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Yosemite's Camp 4

Camp 4, the climbers camp is situated on the north side of the road just across from Yosemite Lodge, where one finds a restaurant, cafeteria, bar, lounge, market, and accommodations for those who don’t want to camp or to stay at Yosemite’s high class Ahwahnee Hotel.  Camp 4 is and always was a scruffy place.  That’s one of the reasons we like it so much: it wasn’t neat and orderly like other campgrounds in the Valley.  When we first went there, in the early 1950′s, it was already the climbers’ camp, a spot dotted with large boulders and with campsites in irregular places.  I guess the Park Service thought it was good enough for climbers.  They were right.  We loved the boulders and were happy to have a spot on the ground to throw our sleeping bags.  We could find a table for our campsite, and if we didn’t like where it was we would move it.  Camp 4 was our “home”, our refuge from the “world out there.”  Occasionally tourists in large RV’s, refugees perhaps from full campgrounds in the east end of the Valley, would park there.  But they usually didn’t stay long.  They didn’t care for the anarchy, but it suited climbers fine.  The 1960′s were a time of great upheaval in society, with war, protests and universities shut down.  But we climbers mostly ignored it.  We concentrated on the walls of Yosemite.  And we spent a lot of time in Camp 4, talking about literature, philosophy, girls, life in general, and of course, our next climb.  Camp 4 was a good place to eat, to live, to chat with friends, and to booze a little – a good gathering place.

- Royal Robbins