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).
Check out Greater Tahoe Gripworks. They are Lake Tahoe's premier climbing shoe resoler. They offer professional and timely climbing and approach shoe repair, edgeless resoling, rand repair, and whatever you can dream up - at competitive prices. They are located in Woodfords Canyon, CA. Give them a try! (530-307-0046)
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.