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Difficulty descriptions are by nature very subjective. The categories below represent generalized distinctions in terrain, level of commitment, time spent at elevation and overall trip duration. Level of commitment refers to the ability to opt out of activities such as peak ascents from a base camp. A committing trip requires a daily mileage to be completed each day.

These trips typically travel on groomed trails at a leisurely pace. You can expect maintained trails, gentle grades and more flexibility in terms of your destination for the day. Hikers will carry mainly the essentials in a light daypack and travel anywhere from 3 to 8 miles depending on the trip or preference.

Moderate- Basecamps
These include hiking, backpacking, or stock-supported trips that take place mostly on maintained trails to get to camp. These trips hike into a set basecamp and then offer optional destinations with varying degrees of challenge. You can expect modest climbs on uneven terrain. Total distances are often 4-7 miles of hiking per day over 3-4 days of hiking.

These trips include on- and off-trail hiking or backpacking or stock-supported trips. The trails can consist of uneven terrain with modest to difficult climbs and some steep passes (gains of 1000-2000’). These trips are typically 3-5 days in duration but can be longer. For backpacking trips, they can include carrying a fully weighted pack (30-42lbs) and travel 6-10 miles per day.

These trips include on- and off-trail hiking, backpacking or stock-supported trips with uneven terrain and steep grades and passes. These trips are more physically and mentally challenging and usually 7-8 days in duration. For backpacking trips, pack weight will consist of (30-40lbs). Because these types of trips have a required mileage to complete each day, the level of commitment is high. Trips in this category spend significant time at higher elevations and often cover 8-12+ miles per day with average gains/losses of 1,500-3,000’ per day. The most successful people on these trips have some prior overnight backcountry experience.

These trips include on- and off-trail hiking or backpacking on uneven terrain with steep grades. These trips travel 10-12+ miles per day and can vary from 8-21 days in length. Given the mileage and duration, there is an increased amount of physical and mental challenge throughout the trip. Pack weights will consist of 35-45lbs depending on the resupply schedule. Because these types of trips have a required mileage to complete each day, the level of commitment to reach your destination is high. The most successful people on these trips have extensive overnight backcountry experience.

Rock Climbing Camps

About the trip

Our five-day rock camps are designed to get you out climbing, increase your skill set, and to bring like-minded people together in a pristine wilderness setting. The days are filled with fun, variable climbing on the areas famed domes and crags, while making time for instruction on a variety of climbing-related skills. At the end of the trip, you’ll have made great friends, climbed memorable routes, and will have furthered your skill set to be a more competent and efficient climber.

Whether you are a beginner or experienced climber, this trip offers something for everyone. With high guide-client ratios, you’ll spend plenty up on the rock, while receiving individualized attention for improving your climbing technique & technical skills. We focus on technique, placing protection, rope handling, anchor building, basic rescue and overall efficiency. All of the classes are catered to the interests and abilities of the trip participants.

We guide in the scenic southern Yosemite high country with access to more than 1,000 different climbs including Fresno Dome, Shuteye Ridge and The Balls areas. Sport, trad, top-roping or multi-pitch routes are all possibilities. Away from the hustle and bustle of Yosemite Valley, this spectacular area is perfect for teaching and creating intimate, personalized experiences.

SYMG guides are professional, highly experienced, and hold certifications commiserate with the level of guiding they provide. And of course they are enjoyable people to be around! All have spent years perfecting their skills in and around Yosemite and look forward to not only teaching and guiding you in these spectacular locations, but getting to know you as well.

Accommodations: Four nights tent camping in the scenic southern Yosemite high country. More detailed descriptions & directions are included with your pre-trip packet.

Equipment: We supply all group camping and climbing gear (ropes, protection, stoves, cookware, water filters, group first aid kit, etc.). We can also supply personal equipment (rock shoes, harness, helmet, sleeping bag, ground pad, and tent) upon request with no additional fee. You are welcome to bring your own personal camping and/or camping equipment if you prefer. A detailed gear list will be sent to you upon registration.

Meals: We provide all meals and snacks from Dinner on Day 1 to Lunch and snacks on the final day. Our "Backcountry Gourmet" meals have been acclaimed in Sunset Magazine. We take pride in providing excellent meals even in remote surroundings.

