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Yosemite Climbers Keep Climbing Despite Shutdown

Yosemite climbers have taken their defiance of law enforcement officials to a whole new level. With the government shutdown closing all the nation's national parks, climbers in Yosemite simply headed up El Cap anyway.

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Climbers on El Cap with Headlamps.  Photo by Redditor LiquidColorApparently nothing will stop climbers from realizing their dreams and sending projects on America’s most iconic cliff, El Capitan in Yosemite Valley. Not even a government shutdown.

This photo, taken by Reddit user LiquidColor, shows numerous parties with headlamps heading up the Nose and the Salathé Wall on El Cap.

Yosemite National Park closed last Tuesday amid a budget impasse in the United States Congress. As part of a Department of the Interior contingency plan, all national parks were closed (see Rock and Ice’s recent article) as a result of Congress’ inability to appropriate funds for the fiscal year 2014. It is unknown when they will be open again.

The closures sparked outrage amid climbers and other outdoorsmen and women alike. Last Friday, protests raged outside the gates of Yosemite, with protesters raising posters with slogans like “Yosemite Held Hostage” and “Parks for People, Not Politics,” according to a KCET.org news report.

And Yosemite isn’t the only national park where people have entered in protest. According to KSL.com, a group of a dozen hikers entered Utah’s Zion National Park on Saturday and dubbed themselves “Occupy Zion,” according to the news report.

While many people applaud the protests, there are those that view them with disapproval.

“If these people have any respect for our National Park rangers they will stop. Yes, it’s awful to be shut out of the parks, but try to see the big picture, people. There are plenty of previously underpaid and now currently unpaid rangers out there who will have to deal with you if you go into the parks … Making a statement to politicians is one thing. Adding to the burden of our already burdened federal employees is another,” one user wrote on Outsideonline.com

Either way, national parks are still closed for the foreseeable future. Please keep checking Rock and Ice for updates regarding the government shutdown and its effect on the climbing community.