Peregrine Falcons nest seasonally at Lover's Leap. During the closure period, please avoid the areas displayed on the map posted below. A closure is in place at the center of the wall starting April 1 to September 30. A detailed listing of closed routes and any changes in the information regarding the peregrine falcons will be posted on the Eldorado National Forest website www.fs.usda.gov/eldorado. If you require addition information contact the Eldorado National Forest at 530-622-5061.
Here's a map from 2009, but the same route closures generally apply every year (true through 2016 according to the latest order).
2009 Closure Map
This information is a public crowdsourcing effort between the Access Fund,
and Mountain Project. You should confirm closures, restrictions, and/or related dates.
This area is an excellent 250 to almost 600 foot chunk of mostly vertical granite containing hundreds of cracks crisscrossed with thousands of horizontal dikes. These dikes are key to reducing what would otherwise be very steep and difficult traditional routes, into routes with good rests and abundant holds, resulting in an area with relatively moderate grades. You will find about 250+ routes that range from bouldering to about 5 pitches. Some routes are sport/bolt protected, but most of the sport climbing is .10+ or harder as the abundance of traditional routes in close proximity to each other discourages squeezing in a bunch of moderate sport face climbing. All of the routes demand less than 20 minutes to "hike" into, as the entrance path is part of the pioneer trail, and therefore excellently maintained and quite wide.
Lovers Leap can sometimes seem crowded in certain areas, especially in the summer on weekends. However there is an almost limitless number of adventure routes and hidden classics that rarely ever see any traffic. As long as you're willing to step outside the box and try something that is not a "trade route", you will never have to wait in line or climb anywhere near other climbers... ever! Lovers Leap has the highest concentration and number of routes in close proximity to each other than any other crag in California. Add to that it's wide range of difficulty in routes and there is more than enough to keep everyone busy for a long time.
Camping and Amenities
There is a developed campground (first come, first served) at the western foot of the cliff. To find the campground, pull into the Strawberry Lodge parking lot. Follow the road to the left of the lodge past several cabins until you cross a small bridge over the river. After the bridge take an immediate left up a single lane road. Follow this road until it ends at the campground.
Camping is $10 (U.S.) a night and $5 (U.S.) for an extra car per day. There is limited day parking ($5) in the campground for climbers. Overflow parking is found along the road 100yds past the bridge/river on the right side of the road. Do not park alongside the road leading to the campground or in the Strawberry Lodge parking lot. Your car may be towed at your expense, (up to $1000 dollars in fines and/or a 30 day impound can be applied).
Conveniently located at the edge of the campground are a few large boulders worth doing. From the parking lot, head uphill and cross over the small foot bridge to the Pony Express Trail. Hang a left, and walk up the gently sloped trail for about 3 minutes.
Almost all multipitch routes are best to walk off, both for the preservation of existing vegetation, and that most routes don't have any fixed protection at the top of the rock due to the abundance of trees, cracks, and large rocks at the top.
You can get pretty good food at the Strawberry Lodge, breakfast, lunch and dinner. They serve food at the bar as well and is a bit cheaper too. The Lodge is very climber friendly and showers can be purchased for a small fee. Just ask at the front desk.
Across the street is the Strawberry Station General Store, where you can pick up drinks and basic goods. There is also a small but usually well stocked gear store which carries all your basic (and then some) climbing gear. They also rent shoes and probably other gear if you just happen to forget something. It is owned and operated by a great and friendly local family the head of which is Squirrel, a local climber with all the beta you'll ever need. Be sure to stop in and support their friendly business.
From the Bay Area / Sacramento: Head East on highway 50 towards Placerville. Continue past Placerville to the town of Strawberry, which is approximately 8 miles past the more marked Kyburz. Turn off the freeway onto the small route that parallels the 50 just on the far side of the Strawberry lodge, which is hard to miss on your right. This is about 40 miles past Placerville. You get a good glimpse of the west and main walls as you get close to the Lodge on a clear day.
From Lake Tahoe: Head 18 miles West on Highway 50 to the town of Strawberry, where you should head a left just before the Strawberry Lodge, which will approach on your left after a magnificent view of Lover's Leap looming to the left on the way to the lodge.
From the Strawberry Lodge: Follow the road that Parallels the 50. At the junction, head left, and travel through the small neighborhood quietly and slowly, as advised by local signs. You will run directly into the parking lot about 1/3 mile later.
First pitch (190ft) goes up a finger crack, then a bit of dike hiking to finish the pitch. Second pitch (150ft) is a bit unclear. The route we took goes up just right of the belay station, then tends towards the dihedral on the left. ...[more]Browse More Classics in CA
I had a #5 BD cam and a pair of sunglasses STOLEN from my pack at the bottom of Bears Reach/East Crack on 6/17/14. Other, less desirable gear, (a couple hexes and slings) were left behind along with my pack. There may be shady folks around the leap, beware.
I second that area as optional camping. If you want to see something really special, continue up the road to Wright's Lake at the top. Quite a nice place for breakfast if the view of the spires wasn't good enough ~(-:
So it appears that Lovers Leap has a NW aspect. Am I seeing this right? Just trying to figure out what kind of shade it might receive at what times of day? I'm here visiting in Reno for a couple weeks, and it's 100 degree weather here. Will the Leap be too hot? Any recommendations are appreciated.
By Salamanizer Administrator From: Vacaville Ca. Jul 29, 2009
The Leap has lots of shade. Usually when the temps are in the 100's in Reno or the Central Valley the Leap stays at a decent 80-85 degrees. There is an occasional heat wave that may make it a bit warm but that's the exception. Should be nice, lots of shade.... Go!
Easy there... the Lodge is a great resource for climbers and worthy of our support. The food has indeed varied in quality over the years. I wouldn't describe it as terrific, but it currently is decent and reasonably priced.
Not mentioned in the Super Topo or anywhere else I could find is that Strawberry Station, across the street from Strawberry Lodge, carries a small but comprehensive supply of climbing gear (along with some camping/hiking gear and groceries). It's much more convenient than having to head into South Lake Tahoe to go to Sports LTD.