Yosemite Surprise Proposal
Yosemite Surprise Proposal

Yosemite Surprise Proposal

Yosemite Surprise Proposal

Surprise proposals can go two ways. Either you know the couple or you don’t and you play it off from there. I’d argue that it is slightly more stressful not knowing the couple, but usually that makes the surprise more real and much less suspicious when you’re pretending to take a photo of the gorgeous scenery, rather than intruding on two people’s private moments. But a different kind of stress is involved when you are already friends with the couple and you have to hide the secret for days or even months!




Originally, there was no Yosemite proposal. Instead, there was an elaborate plan to be held in Minnesota until covid got the best of us. A whole summer later and and after many peaks bagged by the couple, the question still hadn’t popped. Sarah offered many amazing, gorgeous viewpoints as great opportunities for Nick to propose, yet he still waited. By fall, she was convinced that it would never happen.

As a few friends gathered for a Yosemite trip, Nick deemed it perfect timing to include some of both of their best friends for the special occasion, masked by the original intent of the trip. Unbeknownst to Sarah, she basically planned her own proposal. For a long time, she wanted to hike Clouds Rest as the final stretch of trail that she missed while backpacking the famous John Muir Trail.

The grand idea was to hike Clouds Rest from Yosemite Valley and hitch a ride back from a shorter descent into Tuolumne Meadows with friends who were rock climbing Clouds Rest from that approach. My personal recommendation was to get to Clouds Rest to watch sunset because we often like to hike to get the gorgeous lighting. This wasn’t out of the norm for me to suggest.

The whole couple hours of hiking, my friend and I had to throw off Sarah’s growing suspicions. While she may have figured out the surprise, there was no way she could have guessed how much more of the surprise there was to the proposal.

Hastily planned, Nick and his friend announced they would begin a multi-pitch, overnight climb. Instead, they were headed up the Tuolumne Meadows approach to Clouds Rest to set up an elaborate scene for the proposal. It was complete with Italian dinner and a table set for two. The table was made from a bouldering mat, covered with grandma’s old table cloth. Chairs were simply Crazy Creek chairs, versatile in nearly any terrain. Yosemite mugs were brought for the two of them. Bubbly wine was drank. The ring itself was hidden under a beer can when the first question popped: Will you play beer ball with me?

Nick had secretly taped the ring under his beer and made sure everyone picked different beers for the game. It took a while before the ring was noticed by anyone as he kept showing the bottom of the can to everyone. That’s when the real question popped! Will she marry him??

The obvious answer was a resounding yes, all the friends cheering, everyone celebrating. I snapped a few photos during the cacophony and joyous moments. As we watched the sunset over Yosemite Valley, we enjoyed some camp stove-cooked ravioli with garlic bread and fresh sauce. We huddled for warmth on the cold fall evening up at nearly 10,000 ft above sea level. It was cold to the bone, but we quickly hustled to get to the cars for the long drive back into the Valley to our cozy camps. The celebration continued throughout the next few days as we were all dazed by how everything pulled together. It was truly a day to remember for my now-married friends and the rest of us!







Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.