Snake Dike, 5.7R
Fairview Dome, 5.9
Muir Wall, El Cap
Lover's Leap, 5.7
Muir Wall, El Cap
High Sierra, 5.10
Red Rocks, 5.10a
Bay Area Bouldering
Northern California Bouldering
West Temple, Zion, IV 5.7
information would you
like us to provide?
Let us know!
Lake Tahoe Climbing Info
South Lake Tahoe offers exquisite year round climbing for every
ability and taste. Trad climbers can jam smooth Yosemite like cracks
at Sugarloaf or Eagle Lake, pull on steep knobs at Phantom Spires,
lead their first multi-pitch route at Lover’s Leap. Sport
climbers can clip bolts at Luther Rock, Luther Spires and Mayhem
Cove. This book focuses on some of the highest quality granite in
the Sierra, but unlike Yosemite’s glacier-polished rock, Tahoe
granite is more textured with knobs, dikes, and edges. This makes
it a little more “user friendly” and means you climb
steeper routes at easier grades.
In Tahoe it’s easy to change elevations and find a crag with
perfect temperatures. Go to Sugarloaf if a cold snap rolls in, switch
to Lover’s Leap and Phantom Spires in mild conditions, or
climb at Eagle Lake Cliff and Wrights Lake Cliff to escape the heat.
Good climbing weather is always at hand. You also get to choose
your level of serenity. Eagle Creek Cliff and Wrights Lake Cliff
have alpine lakes, craggy peaks, and silence. Lover’s Leap
or 90-Foot Wall are more social destinations and right by the road.
Sit around a fire at the Phantom Spires camping area or go big at
the Stateline casinos. Cook ramen on your Whisperlite stove or eat
Sushi in South Lake Tahoe. You get to choose.
We all love Yosemite and Tuolumne, but the fact is they’re
often a logistical hassle. Not so in Tahoe. No advanced planning,
no reservations, no fees, and no ranger presence. You camp for free
on most Forest Service land and there is always a supermarket, restaurant,
or latté nearby. Unlike the National Parks, dogs are allowed
at all the climbing areas (and can guard your pack from squirrels).
Tahoe is the ideal training ground for Yosemite’s long routes.
Rather than get bogged down in the crowds on Yosemite’s limited
selection of 5.6-5.9s, build your skills on Tahoe’s more numerous
moderates and then head to the Valley. If you live in the Bay Area,
most Tahoe crags are closer than Yosemite. For some, Sugarloaf is
even closer than Pinnacles.
Lake Tahoe Climbing Skills
The myriad rock features offer many different climbing options for
each crux which can help or confuse. Sometimes it is easier to do
an improbable face move to the side of a major feature. Some 5.8
moves, the crux on Haystack for example feel like 5.7 if you have
the perfect beta or 5.10 if you miss a key hold. Stemming, long
reaches, and discriminating handhold selection are invaluable Leap
skills. Most crack climbs involve a combination of stemming, face
climbing and the occasional straight-in jam. Most face climbs involve
reaches and mantels between dikes. It is not the size of the holds
but rather the distance between dikes that determines route difficulty.
Face climbs at Lovers Leap favor tall climbers as a 5.10 move
may be 5.9 for someone taller than 60 and 5.11 for someone
shorter than 55.
Please help support this site by checking out our South
Lake Tahoe Climbing
guide There is a free
sample download here
The standard Tahoe traditional climbing rack is two sets of cams,
1-2 sets of nuts, 10 quickdraws, and 6-10 slings. Many anchors are
natural so having a little extra gear is nice. Each SuperTopo
notes where additional gear is needed. A single 60m rope suffices
to descend and top rope most climbs. However, for maximum top rope
options, use a 70m rope. In rare cases, two ropes are mandatory
to descend. When top roping, it’s often useful to extend the
anchor by 10 feet so the rope doesn’t run over an edge. For
this purpose, bring 20 feet of webbing or a cordalette.
Rack For Tahoe
Here's the rack we at SuperTopo bring when we climb at
Tahoe. This is just to give you a general idea of what to bring. Check to
the SuperTopo guidebook before climbing each route to see specifically what you
1 set of BD stoppers
1 set of DMM Peenuts
2 sets of Metolius
Master Cams to #5
1 set of offset-Aliens (1.75”)
2 sets of Black
Diamond Camalots #0.5-#3
1 each of Black
Diamond Camalots #4 and #5
for normal trad routes: 1 60m x 10.2mm lead
for moving fast and light: 1 50m or 60m x 9.1mm lead
1 60m x 7.7mm rappel rope
BD Oz quickdraws and 20 extra lightweight biners
10 shoulder length slings
Gri Gri 2 or Trango
Cinch belay device
Petzl Reverso 4 belay device
Meteor or Half
First Multi-Pitch Tahoe Climbs
The following list will introduce you to the climbing at Lovers
Leap. Other great introduction areas include Phantom Spires, 90-Foot
Wall, Luther Spires and Echo Lake. All these climbs are in our South
Lake Tahoe guidebook. We encourage you to check out the FREE
SuperTopo of Corrugation Corner
to get psyched for a Lake Tahoe adventure.
climb is great for first time Lovers Leap climbers. The
route ascends 300 feet of clean, moderate, and well-protected
sustained and less quality than Knapsack crack, this route is
a great first outdoor rock climb.
is the most popular Hogsback climb. It delivers sustained and
wandering 5.6 moves up the tallest part of wall.
climbing is mostly 5.4 with one short 5.6 fingers crux. This
is a good step up from Knapsack Crack and definitely easier
just a few moves of 5.7, Pop Bottle is a great introduction
to the East Wall. While the route ascends lower-angle rock,
a few steep bulges add some spice.
