Lake Tahoe: Kid's Climbing Area

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Brent Mattix

Trad climber
Roseville, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 10, 2010 - 05:06pm PT
Anyone know of a location around South Shore to set up a top rope for my kids? The climbers are all about 7 years old, and my daughter is 5, so I am looking for easy stuff that is in the thirty foot range. I've been to the 90 foot wall, but think that will be too challenging for them. I want them to love the experience so they are fired up to climb with dad as they get older.

Cheers!
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Jun 10, 2010 - 05:12pm PT
Hogsback would work, low angle friction, corners and cracks that you can third class up to set up the top rope. Watch for snakes they are out and about.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Jun 10, 2010 - 05:13pm PT
Phantom Spires??

The Hogsback is a good idea too. You can climb up (solo) an easy route and set a TR on gear. Try not to get on a trade-route with a toprope though.

If you do the first pitch of Knapsack Crack you could probably set a TR off the tree with 2 ropes. Just be sure to let other parties go by. If you TR off the tree you'll be off to the side of the main crack.

It'd be super fun for the kids! And yeah, watch for snakes in the talus and trails.
flakyfoont

Trad climber
carsoncity nv
Jun 10, 2010 - 05:21pm PT
drive 30 minutes northeast to hwy 50/ 28 , go north 5 miles
to ball buster rock . there are a few easy climbs , and
a few harder ones too. All are easy top ropes.
Ricardo Cabeza

climber
All Over.
Jun 10, 2010 - 05:47pm PT
I'll second Ballbuster and Pie Shop. Luther Spires is WAY too much of a walk for the kids.

How about combining a boat ride and some climbing up at Echo Lakes? If I were a kid, I'd love to take a boat to go climbing!

Edit; my bad, bluey said phantom spires.
Brent Mattix

Trad climber
Roseville, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 11, 2010 - 09:45am PT
Thanks for the suggestions! Haven't been up to Ball Buster, so think I'll check that out. It's been years since I climbed at Pie Shop, and we might head up there, too. I can't visualize any slabs that the kids could climb on, but I'm sure we can find something.

I put the kids on some easy climbing at JTree, but they struggled on the slab and didn't have much fun, so I'm looking for some easier stuff that will continue to get them excited.

Love the Echo Lakes idea, too. I've had the boat ride on my list for a long time. Didn't think about climbing with it. DUH! Great suggestion.

I agree with Hogsback, but didn't want to clog up the area. I've only been climbing a few times over on that side, and always seemed busy. I do have knapsack in mind my my oldest boys first lead (but a ways to go for that.)

Thanks again for the Beta.

the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Jun 11, 2010 - 09:51am PT
Nursery School Slabs beneath School Rock at Donner Summit.
barry ohm

Trad climber
escondido, ca
Jun 11, 2010 - 10:13am PT
Nursery school rock is perfect, low angle and easy to set up, Ball Buster next, pie shop would be a good third choice. If you can find a local climber there is some good top rope crags that are not in the guide booksAlso I think hogsback would be a poor choice first, Barry O
Weiss

Big Wall climber
CA
Jun 11, 2010 - 10:31am PT
Smoke Rock. 2 minutes from the parking lot at Emerald Bay (same lot as 90 ft. wall). This guy has some good beta: http://www.stephenpratt.net/Tahoe/tahoe.htm.
KitKat

Trad climber
South Lake Tahoe
Jun 11, 2010 - 10:32am PT
Bottle Creek... easy approach, flat base area, 5.7 slab climbing for the kids, harder stuff for you.
adventurous one

Trad climber
Truckee Ca.
Jun 11, 2010 - 12:21pm PT

I would have to disagree with Ballbuster Rock as the best place for 7 year olds. Super quick and easy toprope setup, but the climbing is limited and probably to difficult for 7 year olds. A better bet would be Nursery School Slab and Kinder Garden Cracks at Donner Summit. Also Indian Springs, along Interstate 80, would be a good choice and it is closer to you than Donner or South Shore. If you decide to go to Indian Springs send me an e-mail and I will direct you to a small 25' tall wall there, that has a half dozen topropes set up for beginners that is not in any current guidebooks, which is away from the main area and is easily accessed from the road.
i'm gumby dammit

Sport climber
da ow
May 14, 2013 - 11:56pm PT
My kids aren't that young, but they are kids so here goes, I agree with Luther spires being not so good. The hike is too long and i find the easier climbs there a bit reachy for there size.

