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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 Weekends

About the trip

Join us for a fun weekend of climbing, camping and companionship among the high mountains, domes and crags of the southern Yosemite High Country! Whether you are a beginner or experienced climber, this trip offers something for everyone. With high guide-client ratios, you’ll spend plenty of time up on the rock, while receiving focused attention for improving your climbing technique & technical skills.

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: Two nights tent camping at Bowler Campground in the scenic southern Yosemite high country. This quaint and rustic camp has basic amenities such as picnic tables, fireplaces and pit toilets. No shower facilities are available, though there are nearby creeks to wash up in at the end of the day. The site number will be posted at the campground entrance board.

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 Day 3. 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. Mostly we will be climbing, though there is ample time to focus on learning new skills as well as improving your climbing technique. Topics for the next two days could include:

An introductory session covering the fundamental principals of rock climbing, including belaying, knots, and climbing technique.

Movement and climbing practice aimed at progressing your physical skills. Your guide will help you through increasingly harder climbs throughout the weekend.

A customized, skills-focused day intended to answer any questions or solidify any skills you may have learned throughout the weekend.

Day 2

After a hearty breakfast prepared by your guide(s), we head to the rock for a morning of 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. Around 5pm, we return to the campsite where dinner, campfire, and conversation end the day's activities.

Day 3 

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

Trip Details

3 Days/2 Nights

Group size
Up to 6 participants

Difficulty Rating


2020 Trip Dates
May 29-31, 2020
June 19-21, 2020
June 26-28, 2020
July 24- 26, 2020


Ben and Sam were amazing. They made sure everyone on the trip got to meet their goals with the climbing. They also made sure everyone had a great time the rest of the trip during the approaches, in camp and so on. They kept everyone positive on hard climbs and really helped all of us push ourselves. I can't express how great of a job these guys did. We were skeptical being paired up with people we don't know in the woods for a weekend but it was awesome!!!

-Vincent Pellicaine, 2019

The weekend was awesome! Riley was excellent, the experience was educational and overall a blast. Thank you for a wonderful trip, looking forward to another SYMG experience!

-Jordan - Rock Weekend 2016

My twelve year old son and I just returned from a weekend rock climbing trip. Each conversation I had yesterday began with "Let me tell you about the great weekend I had". I can truly say I have never had a better family vacation than this weekend. Even my 12 year old son (who believed our rock climbing trip could not "top" Hawaii) said, "This is better than Hawaii!" Casey, our guide was patient, knowledgeable, supportive and encouraging. I appreciated his "exceptional ability" to connect with my son. By the end of the first day, Casey had become someone my son looked to for encouragement and support. Casey did this consistently and provided the appropriate limits a 12 year old boy need to hear (again and again). Casey is a great attribute to your staff. He truly went above the role of a guide and acted as a positive role model to my son. I appreciated his generosity of time and his willingness to do this. The activity of rock climbing was a "fit" for my son. He found the challenge rewarding and learned the virtue of persistence. Something every parent wants a young boy to learn. SYMG, thank you for making these opportunities available.

-- Terry Soares, September Private Rock Weekend

Albert - I wanted to give a big thank you to SYMG and especially our guide Patrick. The boys and I had a great time. Most importantly they had fun, and I learned more about climbing and safety. Patrick is a pro (as I'm sure you all are), was patient with the kids, helped me and them learn and we were able to work through a good pace for the boys. He was a great cook too, I've already made his polenta, cheese, ham and basil breakfast several times (I added tomato). We also were in Tahoe last week and we climbed up at Donner Summit and I used both climbing techniques and top rope safety setups similar to the ones I learned. Thanks for the great trip and a fantastic experience for me and my son's making climbing come alive a bit more. Gosh I wish I'd started so young! Thanks again.

-- John Hubinger Rock Weekend