Mountain Climbing Challenges Like Those in Yosemite’s “Tuolumne Meadow" Near Courtright

     California is the Holy Grail for mountain climbers. The undeniable draw of Yosemite National Park is well known. In the Eastern Sierra, the Owen’s River Gorge beckons you. Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert is for those that love the challenge of free-standing and stacked boulders.
     Here in our big backyard is the “lost sister” to Yosemite’s ever captivating Tuolumne Meadows. As the crow flies, Courtright Reservoir is located due east of Shaver Lake. This location boasts the same qualities as that of the terrain found in upper Yosemite. Pristine, high quality granite domes torture a climber’s imagination and entices any adventurer to scout the infinite possibilities.
     The signature landmark here is the 500 foot high Power Dome. Teeming with a host of 5-pitch, friction scare-a-thons, Power Dome will make a marked impression in the minds and hearts of inspiring rock jocks.
     Scattered around the perimeter of the reservoir are a myriad of other domes and walls. Trapper, Spring, Maxon, Penstemon and Dusy are just a few domes that provide countless adventures, where traditional and sport climbs abound.
     Although the domes provide ample friction,
smear and fine edge climbing routes, Courtright also offers several crack climbs at areas like Tiger Wall and Tiger Cage. Best of all, you won’t find yourself pulling from the ticker- tape to wait your place in line for a route, nor is there any entrance fee into the Sierra National Forest.
     There are paid campsites available in Courtright, maintained by PG&E for $25 per night. The campsites are provided with picnic tables, fire pits, water and pit toilets. There are two sites: Voyager Rock on the shore (14 tent sites only) and Trapper Springs on the western shoreline, 2.2 miles to the north, with 75 tents sites and 45 trailer sites. This campground is within stone’s throw distance to both Spring Dome (aka Marmot Dome) and Trapper Dome.
     Although a fire permit is required for any campfire constructed in the national forest, the remaining amenities are FREE! Permits can be acquired at the Sierra National Forest building, in Prather along 168. For reservations to both campgrounds, call 877-444-6777.
     Use Greg Vernon’s Southern Sierra Rock Climbing: Sequoia/Kings Canyon guidebook. Written in 1993, it is extremely helpful. It is available from This guidebook provides information on the “how’s, where’s, what’s and when’s” to Courtright climbing.

Climbing behind Courtright Reservoir is becoming popular.