Ballbuster rock just isn't interesting enough. And there are only one or two climbs suitable for them.

They like Bottle Creek and the base area is perfect for them and the dog. options run out quick though.

Smoke rock was a struggle for them, but you can't beat the approach and base.

90' foot wall was hard, but we didn't get a chance to get on Holdless Horror, the easiest. Still, it wasn't too hard and they really liked it.

Trippy Rock has a couple good 5.5-5.6 climbs they enjoyed, but they were a little too easy. I missed the anchors on the 5.9 arete, and the 12 year old killed the 5.11 face climb (with some strong belay action). Neither me or the 14 year could get past the crux.

At Crystal Bay Boulder they were both able to struggle up the 10c with belay help. And they have awesome pics to brag about with their friends.
Jsmyn (12) on Crystal Bay Boulder
Jsmyn (12) on Crystal Bay Boulder
Credit: i'm gumby dammit

the important thing for me is that they're light,and you can easily get them up most stuff just by using your weight advantage. They enjoy floating on belay as much as the climb anyway, and if they fall, they're not gonna hit anything if it's steep. Make sure they have fun and don't get hurt but also make sure they're challenged. They love the gym, but they love it more after they got outside and realized why they should go to the gym.
harpo

Trad climber
South Lake Tahoe
May 15, 2013 - 09:23am PT
There is a crag somewhere not far above 90 foot where the LTCC kids claiming classes go.
kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
May 15, 2013 - 09:27am PT
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 10, 2010 - 05:06pm PT

do ya reckon they are still lookin?
i'm gumby dammit

Sport climber
da ow
May 15, 2013 - 07:29pm PT
Probably not, but others are. this thread shows up #1 when you google kids climbs in south lake tahoe.

There is a crag somewhere not far above 90 foot where the LTCC kids claiming classes go.

i'm guessing you mean this, but those would be older kids
Credit: i'm gumby dammit
kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
May 15, 2013 - 07:32pm PT
were supposed to leave our dogs and kids at home. on a serious note woodfords cyn has a lot of little crags for kid fun I'm taking mine this weekend.
mechrist

Gym climber
South of Heaven
May 15, 2013 - 09:00pm PT
Bottle Creek... easy approach, flat base area, 5.7 slab climbing for the kids, harder stuff for you.

What they said. By FAR the easiest access for a day out with the kids, plus some harder stuff. If I recall correctly (which I rarely do) the steepest and hardest climb (around the corner to the right) had a hold break at the second bolt. I've heard it is gripping getting to and clipping the 2nd now.
Friedo

Trad climber
South Lake Tahoe
May 16, 2013 - 08:32am PT
Mechrist,
Even without a hold breaking that route (Hotfingers, 11c) is incredibly gripping!

I'm Gumby, Is that a pic of the Stomach?
mechrist

Gym climber
South of Heaven
May 16, 2013 - 08:36am PT
If a hold did break, I'm pretty sure we could get the FA to move the bolt a bit to make clipping safer. I will have to head over there soon and scope it out. Definitely a good route, especially considering the easy access.
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
May 16, 2013 - 10:31am PT
I took my son to 90' Wall when he was about 5 or 6, and he had a blast. Nice setting, nice approach, and vertical easiness. Have fun!
euro-brief-guy

Boulder climber
Auburn, ca
May 16, 2013 - 12:22pm PT
Fun house slab at bowman crag. See the thread that describes it. A bit out of way though, off hwy 20 west of Donner.