Surrealistic Pillar follows a line of large cracks, it is almost
entirely a face climb.
challenging and adventurous climb meanders across features rarely
found on many Lovers Leap routes: a huge belay ledge,
an enormous featured corner, and super-sized dikes and flakes.
Climbs for Returning South Lake Tahoe Climbers
Once warmed up to Leap climbing, you may want to expand your tick
list to the climbs listed below.
must-do climb offers more than a few memorable face and crack
moves. The name comes from the second pitch crux where, depending
on your height, you must make a huge Bears Reach
between two large holds.
awesome route is one of the steepest climbs in this guide and
one of the steepest granite 5.7s you will find anywhere.
to The Line, Haystack takes one of the most striking crack systems
on the East Wall and ascends a diversity of terrain from straight
in jamming to face moves and roofs.
only a few 5.8 moves, this is a good entry to 5.8 and is only
moderately more difficult (and better protected) than Bears
Line is the most popular and striking route at Lovers
Leap and offers a delicious mixture of lieback, stem, and face
moves with the occasional straight-in jam.
are four reasons why you must climb this route: the amazing
line, the stomach-turning exposure, the flawless rock quality,
and a fascinating history.
at the 5.8 and 5.9 level, Scimitar is set apart by its variety
as you will encounter lieback cracks, runout face, and steep
unsung classic has somehow escaped notice for many years. The
climbing is sustained, varied, and occasionally spectacular.
Lake Tahoe has over 1000 documented boulder problems and
more are discovered ever week. The SuperTopo
Route Beta section
has some of the best Lake Tahoe bouldering Areas. Be sure to check
out our free Bouldering Download from
Lake Tahoe Bouldering ebook, you can also get a free download
of the Purgatory Bouldering
Area north of Reno. Also check out SuperTopo Northern Califronia Bouldering for more problems around Lake Tahoe and much more.
All the climbing areas in South Lake Tahoe are on National Forest
land and are so far subject to few restrictions. Lets keep it that
way. Use existing trails, clean up your campsite, and park only
in the Lover's Leap campground or along Highway 50.
Lake Tahoe Essentials
A car is essential in Tahoe as public transportation
is scarce. From San Francisco, drive Interstate 80 to Sacramento
and join Highway 50. Access all climbing areas in this guide off
Highway 50 or Highway 89. Be aware that many people get speeding
tickets 10 miles east of Placerville.
flight to Reno/Tahoe Airport (1.5 hour drive to
South Lake Tahoe) or Sacramento International Airport (2 hours
drive to South Lake Tahoe). Rent
a car at the airport. You can also fly into Oakland or San
Francisco, rent a car, stay
the night in a hotel, then drive about three hours.
South Lake Tahoe has a similar climate to Yosemite Valley with
ideal climbing conditions in the spring and fall. Below is a summary
of the climbing seasons. Note that the beginning and end of the
climbing season is decided by fierceness of the winter. In lean
years, you can climb from April to December. In heavy years, you
can climb June to October. Be sure to check the SuperTopo web site
to see if it has been a heavy or light snow year before planning
MayJune: This is a prime time to visit South Lake
Tahoe because of the long days and great climbing temperatures in
the 60s and 70s. Depending on the snow year, the walls are generally
clear of snow and dry by the end of April. Be prepared for some
wet cracks and the occasional late-season storms. Expect crowds.
JulyAugust: While the skies are usually clear, the
day temperatures are consistently in the 80s and 90s making it
often uncomfortable to climb in the sun. Seek out the shade and
climb in the higher elevation areas like Eagle Lake Cliff, Wrights
Lake. Most Lover's Leap crags are perfect in the morning.
SeptemberOctober: Fall is a great time to visit South
Lake Tahoe. Temperatures are perfect for climbing and generally
stay in the 60s and 70s. There are rarely any storms and the rock
is dry. In early September, the occasional heat wave can roll through
and in late October the temperatures can be freezing at night. Expect
November: The weather is uncertain during this time. The
first winter storm usually hits in the first two weeks of November
which makes most of the routes too wet to climb for the rest of
the winter. However, during a dry year the climbing conditions can
be great with temperatures in the 50s and 60s with few crowds. Even
during a dry November, you will need to bring warm clothing as night
temperatures are often below freezing.
DecemberMarch: Due to the bleak climbing conditions,
the only places to climb are below 5000' in elevation like Woodfords
Canyon or Sugarloaf.
