If you go

If you don’t know an experienced climber willing to teach you, you should learn either with a professional guide or as part of an outdoor program. Climbing trips and classes are offered through Outdoor Adventures at the University of California, Davis; Peak Adventures at California State University, Sacramento; and Outdoor Connections at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. Cosumnes River College physics Professor George Knott teaches a mountaineering class each semester. Also, remember that safety and respect for the land are important at all climbing areas. A few reminders:

• Learn safe climbing techniques.

• Practice techniques in low-pressure situations.

• Climb with experienced, respectful leaders until you gain enough time on the rock.

• Trust your comfort zone and go at your own pace.

• Respect those climbing with you and around you, especially in crowded areas.

• Continue to climb safely while racking up experience. Don’t let laziness become a habit just because nothing’s gone wrong before.

• Don’t get distracted while climbing or belaying. If a distraction comes from hunger, thirst, fatigue, fear or pain, take care of the distraction or stop climbing.

• Relieve yourself away from the base of the climbing areas.

• Pack out all trash, including toilet paper.

• Stick to existing trails.

• Leave the dogs home. Locals say few come to Cosumnes River Gorge because of the potential to drown in the river. People also have drowned trying to swim in the gnarly water below the climbing area. In summer, calm swimming holes can be found downstream.

Key to a good climbing experience at Cosumnes is the guidebook by local climber Will Cottrell. An updated guide will be available through REI, climbing gyms and El Dorado Publishing by May. The book includes information about a second climbing area near Placerville.

—Suzanne Hurt