Yosemite Climbers Help Preserve the Protected Peregrine Falcon

03/19/2013

Yosemite’s granite walls are home to some of the most iconic climbing routes in the world. The same cliffs where climbers push human boundaries are also where the Peregrine Falcon, a special status raptor, nests and raises young. Peregrine

This once endangered species has begun to flourish in the Sierra, partially because of the cooperation between climbers and the National Park Service. Over the last 35 years, climbers have been front row witnesses as falcons have repopulated the Yosemite region. To see a raptor capture its prey in mid-air while on route is truly one of the special qualities of the Yosemite climbing experience. Check out this video of a peregrine falcon hanging out with climbers on Ahwahnee Ledge on the Leaning Tower.

This extraordinary example of a peregrine’s success, however, is not assured. Nests can be easily disturbed by humans and young chicks have died because people have ignored closures. Those who have ignored closures have been cited and fined—but that’s not the solution. The peregrine’s continued success is only possible when everyone does their part to provide a safe and respectable distance for this beautiful raptor.

As we move into spring and the park service initiates temporary closures to protect peregrine nests, we remind all climbers to do their part to ensure that peregrines have their place preserved on the iconic walls of Yosemite. Become familiar with closures, observe them, and pass the word.

For more information about peregrines and how climbers helped in their recovery at Yosemite, check out page 8 of this Vertical Times story by Park Biologist, Sarah Stock. And next time you’re in Yosemite, keep your eyes peeled for a peregrine and enjoy one of the truly unique and memorable experiences of climbing.