Midnight Lightning (bouldering)

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Midnight Lightning
Midnight Lightning yosemite.jpg
Unknown climber on Midnight Lightning with its iconic lightning bolt
Location Yosemite National Park
Coordinates 37°44′30″N 119°36′07″W / 37.7418°N 119.602°W / 37.7418; -119.602
Climbing Area Camp 4 (Yosemite)
Route Type Bouldering
Rating V8 (7B/7B+)
First ascent Ron Kauk, 1978

Midnight Lightning is a bouldering problem on the Columbia Boulder in Camp 4 of Yosemite National Park. It has been described as the world's most famous bouldering problem.[1] The first ascent was by Ron Kauk in 1978; the first female ascent was by Lynn Hill in 1998.[2] Sam Moses, writing in Sports Illustrated said the most difficult move on Midnight lightning is a "spider-monkey swing 15 feet (4.6 metres) off the ground. The climber must suspend himself by the fingertips of his left hand, swing around a ledge of rock and propel himself far enough up, about four feet, to grab a precarious fingertip hold with his right hand. To do that he has to create momentum from stillness."[3]

The problem had been easily identified by a chalk lightning bolt draw by John Bachar in 1978 while attempting the problem with John Yablonski and Ron Kauk. In May 2013, the iconic chalk lightning bolt was scrubbed off the face of the boulder.[1] The bolt was re-drawn in the same location a few days later.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Midnight Lightning bolt, the icon of free climbing in Yosemite disappears for a day". planetmountain.com. 7 May 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  2. ^ Corey Rich (August 2008). "Yosemite in 3-D". National Geographic. Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  3. ^ Sam Moses (2 June 1986). "On The Rocks, Kauk Is It". Sport Illustrated. Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  4. ^ Brendon Leonard (9 May 2013). "Climber Removes Yosemite’s Iconic ‘Midnight Lightning’". Adventure Journal. Retrieved 9 May 2013.