Although actually a series of rocks, they're all pretty similiar in character and just easier to describe as one - so here we go:
Luther Spires are a series of granite spires with easy to moderate climbs established and many more waiting for power-drill-based-attention.
Luther Spires is newly developed and as such, there is still a lot of rock that can break off, but the granite seems pretty sturdy beneath.
Upon entering Christmas Valley on Highway 89 from 50, drive a few miles until the road begins to curve as it approaches Luther Pass. There will be a sign to the Big Meadow Trailhead and from there, the turnout is about .45 miles on the left side of the road.
You will know you're in the right spot if you find the large boulder lining the pullout with a hole drilled in it the perfect diameter for a beer bottle.
Out from the parking lot, you'll find a clearing with the trail heading through it.
Follow this trail across a better established trail and follow it as it hops on a large downed tree to cross a stream. Upon crossing the stream, the trail traverses up the hillside for about 10 minutes until you find yourself directly beneath the spires. Then the trail get steep until you find yourself at the base of two spires. Jackass is the intimidating bolted route on the left spire and Just Jerry is to the right.
Widow Maker is claimed to be one of the best face climbs at Luther Spires and it certainly is a challenging and fun route! This is one of the two furthest left and furthest up routes in the Supertopo South Lake Tahoe Climbing guide book by Chris McNamara. There are two ways to get to the route. Once you arrive at the Spires from the approach path, walk left. After only 30-40 feet the path either leads up along the spires or down to underneath all the spires. The only reason to go up is to g...[more]Browse More Classics in CA
Directions are right on! Just want to add a couple comments.... After driving passed the Big Meadow Trailhead signs, the small parking area on the left approaches very fast. The boulder with the beer bottle size hole in it is the key landmark. As a matter of fact there are several boulders with drilled holes in them. After walking through clearing the path will come upon and cross the Rim Trail path. Continue along and you will find the tip of a large fallen dead tree crossing the path. For fun, jump on it and head downhill along the tree trunk and across the stream. Chris McNamara's guidebook South Lake Tahoe Climbing says that the approach is 20-30 minutes with a few hundred feet elevation gain. We made the approach in 30 minutes but the elevation gain seemed more like 600-700' and it nearly killed us all! Now I must admit our packs were heavy. My pack was loaded with the following... 60m rope, 12 quickdraws, standard fairly complete rack, good set of slings and locking biners, helmet, shoes, harness, guidebook, 2 liters of water, some food, and convinced that Bud Lite would save some weight, a six pack and 5 lbs of ice. I know I know, what was I thinking... Next time I will spend more time properly planning and packing only what I would definitely need. I have to concentrate and focus on why and what is the main purpose of the trip...
Definitely have to cut down on the gear! : )
The good news is that at the end of the day, the walk out is downhill, mostly in the shade, and is beautiful and my pack was MUCH lighter!
I found the climbing here generally uninspiring. There are a lot of easy to moderate sport routes so there is that attraction, but if you're looking for much higher quality sport climbing in SLT I would recommend the nearby Luther Rock (sucky approach but morning shade) or Mayhem Cove (2 minute approach, afternoon shade.)
Yea, that Jay Smith got to alot of my lines down in Red Rocks too. I recently heard from a climber that Jay had the luxury of a trust fund and so wasn't constrained by that typical burden. Don't know if that is true or not but it could explain some of his productivity.
The trail leading to the crag begins at: 38.793950,-119.996265. It is approximately 0.7 miles long and total elevation gain is about 650 feet. Even in May the air was quite dry - bring at least 3 quarts of water per person.
As of 9/26/2011, there is construction along Hwy 89 so the approach beta is a little hard to follow. The best way to find the trailhead is to go to the GPS coordinates George mentioned (38.793950,-119.996265), which are at a turnout about .4 miles past the Big Meadows trailhead on the left. Once you walk down the clearing stay to your left, and then look for a little climbers trail that splits off and veers right. Right away you should see a big tree that goes over a stream, so that's how you know you are on the correct trail. Make sure to stay left after the clearing because to the right there is a large mountain bikers trail with another tree crossing a stream (currently marked with a "Detour" sign) and that is the wrong trail.
By bergbryce From: South Lake Tahoe, CA Jul 4, 2012
The Supertopo guide lists a climb just to the left of Mixed Emotions called Ringlock. It's supposed to be a 10a bolted line on the same spire as Mixed Emotions and See Thru. I've looked for it a few times and haven't been able to find it. Am I missing something or is this an error in the book? thx
In response to your question about the route "Ringlock"...
It has been quite a few years since I last visited the Spires, but if recall correctly, I also tried several times to find Ringlock but was never able to. I was always curious as to whether there was an error in the book or whether I was just slow in the brain. I would be interested to hear from someone who knows the answer....about the error that is (I already know that I'm slow in the frontal lobe).
I was up there last weekend, also looking for Ringlock. I'm guessing that the guide isn't quite right...I think there's a bolted line to the right of the 5.8OW, then the 5.8, then the crack to face (that seems to line up with the Mixed Emotions description).
I must be an idiot because I could not find this place for the life of me. Sports ltd. were kind enough to help me out but I was still in the wrong place. When driving here, after the Big Meadow Trail-head sign, there are two turn offs on the left. You want to park at the second one (the eastern end of the clearing). The trail is very visible from here.
Fun non-commiting climbing (except Jane Spy) on great clean rock in a beautiful setting with spectacular views of Meiss Country. Not sure why it took me so long to finally climb here. I felt the approach was easier than Sugarloaf, though it does get hot in the middle of the summer here.