Trip Report
Eagle Lake Buttress 8/1/08 TR

by Omot
Wednesday June 17, 2009 3:00am
OK! As a casualty of the recession, I finally have time to post a TR! This one from 2008. This should wet your whistle for the coming nice weather (finally!). Enjoy, Tomo

I had a free day in Tahoe, so I called my partner Rick from Reno. Inspired by Ricardo Cabeza’s solstice TR, and wanting a nice day in the mountains, I suggested Eagle Lake Buttress. Rick was game so off we went.

For the uninitiated, Eagle Lake Buttress is a climbing area accessed from the Eagle Falls trailhead by Emerald Bay in South Lake Tahoe. The area is home to the well-known crags 90 Ft Wall and Eagle Lake Cliff.

View from the parking lot. The buttress is clearly visible, forming the south edifice of the ridge high above. The Carville guide says 1 ½ hrs for the approach.

View from the trail to Eagle Lake. We took the talus gully on the left for the approach and the slabs in the middle right for the descent. Consensus opinion: take the talus field.

Rick on the approach.

Plenty of climbable rock on the way up. There must be routes on this wall. If not, there should be!

The trees tell the story: prevailing winds are from the west. Beautiful. Rocks, trees, clouds...

A cool erratic and our first glimpse of the buttress. Nice views back toward the lake. Not a perfect panorama, but close enough to get the idea. The lake is defying gravity. We will be too soon enough.

It took 1:50 to get to the base. Not bad at all! Here’s a view of our first objective from the base, the East Ridge route, 5.7. It goes up the ridge-looking section on the left, not the recessed area by the dead tree. You can barely make out the thin hands crack on the wall at the start of the 2nd pitch.

Rick starting up the 2nd pitch.

The last pitch for all the routes we did. A couple of steep steps on the low angle ridge. The summit is right there at the top.

From the summit, the ridge continues and looks like fun. We’ll save that for another trip.

We down led this, thinking it was the Mountaineer’s Route. The other party we met up there is coming down in this picture. Turns out the actual 3rd class descent goes past the next gendarme on the ridge and then down.

The next route we did was Orange Sunshine, 5.9. It goes up the left curving crack in the orange face on the skyline. Way fun.

Rick nearing the top of the first pitch of Orange Sunshine, where the angle kicks back. That’s Eagle Lake in the background.

Rick starting up the second pitch, already part of the East Ridge.

Panorama looking westward from the summit. We got some afternoon buildup and a nice breeze to cool things down.

Rick starting up our third and last climb of the day, Eagle’s Way, 5.5. This turned out to be the best climb of them all. Super fun 5.5 (and I know quality 5.5’s from my early years climbing at the Gunks), the likes of which you don’t usually find on Sierra granite.

Here’s looking down from about half way up the first pitch. Patina and weathering have left incut face holds along the crack’s edge. Seems like there was a jug wherever you needed one (to keep it 5.5).

And looking up the first pitch. You can see the Wind Tree and Rick’s head just poking out over the edge.

Requisite summit photo.

During the hike out, we got a nice view of the buttress over 90 ft Wall. Section 20 goes up this formation. Lot’s of rock to explore for the mildly adventurous.

Maggies Peak from the slabs on the walk out. There are routes on this wall too, somewhere.

Bottom line: if you enjoy moderates on bomber rock with nice views and few crowds, take the hike and check it out! The buttress is only about 300 ft, less than we were expecting, so you can do most climbs in 2 pitches. There’s plenty more routes up there, and plenty of rock all over the place if you wanted to explore.

  Trip Report Views: 1,118
About the Author
Omot is a trad climber from The here and now.

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Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Jun 17, 2009 - 03:06am PT
That looks awsome! Great TR. Especially like the tied off horn!

Social climber
the local crag
  Jun 17, 2009 - 06:06am PT
nice pics, its a shame i never got up there when i live in slt. now i'll definetely make the trip when i can
Ricardo Cabeza

  Jun 17, 2009 - 09:29am PT
Nice one! Thanks for posting that.

  Jun 17, 2009 - 11:00am PT
Looks like fun!
thanks for posting

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  Jun 17, 2009 - 11:09am PT
Kick ass!!!!!

love the panoramas too!

  Jun 17, 2009 - 11:16am PT
Cool ! I have only been there during the winter ..
Llewelyn Moss

Big Wall climber
LZ Loon
  Jun 17, 2009 - 12:14pm PT
nice, omot. the buttress over 90' wall is emerald point. killer lines all over the place and you can climb up to 6-8 pitches to the top, a nice chill multi pitch outing. we stopped along the way and climbed some rad single pitch face climbing stuff and then headed for the summit to make a longer day. the all american finger crack is worth checking out!

by the way, has the plectrum splitter been freed? anyone? gotta be one of the better overhanging finger cracks on the w. shore.


Trad climber
  Jun 17, 2009 - 12:37pm PT
This place is the ultimate spot for linking up longer moderate solos in the Tahoe area.

This place was a full-on obscurity a few years ago - now starting to get a bit more recognition.

If you're "motivated", you can do the approach in about 1:15, and yes, talus is the way to go.

Trad climber
  Jun 17, 2009 - 12:39pm PT

Such a pretty area up there...and we only climbed the stuff by the lake...looks like some cool stuff up high...

Thanks for posting!

Social climber
CHC, en zed
  Jun 17, 2009 - 01:49pm PT
Cool Stuff! I likes me some TRs, yes I do.
seth kovar

Reno, NV
  Jul 9, 2011 - 12:58am PT

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Jul 9, 2011 - 01:01am PT
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