PG SF Manager Eliot shares his experiences at the 2013 Yosemite Facelift event from September. The Facelift is a volunteer, park-wide clean-up organized by the Yosemite Climbing Association. 

I first heard about the Yosemite Facelift years ago while lurking around the internet on Supertopo. Since that first introduction to it, I’ve always kept it in my mind as something I wanted to be a part of someday.  I was finally able to go this past September with a few friends and co-workers from the PG community.

The Yosemite Facelift is organized by the Yosemite Climbing Association and most notably, the organization’s President, Ken Yager.  Ken is a long time Valley climber who saw the need to give back to the park by organizing a clean-up after the heavy tourist season and at the start of the climbing season.  In partnership with The National Park Service, the Delaware North Company and the Yosemite Conservancy, the Yosemite Facelift is the largest Access Fund Adopt a Crag event in the country.

The 10th Annual Yosemite Facelift! Photos from the Yosemite Facelift Facebook page

The main theme throughout the week was how easy they made it for volunteers to participate! You were issued a free campsite for the entire week with no obligation on how many days to collect trash. Volunteers were also free to choose what area of the park to go to for their day of hiking or climbing, picking up trash and debris throughout the day.

2013 Facelift

Eliot and Cristina at Mirror Lake. Photos by Ryan Daffurn.

In the morning you would check-in with one of the coordinators and let them know where you were planning on going for the day.  They would make note of it and hand you pinchers, gloves and a large black plastic bag.

2013 Facelift

Eliot getting ready to go at check-in! Photos by Cristina Valerio

There was also a historical aspect that was really cool. When you first checked in at the kiosk you received a brief tutorial about the archeological items you might find on your search.  Anything older than 50 years is considered an artifact from early settlers- some examples were colored glass and square nails- and these items were to be left alone.

Archaeological items.  Photo by Christina Valerio

Archaeological items. Photo by Christina Valerio

At the end of the day you returned your full bag which was then weighed.  After turning it in you received a raffle ticket for the chance to win prizes later on that night. Timmy O’Neill did the raffle for one of the nights.

2013 Facelift

With 1600 unique volunteers coming out for the 2013 event, 22,000 lbs of garbage was collected!

Every night had entertainment planned with a variety of presenters from Chris McNamara, Doug Robinson, Pamela Shanti Pack, Mayan Smith-Gobat, Tommy Caldwell and more.   There was a film night with Reel Rock 8, dancing, live music and awesome signature mugs from Klean Kanteen.

2013 Yosemite Facelift

Evening programs and the Facelift water bottle and pint cup from Klean Kanteen. Photo from the Yosemite Facelift Facebook page

We all left with a really positive feeling about the whole experience! Everyone was able to hike and climb what they wanted and at the same time, help clean-up one of our favorite outdoor areas. See you next year at the 2014 Facelift!

PG Staff in the valley

PG staff and members out rock climbing in the valley. Photos by Cristina Valerio.

*For more information about the Yosemite Climbing Association and the Yosemite Facelift event, click here.*


Eliot- Manager at PG SF

Written by Eliot, the new Manager of PG San Francisco- A native of Sonoma, Eliot’s dad introduced him to camping, backpacking and mountaineering at an early age.  After taking a rock-climbing course in Leavenworth, Washington, he immediately became hooked. While studying the last few years at UC San Diego, Eliot made the granite laden foothills of Mt. Woodson a home away from home. He’s always looking for enthusiastic climbers to share a rope or crash pad.