Center Wall Rock Climbing
The Big Chief Center Wall is just that: it's big. It's basalt, and it contains many climbs for climbers of all abilities (5.7 - 5.13+). Most of the climbs are sport routes in the 5.10 - 5.12 range on primarily overhung rock.
Most routes ascend only one pitch, though there are also a few 2 pitch routes as the top of the main rock, which peaks out at over 200 feet. It does seem that several routes could be added to the higher section of the rock.
Facing mostly east, you will find most routes in the sun for most of the day, though there will be some refuge in the later afternoon. There is also refuge in the cave, where the climbing routes get extremely overhung, tough, and short.
Approach time: 15 - 30 minutes.
From the parking lot, head down the main path to the west, which consists of a former gravel road that has large trees cast through the center of it at the parking lot to ensure that people can no longer drive to the former lot.
After .6 miles of gentle dirt road, you will come to the former lot. From here head uphill for about 50 vertical feet on the narrowing trail to a fork. At the fork, you should head right, and this will take you up to the north pass.
From the north pass, hang a left around the rock, and this will take you into the center wall area. The first bolted route you will see is called Eye of the Beholder (5.11c). Continue another 50 yards downhill to the main cave area, and more routes are further along.
Weather station 3.5 miles from here
32 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',15],['2 Stars',13],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',1]
Classic Climbing Routes in Center Wall
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Center Wall
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Center Wall:
War Path 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c Sport, 1 pitch, 90'
War Paint 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport, 1 pitch, 80'
Mohawk 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 40'
Flamethrower 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport, 1 pitch, 130'
Head Rush 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport, 1 pitch, 90'
Pow Wow 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c TR, 1 pitch, 30'
Raindance 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 30'
Featured Route For Center Wall
Flamethrower 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b CA
: Tahoe Vicinity
: ... : Center Wall
This is the first long route that you come across heading down to the cave of the Center Wall from the north pass. It sits just to the right of three short and very overhung routes (Eye of the Beholder, Headband and Sitting Bull). At over 130 feet in length, be prepared to have someone send you up another rope to rap, or have a second bring a rope up with them.Climbing is tough over the first overhang through the first three bolts, which lasts a mere 20 feet. From here climbing remains interesti...[more] Browse More Classics in CA
From: Salt Lake City
Jun 4, 2016
Big Chief is an awesome crag. Expect a bit of an approach from the dirt road, but the wall is teeming with routes.
Would have loved to try out the fixed draws in the cave but all those routes are 12's or higher, but there are some manageable routes on the Center Wall that are well worth it. A must do for Tahoe Vicinity!