Snow covers the base and summits of most cliffs, temperatures are
often freezing and the rock is wet. During cold years ice forms
on the right side of the East Wall at Lover's Leap making for the
rare California multi-pitch ice climb. There are usually a few
weeks where you can ice climb up Eagle
Creek Canyon. In
the winter you can also boulder at the Pie
April: Wet rock and unstable weather usually make April
a terrible time to climb at South Lake Tahoe. However, in an extremely
dry year April can have great weather and be free of crowds.
Station at Lover's Leap
Lake Tahoe weatherfive day forecast for the closest town
to South Lake Tahoe.
Bridges weatherfive day forecast for the closest town
to South Lake Tahoe.
The Strawberry Lodge, located on Highway 50 just a five-minute
walk from Lover's Leap campground, offers American food and
has a bar. The bar serves great local and semi-local brews and is
the spot of choice to talk about all the climbs you onsighted that
day, how you found all the ratings too easy, and how that 5.12
you climbed next to looked pretty doable.
For other food options you will need to travel to South Lake Tahoe.
Here are some of South Tahoes better restaurants:
Breakfast: Ernie’s, 1146 Emerald Bay Road,
Breakfast: Red Hut Waffle Shop 2723 Lake Tahoe
Blvd (530) 541-9024
Healthy Breakfast/Lunch: Sprouts, 3123 Harrison Avenue, (530)
Coffee: Alpen Sierra (free
wireless), 822 Emerald Bay Rd, (530) 541-7749
Lounge 717 Emerald Bay Rd, (530) 542-2010
Burgers: Izzies Burger Spa, 2591 Lake Tahoe Boulevard,
Chinese: Hunan Garden, 900 Emerald Bay Rd. (530) 544-5868
Mexican:Taqueria Jalisco 3079 Harrison Ave,
Pizza: Bob Dog’s Pizza, 3141 Us Highway
50, (530) 577-2364
Pizza: Blue Dog Pizza, 4000
Lake Tahoe Blvd A1 (530) 541-0813
Pizza: Lake Tahoe Pizza Co., 1168 Emerald Bay
Rd (530) 544-1919
Fancy Seafood: The Chart House, 392 Kingsbury
Grade (775) 588-6276
Seafood: Freshies, (great
summer roof deck), 3330 Lake Tahoe Blvd (530) 542-3630
Sushi: Off the
Hook!, 2660 Lake Tahoe Blvd, Unit E, (530) 544-5599
Thai: Orchid Thai, 2180 Lake Tahoe Blvd., (530)
Bar/Music: Divided Sky (free wireless), 3200 US Highway 50, (530) 577-0775
You can read other South
Lake Tahoe Food Recommendations on the
You will find more detailed camping info in the introduction
to each specific climbing area in South
Lake Tahoe Climbing. Most climbers, no matter where
they climb, camp at Lover’s Leap for $10 per site per
night ($5 per additional car) or free at Phantom Spires.
Other options include the Forest Service land off Strawberry
Tract Rd, just southwest of Lover's Leap. If you and some friends
want to pitch in, consider renting
a Lake Tahoe Vacation
Home Rental from
Chris McNamara. If you have 4 or more people, it is probably less expensive than a cheap motel. And it comes with a full kitchen and climbing books and magazines!
From June 5-October 16 there is a Farmer's Market every Tuesday in South Lake
Tahoe at 2732 South Lake Tahoe Blvd (Hwy 50) from 8AM-1PM. On the
drive up Highway 50 to Tahoe there are many options that you can
read about at the Apple
Hill Growers website and El
Dorado Farmer's Market website.
For a detailed description of farmers markets and food options in
the area, click
Raley’s, located at the junction of 89 and 50 in South
Lake Tahoe, offers the best prices and selection. Liras (2977
Highway 50; 530-577-5399) located in Meyers, has a smaller selection.
If you’re staying at Lover’s Leap, Strawberry
Market, located across from Strawberry Lodge, has a got you covered
for all the essentials. If driving from the Bay Area, there are
major grocery stores next to the freeway in Placerville and Pollack
Gear and Climbing Guides
Lover's Leap Guides (530-318-2939)
is a guide service run by some of the most experienced Lover's
Leap climbers. They offer classes in beginning to advanced climbing,
learning to lead, summiting all the Phantom Spires and adaptive
Skills International and Sierra
Mountain Guides also offer group trips and private guiding
to climbs at Lover's Leap and the rest of the Tahoe area. Mountain
Adventure Seminars (209) 753-6556) guides at Lover's Leap,
Calaveras Dome and through northern California.
The closest selection of gear
and climbing beta is at Sports
Ltd. (4008 Lake Tahoe Blvd. South Lake Tahoe, CA.
96150 • 530.542.4000).
When you need a rest day or just want to mix things up, head to
South Lake Tahoe for two world-class mountain bike trails: The
Flume Trail and Mister Toads Wild Ride. During the
summer you can also buy lift tickets and ride at many of the
ski resorts. There are also a number of hiking trails not to
mention all the Lake Tahoe activities: kayaking, water skiing,
sitting on the beach, etc. All the nightlife is at either one of South Lake
two major casinos: Harrah’s or Harvey’s or Montbleu.