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Mills Peak

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Crack Shack 
Meth Lab 

Mills Peak  

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Location: 39.7047, -120.6234 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 1,436
Administrators: Aron Quiter, John Robinson, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Daniel Seeliger on Jun 29, 2012
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BETA PHOTO: 7. Side Effects 5.13a 15 m
Climb the slightly ov...


There are two main areas at Mills Peak: Crack Shack and the Meth Lab. Al Swanson and Larry Senya opened the first routes here in 2000 and labeled the crag the Meth Lab for its hidden aspect. In 2011, Daniel Seeliger developed the cracks and face below the lookout and maintained the theme by naming it the Crack Shack. The rock is composed of Metamorphic Gneiss, the same as most of the Lake Basin and Sierra Buttes area.

This is also the trailhead for the Mills Peak downhill and makes a great day to combine climbing with a classic downhill mountain bike ride to Graeagle.

Crack Shack
This 70-to-80-meter wall at Mills Peak stands just below and east of the lookout tower. Routes include short three pitch routes and good cragging along its base. Most routes follow distinct cracks to anchors where you can set up to top rope or continue for one or two more pitches to top. Although itís mostly prominent cracks, there are a few very nice sport routes. The wall gets early morning sun and gradually moves into the shade.

These routes are new, barely climbed and the wall has lots of lichen. Donít whine and contrast it to Donner or Yosemite, just help make it cleaner and nicer for the next. Scrub it off with your hand or a brush. Even though thereís been much cleaning already, many details still need your help.

See photos for topos of routes.

Meth Lab
Nearly 10 short sport routes climb vertical-to-slightly-overhanging face between and around giant blocks just northwest from the lookout. The base provides somewhat flat and shady, forested area, especially nice during hot temps.

Getting There 

No matter what direction you head in from, get on the Gold Lake Highway. Mills Peak turn off is signed and located only a mile south and uphill from Gold Lake. Turn off the GL Hwy. on to a gravel road heading east. Less than a mile, turn left at a signed junction. From here follow the main road to its end, and park at the lookout tower parking. Low clearance vehicles can make it but can opt to park just before getting to the ridge line and a slighly bumpier road, one quarter mile before the lookout.

Crack Shack Approach: 15 min. Find a faint trail just northwest of the parking that heads down a gully just north of the tower. The trail heads down and gradually around to the right. Look for cairns and orange tags. If you climb the entire wall, you can walk back up to the parking or walk back down traversing below the Boulder Tower to gain the approach trail.

Meth Lab Approach. 8 min. The Meth Lab sits just northwest and downhill from the lookout parking. Hike 100 meters up a faint trail that ascends between two rocky peaks northwest of the parking. Walk down and right through large rocks and talus to the northern side of the giant blocks.

Climbing Season

Weather station 9.6 miles from here

4 Total Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',2],['2 Stars',1],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

Featured Route For Mills Peak

UK 5.10a 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a  CA : Tahoe Vicinity : ... : Meth Lab
The middle route on the Meth Labs main wall. This route follows bolts up a vertical to just over vertical face (notice thin crack midway up wall) to bolts and chains....[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of Mills Peak Slideshow Add Photo
1. Primos 5.10b, 20 m <br />Follow the far left side of the wall just right of the arete following face through horizontal cracks, small roofs and later a finger-to-hand crack. <br />Gear: small rack from 00 to #2 camalot. <br />2. Devilís Dandruff  5.10a  75 m <br />1p: 5.9, 25 m. Follow the thin crack/face immediately left of M. D. L.  <br />2p: 5.8, 25 m. From the anchor, follow left crack along an arete. Move left at small ledge, clip bolt and move through a short face to reach more cracks that parallel the arete. When the arete crack finishes beneath roof in a corner, traverse left to bolted anchor. <br />3p: 5.10a, 30 m. Climb the face following bolts and place the occasional gear along the way. As you near the top, one of the last bolts is hidden so donít venture right to the bolt on the arete for Mills Dihedral Left. Belay at the top on one bolt and gear. <br />Gear: 000 to #2 camalot. <br />3. Mills Dihedral Left (M. D. L.)  5.10c  85 m <br />1p: 5.9, 30 m. Starting at the very bottom of the wall, follow the obvious left facing dihedral to anchor. 5.8 if you donít do direct start. Confident climbers can run this together with pitch 2. <br />2p: 5.10b or 5.11 variation, 15 m. Short pitch. Climb up into an under-cling crack and then reach over roof to a jug and mantle (5.10b) or climb up and left from anchor to a longer, harder hand-crack version of the roof (5.11). Mount either version and traverse left to belay on single bolt and gear. Pitch one and two can be combined into one. <br />3p: 5.10a, 40 m. Climb the obvious corner just up and right of belay. Pass a bolt at a small roof, come out onto the face and back into the dihedral. Once the dihedral ends, continue up and left following a mixture of bolts and crack up the arete just right of Devilís Dandruf. Belay from one bolt and gear at top. <br />Gear: 000 to #2 camalot.  <br />4. Clio Climbing Club  5.10a  80 m <br />1p: 5.10a, 25 m. Starting at the very bottom of the wall, climb an obvious slightly overhanging finger crack into a dihedral. Belay at anchor. <br />2p: 5.10a, 25 m. Climb the left-facing dihedral. Make a move right and over small roof and move up into the obvious right-facing dihedral. Traverse right out of dihedral and belay at two bolt anchor. <br />3p: 5.9, 20 m. Donít climb the dihedral to the right. From the anchor head slightly left and up into the obvious dihedral crack above. At the end of the dihedral and wall, belay at one bolt and gear anchor. <br />Gear: 000 to #2 camalot. <br />5. Finger Mill  5.11b  70 m <br />1p: 5.10a, 20 m. Follow a right-facing dihedral finger crack to bolted anchor. <br />2p: 5.10c, 20 m. Continue up the finger crack through roofs to bolted anchor. <br />3p: 5.11b, 20 m. Follow bolts up and slightly left into right facing dihedral. Once you pull out of the overhanging dihedral clip a bolt. Donít continue up main dihedral. Move left onto a slopy ledge and up past another small roof protected by another bolt and finish on a thin finger crack. Great exposure over last roof before top. <br />Gear: a rack, extra 0.5 to 1 camalot. <br />6. Withdrawal  5.11a  20 m <br />Climb the face just right of the first pitch of Finger Mill. Shares same first anchor as Finger Mill. <br />Gear: quickdraws.
BETA PHOTO: 1. Primos 5.10b, 20 m
Follow the far left side of ...
Patrick Mulligan finishing the last pitch of Finger Mill, 5.11b at the Crack Shack, just below the Mills Peak lookout.
Patrick Mulligan finishing the last pitch of Finge...

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