "share" than I do. Camp 4 has limits on number of bodies and on number of tents within what they designate as a campsite. You can have the max bodies all in a single tent, or you can have the max tents with one body in each. Each body pays. So you can share space within the area of a campsite, but you pay for yourself. No cars, it's walk-in (sometimes the parking lot is full). In principle, the ranger keeps track of how many bodies and how many tents, but some folks can be real surly about sharing turf. I ran into one guy where there were the max 4 tents, the one guy occupying two tents (one had his gear), the other two tents having 2 each, so room for 1 more body in the site. When asked if he would consolidate his gear into the one tent or his car, "ain't got no car, have to have the tent" was the reply. Another site supposedly on the record had 2 tents, 3 folks, but there were 4 tents and about 8 or 9 folks there. I asked about moving in, since the record showed only the 2+3 - nope, we all live here (all but the 2+3 were gone around sundown, but I found friendly neighbors to share space with by then).

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Like I said, ya gotta be in line by dawn on weekends and holidays. In June/July/Aug, this means 4:30-5:00 AM, and probably don't even try on MemDay/July 4/Labor Day. I don't go to the Valley then anyway (except when I get my free campsite, and even then I don't try to climb in the Valley).

Uhh...just curious, know you've been in the valley a bazillion times more than me, but, when was the last time you asked to "share" a site in Camp IV?

July

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..Did you camp illegally or pay at the kiosk?

at the kiosk

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..And, if there was space available, did you really need to ask to share (courtesy of course but, if the only space available then, its a given in my mind)?

See above. Officially, the ranger says "site 5 has a tent and 2 bodies available" but sometimes, well would you want to share space with someone with a "Deliverance" attitude and look? I've always found sites with friendlier neighbors, although I avoid the known busy weekends. Other thing I've been doing in the past few years when possible is take advantage of my "freebies" - no charges, free site at a special location, some meals included, but with some obligations to fulfill that are actually a lot of fun.

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Lead time is 6 months for the regular campgrounds. That's when the reservations open - ....

Easy to check as the availability is on-line.

Yeah, but if you choose a overly popular time, the reservations fill up within a few hours of becoming available at the 6-month lead time. This is mainly the mid-June through Labor Day period, including sometimes mid-week. But that's when you want to go to Tuolumne, anyway.

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...and very hard to get a decent nights sleep there.

Depends on how tired you are from climbing.

How about how tired you are from trying to sleep and get an early start to climb? And, if you're gettin' off a route late in the day, just how do you get a campsite after climbing?

I think I got you on this one, Bill...har har...

Use earplugs. I mostly do day climbs these days, so I keep the same location. And if it is a multi-day climb, you probably have a non-climbing companion who keeps the home fire burning and the pot of soup hot for when you drag in at midnight. Why didn't you get the tent pitched before you took off for the climb? Anyway, most folks these days do a route on El Cap plus one on Half Dome between sunrise and sunset on a typical summer day (OGBO is lucky to do 20 feet of bouldering in 24 hours, but 2 classic Grade VI in 12 hours is what everybody is claiming these days).

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Yosemite Valley, heavy sigh, awesome place, bad for sleepin'. What with the man eatin' racoons (was too was too) and bear patrols at all hours, ugly.

Are those raccoons related to the rabbits in Georgia? The bears are active in the Valley all year around these days. We saw them out and about at 8 PM in mid-January last year, even with snow on the ground.

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My opinion, best bet for pre climb sleep is to camp outsite the park...or bivy at the base of a route.

Agreed. Although in summer, there are some very nice, quiet campgrounds not far outside the Valley, within the park. You just have to know where they are.

3:56 p.m. on December 6, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

Re: Hmmmmm....

Hey guys,

I spent 7 weeks in Camp 4 this year and didn't pay for a single night, had a great time with all my camp mates, didn't get accousted by a ranger a single time, and september and october seemed more like a old folks home, quiet, I meam QUIET by 9 pm every night but 2 I can put my finger on, noisy by 6 am though, damn early risers.

Probably a good 40 to 100 people spend the night each night without paying. No tent, but most keep food etc. in bear boxes.

Most likely in the near future Camp 4 will double in size, the plans are up in the air, but it seems this is the committment that has settled in to the plans, all the new sites to be constructed on the other side of the parking lot, towards Swan slab, SAR to move to that side, no road between Camp 4 and the lodge anymore...

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