Well the falcon restrictions were lifted last week, the weather is just about perfect, and Excelsior came to mind. Unfortunately neither of my two "comprehensive" Tahoe area climbing guides - Carville and Jenkewitz-Meyers - showed much for Excelsior besides a vague dashed line and/or an arrow or text saying '.10a cracks in side wall'. My other guide (of dubious nature) published in 1997 by "Soknik Press" (read it backwards) had the following written description:
OK, to cut the chase, although Excelsior was our goal I'm pretty sure we ended up climbing Flying High instead.
Some views from Main Ledge:
It looked pretty obvious. Just follow up the corner, then traverse out right, and then up the corner again to some cracks, right? How hard could it be?
This was definitely not my speediest lead. Climbing left and up over the blocky start seemed harder than it really is because apparently the area doesn't get climbed much and a lot of the rock is coated with dried lichen and moss, which drains my sticky-rubber superpowers. At one point I was almost to the corner when I spotted an old piton with some webbing and a quick link up and right (why would anyone bail?), so that's where I went. After clipping the piton and extending with two runners, I headed back to the corner and up.
You can see where that was in the view looking down from the 1st belay (arrow):
Eventually I suspected I should go out more to the right, but at the same time it didn't look doable (or, at least, wise). Much mental analysis and anguish ensued, and ultimately I chose the wandering fist-to-wider crack up the slightly-overhanging left wall. This is what the crack looks like from above:
I assume this was the route called Flying High, that I only remembered seeing listed as .10c in one of the guides. Also, I had only one piece left to protect it (hence the aforementioned mental anguish). But the bottom line is that I chose the semi-known security of a fist crack vs. sketchy face climbing on dried lichen, which turned out to be really fun after it was over and I didn't fall. Another pictures from the awkward (but super-secure! if the big block doesn't detach) hanging-belay ledge:
From there it looked like a short burly scoot around the corner and we'd be on low-angle easy ground to the top!
However, sometimes imagination is more optimistic than reality and after turning the corner there were still a few more thought-provoking moves but it wasn't TOO far to a good belay stance and THEN it would be easy to the top. Some pictures from the 2nd belay anchor:
I got cobwebs on my shoes!!111
You can get an idea of the steepness here:
After that it really WAS pretty easy 5th-ish class to the top, and a fine late-summer afternoon at Lovers Leap!
Here's the way we went up until turning the corner, which is (I think) Flying High:
It's a fun route that I want to climb again but I'm still wondering: where exactly do you (presumably) cut over to the right to approach the belay for Excelsior (some of the topos show two pitons there)? Do the routes diverge at the point where the Flying High crack goes up the left wall? Do you continue up the corner (apparently thin seam, full of moss) crack there? Or traverse lower down...?