President Obama and the White House Show Love to Rock Climbing

It’s not every day that you see the POTUS hanging out in Yosemite Valley (the last one was JFK in 1962!), which is why President Obama’s visit to this iconic climbing destination this past weekend (and other incredible national treasures of this country) was a giddy moment for all of us.

Moreover, it’s certainly not every day that you see rock climbers featured all over the White House Instagram … What a huge testament to the growing respect and appreciation for the outdoors and this sport!

Alex Manelis (@AManelis) here. Yosemite Valley has been a special place for me. I learned most of my climbing there and have experienced the good and the bad. I’ve met some great friends there who have taught me most of the skills I’ve needed to grow as an individual and climber. The hikes can be a bit long at times, but when you reach your destination, the rewards are always worth the time and effort. Seen in this photo is veteran Yosemite climber and former member of Yosemite’s Search and Rescue Team, Cheyne Lempe (@CheyneLempe), standing at the very edge of an empty Upper Yosemite Falls. I’ve always liked this place because it’s not seen by many of the visitors that stay on the valley floor. If you put in the effort and make the longer hikes, it opens a world of possibilities for seeing amazing things in the park. #NPS100 #FindYourPark #ElPrezAtElCap

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Hey everyone, @KatieBoue here! I’m not quite a professional athlete, but here’s what I am: an American whose passion for public lands was inspired by climbing. I started climbing in the South, and dreamt about witnessing the beauty of Yosemite National Park for years. When I finally stood at the base of El Capitan for the first time, the magnificence of nature prompted me to dedicate my career to getting Americans outdoors. President Obama has protected more than 265 million acres of land and water in our country—without his work to support conservation and recreation, I wouldn’t be able to play in some of the places I love most. Whether you’re a pro athlete, or just an everyday climber like me, the President’s efforts to protect public lands and make them accessible to all Americans is something to celebrate. I am truly honored to see #ElPrezAtElCap this weekend. #NPS100 #FindYourPark

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Hi, my name is Kai Lightner (@KaiLightner), and I’m the next climber to take over the @WhiteHouse account! I started climbing at age six in a small gym in a small city, far away from mountains and state parks. I was fortunate to find a sport that led me to discover the great outdoors. I’ve had many life-changing experiences climbing and exploring various national parks around the country, and I would love for more kids to have similar opportunities. The White House’s #EveryKidInAPark initiative to promote greater access to the outdoors will do that, giving more people the opportunity to get outside and try something new. Thanks to President Obama, some of the kids who get to visit our national parks might fall in love with the experience—and grow up to become climbers too. #FindYourPark

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Hi—I’m Jimmy Chin (@Jimmy_Chin), and I’m the last in a series of climbers to take over the @WhiteHouse Instagram today. I’m excited to be heading back to Yosemite National Park, one of my favorite places on the planet, to see President Obama and the First Family tomorrow. It says a lot about the First Family that they’re taking time to appreciate a slice of nature and beauty at @YosemiteNPS, one of the gems within our incredible national park system. Having spent years of my life climbing and adventuring on the walls there, I am deeply thankful for the foresight to protect and preserve such an important and beautiful landscape. This visit from the President will highlight the importance of preserving these wild places for generations to come. #FindYourPark #NPS100 #YosemiteAmbassador Photo: @AlexHonnold walking the walk on Thank God Ledge, Half Dome Northwest Regular Route, Yosemite National Park.

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Related: WTF Is a Dawn Wall?! A Laymen’s Guide to What the Hell Happens Up There

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