Your Cost Includes: Meals (as noted above), group camping gear (as noted above), personal camping equipment (as noted above), personal climbing gear (as noted above), applicable permits, professional mountain guide(s), pre-trip planning packet, and trip support from our friendly office staff.

Not Included: Transportation, personal gear (except as noted above), tips for guides (10-20% of trip cost is typical), and optional trip cancelation insurance.

Preparation: No experience required. We cater to all levels of physical and technical proficiency. However, a basic rock climbing class in the rock gym, reading rock climbing instructional books and watching rock climbing videos will all enhance your experience and steepen your learning curve.


Day 1:  

Meet at the Pines Resort Bakery at 4pm. After a short trip orientation, you'll follow your guide(s) in your vehicle to the climbing camp, a little over an hour away (all roads are accessible with a two-wheel drive vehicle, though an SUV style vehicle may be more comfortable on the dirt roads). We'll set up camp and your guide(s) will prepare a welcome dinner for everyone. We'll also ask you about your experience, skills, and goals for the trip and choose routes most appropriate for your interests and ability. We then pair up participants with others who share in the same goals. We strive to ensure a safe, rewarding, and enjoyable experience for everyone.

Day 2:  

After a hearty breakfast prepared by your guide(s), we head to the rock for a morning of single-pitch climbing. In addition to plenty of memorable time on the rock, you’ll receive personalized instruction from your guide(s) both on the ground and up on the wall. Typical classes include gear placement and anchor building as well as personalized technique instruction. Around 5pm, we return to the campsite where dinner, campfire, and conversation end the day's activities.

Day 3: 

Today it’s back to the rock for another day of climbing. We’ll continue on with our educational goals, moving into more varied climbing terrain where you can practice and hone your technical skills. We’ll also present new topics such as basic rescue techniques, rope handling & efficiency, and/or multi-pitch scenarios. Around 5pm, we return to the campsite where dinner, campfire, and conversation end the day's activities.

Day 4:  

In addition to climbing in a new area, we can spend this day in a variety of ways. Possibilities include multi-pitch climbs, practicing leading routes (mock leading only) or spending more time dialing in skills learned on the previous days. Around 5pm, we return to the campsite where dinner, campfire, and conversation end the day's activities.

Day 5:  

Our final day begins with breakfast and then it’s back to the rock. In addition to more new climbs, we’ll continue with the instructional component of the trip based on your personal progression. We’ll finish the day between 2-3 pm.

Trip Details

5 Days

Group size
Up to 9 participants 1:3 guide-participant ratio

Difficulty Rating



2020 Trip Dates
June 10-14, 2020
June 24-28, 2020
July 1-5, 2020
July 29- August 2, 2020


Both Nick and Riley were great guides. Rock camp exceeded my expectations and I am so happy to have gone on this trip. The daily meals were delicious! The group had a great chemistry and I learned so much. Thank you for the fantastic time!

-Katie B, 2016

"Once in my lifetime I want to go rock climbing in Yosemite" was, what my husband Siegfried uttered a few months ago and what gave me the idea for my present for his 60th birthday. Trying to make such dream happen is however an endeavour with a certain risk when one tries to make the necessary arrangements from remote Germany and without too much knowledge of the local situation.

My research on the internet brought me in contact with your team and Ian Elman in particular. From that time on everything looked pretty easy and doable even from a distance of some thousand miles. You set up a plan for a 3-days, private rock climbing "clinic", found us a pleasant accomodation at the Pines Resort at Bass Lake and were even able to get us an additional night within very short notice - thank you, Ian and Andrea.

"Our" guide, Alex Kendrall, was a pleasure to "work" with. Alex impressed us not only by his excellent climbing skills and personality as a guide and instructor. His constant focus on the utmost safety was of the highest level we had seen from mountain guides in the Alps. Thanks to Alex these three days made the trip the "lifetime experience" my husband had looked for and left me very satisfied with the decision to trust on you experts at Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides.

-Annette B, 2014

My sister and I totally enjoyed our rock climbing adventure last week. The climbing was superb and the instruction was even better. Our guide was very thorough and extremely patient. He emphasized safety consistently which made us feel very secure. I learned a great deal in that short time and I thank you for a wonderful experience.

-Marian Y, 2010

Dear albert, I had a wonderful time during my rock climbing trip this past week. It was well planned and executed by everyone. Thank You Very Much!

-Jorge A, 2009