5 minute approach. Easily leadable and topropeable. 7 routes 5.6 to 5.10b 60-90 ft high. You'll have the whole place to yourselves.
i'm gumby dammit

Sport climber
da ow
May 16, 2013 - 01:34pm PT
I'm Gumby, Is that a pic of the Stomach?
not familiar with a lot of the names. it's pretty much directly above 90' wall (a ways though, and bushwhacky). here's another view from the eagle lake trail. it's 2/3 of the way up and 2/3 of the way to the right. you can see the two main cracks of 90' under the branch of the big tree in the foreground for reference.
Credit: i'm gumby dammit
mechrist

Gym climber
South of Heaven
May 16, 2013 - 02:49pm PT
Is the climbing any good? I hiked up there 7 years ago but haven't made it back. This year is a route year though...
i'm gumby dammit

Sport climber
da ow
May 16, 2013 - 03:16pm PT
I didn't climb. I was hiking up there last year with girlfriend and we saw someone else who told us about a couple bolted lines
Friedo

Trad climber
South Lake Tahoe
May 16, 2013 - 03:48pm PT
I have a friend who wanted to climb up there on the Stomach. We went after work, it's further than we though, but not too far. We hike to the top and set up a line on a bolted anchor. We each got one lap in before it started getting dark, so we bailed. It was not very interesting climbing, but I'd go back for another, longer look!
mechrist

Gym climber
South of Heaven
May 16, 2013 - 05:20pm PT
My guide only shows 2 routes.

Anyone been to Venturi wall?
i'm gumby dammit

Sport climber
da ow
May 16, 2013 - 10:22pm PT
mechrist, do you have names for the other routes at bottle creek. i'm adding a guide to my web site.
http://www.aboutlaketahoe.com/climbing/bottle-creek.htm

due to concerns of others, i will NOT be publishing directions to this crag.
bergbryce

Mountain climber
California
May 17, 2013 - 12:02am PT
I already asked this dude to keep this little crag off the internet on MP. Does anyone else think that not every crag needs to be published? I dunno I think it's kind of fine how it is, word of mouth.

If you live around here, it's certainly not a secret crag and it's certainly not the best rock around but I have little doubt this place will be overrun quickly if it were published.


To answer the OPs question....
Kindergarden Wall at Donner Pass has to be about the best I know of.

i'm gumby dammit

Sport climber
da ow
May 17, 2013 - 12:34am PT
and because you asked, and after you insulted me, i removed the directions.
i'm gumby dammit

Sport climber
da ow
May 19, 2013 - 10:30pm PT
I probably would have agreed about Ballbuster Rock not being good for kids, but we had fun there today. One nice thing is that it's small enough that running back and forth to the top wasn't any problem so i could belay, have them walk off, then I could run up there and set them up to rappel back down, and now they have a little experience doing that. It also makes it a good place to show them a bit about basic anchor building too.
go1dens4

Trad climber
Melbourne, FL
May 20, 2013 - 07:05am PT
I remember 90 ft is good because the walkin is so short so 2nd ++ on that one for the youngins...
mechrist

Gym climber
South of Heaven
May 20, 2013 - 07:30am PT
Ball Buster is horrible.

All the info I have for Bottle Creek is a napkin from Sprouts that J scribbled lines and numbers on.

The parking is already tenuous as is, especially when SAR and LTCC classes show up. I agree with the berger brycer... locals freely share the information and it is far from secret. That would likely change if 100's of bay area folks dloaded topos from the web and started swarming every new crag.
i'm gumby dammit

Sport climber
da ow
May 20, 2013 - 08:11am PT
^Yeah it was Friedo I should have asked. He started the sentence where he mentioned Hotfingers with your name so I got confused.

The parking is what gave it away for me. Any time I see cars parked somewhere strange I think, "hmmm, I bet there's climbing around here." Worked there, worked when i was in the Rubies. i think today i'm gonna go check something out on upper Kingsbury by the Fox and Hound cause I saw some dirtbagmobiles theres when i was leaving for the Rubies a couple months ago.
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