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Recommended Guide for the Tahoe Area
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By Bares
From Salt Lake City, Utah
Nov 25, 2013
Bouldering on the back side of Castleton Tower

We are going to be spending our honeymoon in the Tahoe area next summer and I was looking for suggestions on what guide book is the best for this area?

Also, any suggestions on the best areas to climb during July? Donner Pass?

-Ryan Bares


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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Nov 25, 2013

Have you climbed at Lover's Leap? It's the big attraction in the Tahoe area.

This guidebook is excellent for the South Lake Tahoe area, including Lover's Leap:

www.supertopo.com/packs/southlaketahoe.html


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By Bares
From Salt Lake City, Utah
Nov 26, 2013
Bouldering on the back side of Castleton Tower

Thanks FrankPS!

I haven't climbed in the Tahoe area at all. I've spent plenty of time in the Bishop and Yosemite area, but never in Tahoe.

We'll have to check out Lover's Leap. It looks pretty amazing. And thanks for the beta on the guide!


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By NorCalNomad
From San Francisco
Nov 26, 2013

South lake: SuperTopo South lake Tahoe climbs
North lake: Locals guide to rock climbs of North Tahoe.

I mostly climb in south lake when I do because it's easier to camp on the cheap/ free :P. That being said Donner summit and Big Cheif are great areas.


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By Eric Thomas
From Colorado
Nov 26, 2013
Second flatiron solo

Agree with FrankPS's suggestion for the supertopo book.

As far as what to climb, everything will be great in July!

You can't fail with Lover's Leap, tons of classics.

Go across the road and down a ways to Phantom Spires to climb Candyland. Just make you're cool with slinging basketball size knobs.

And hang out on the lake. It's gorgeous.


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By Colin Brochard
From San Francisco
Nov 26, 2013

July can be HOT. Seek shade when necessary. The leap gets a lot of sun after about noon; start early then retreat to the lake ;)


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By gf9318
Nov 26, 2013

While at the Leap support the new owners of the Strawberry Store; awesome local climber family that shared great stories, beers, and even their house while we were there last summer!


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By Salamanizer
Administrator
From Vacaville Ca.
Nov 29, 2013

If you have any decent experience traveling about and making sense of guidebooks, you should not waste your money on a Supertopo. They are very basic "select" books designed to help more novice climbers with a basic skillset, find and follow the more popular routes in a given area.

A good way to tell if you have a decent skillset in guidebook deciphering (you, having been to Yosemite), is if you can read and make sense of the Falcon Guide by Reid for the Yosemite and Tuolumne areas.

If you're good with that book. Pick up the Falcon Guide for Tahoe. It's got the other 90% of routes the Supertopo leaves out.


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By Schwisow
From Incline Village, NV
Nov 29, 2013

I agree with Sal on the book choice. The new north lake guide is garbage. superNOpo's!!! Watch out for the leap/phantom spires in the summer, perfect time for 4 ft rattlesnakes to come down the trail while your belaying. NO JOKE!! Infested. Snowshed at donner is sure to full fill your day. Eagle lake is an awesome crack day, Mayhem is shaded around 1pm to clip bolts from 5.9 to 5.13. A new South Lake bouldering guide will be in stores when you arrive. Check out Sports Ltd and talk to Jay or Salazar.


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By csproul
From Rancho Cordova, CA
Nov 30, 2013
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background

Salamanizer wrote:
If you have any decent experience traveling about and making sense of guidebooks, you should not waste your money on a Supertopo. They are very basic "select" books designed to help more novice climbers with a basic skillset, find and follow the more popular routes in a given area. A good way to tell if you have a decent skillset in guidebook deciphering (you, having been to Yosemite), is if you can read and make sense of the Falcon Guide by Reid for the Yosemite and Tuolumne areas. If you're good with that book. Pick up the Falcon Guide for Tahoe. It's got the other 90% of routes the Supertopo leaves out.

Is the Falcon book still available? I see some used ones online but the new ones inline are very expensive. Can you find this guide locally?


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By saguaro sandy
Nov 30, 2013
Picacho

Climbing at Lovers leap
Climbing at Lovers leap


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By Bares
From Salt Lake City, Utah
Dec 4, 2013
Bouldering on the back side of Castleton Tower

Awesome! Thanks for all the advice!


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By J. Albers
From Colorado
Dec 4, 2013
Bucky

Salamanizer wrote:
Pick up the Falcon Guide for Tahoe. It's got the other 90% of routes the Supertopo leaves out.


Yeah...and with it lots of errors and vague descriptions. SuperTaco books are clearly not comprehensive, but they are nice for what they are, and that is accurate, descriptive, and clearly written. If you're traveling, want to get on the classics, and don't want to waste time 'deciphering' directions and descriptions, then the Taco books are worthwhile. If you live in CA, then of course you also want things like the Reid guides. I for one like the Taco books for certain circumstances. And no, you can't call me a 'noob decipherer' because I also spend plenty of time in obscure locales with scribbles for topos.


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By janetandjasonclimbrocks
From Blue Bell, PA
Dec 4, 2013

Lovers Leap is spectacular. If you like easy routes with a lot of varied climbing, try Knapsack Crack on Hogsback. Just get there early, it can back up. You'll love Tahoe!


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By Court
Dec 5, 2013

If you want to take a look at some things now (some of which aren't on here) I've got a climbing section going up on my site. Doesn't have much needed info for each route (such as rack needed) like supertopo but has way more areas and how to get to them
www.aboutlaketahoe.com/climbing.htm
the north tahoe guide has a much more complete selection of routes than supertopo (which is only south lake and surrounds) but also has limited rack info.

there are still a few pages (big chief, echo lakes, spaced invaders that i haven't completed yet so they still show luther spires info, which was the template


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By Colonel Mustard
From Reno, NV
Dec 5, 2013
Colonel Mustard

Unfortunately, there is no great, single guide choice. Get the falcon for an overview of most areas and supplement with mproject info? Stay at lovers leap campground and make your new wife eat your taint as a welcome reprieve from the maggot gagging pit toilet.


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By Weston L
From Summerlin, NV
Dec 5, 2013
Me at the good rest on Doggie Do

^^ that pit toilet at the Leap is heinous. One of the worst in climbing...


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By Brian Snider
From NorCal
Dec 5, 2013
Whoo Hooo!

Colonel Mustard wrote:
Stay at lovers leap campground and make your new wife eat your taint as a welcome reprieve from the maggot gagging pit toilet.

Damn that thing is bad. Can't believe my gf thinks that's better than going in the woods.
+1 for the taco.


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By Tahoeguy
Dec 6, 2013

If you have never climbed in Tahoe your options are many, and excellent.

Best all around crag in the Tahoe area is Lovers Leap near South Shore. You must go there at least for a day or two. Second best is probably the Donner Summit region, which is at the other end of the lake, near Truckee.

Best guidebooks:

The Supertopo guidebook has great descriptions and drawn topos for a select number of the most popular routes at Lovers Leap and some of the other South shore crags. Plenty enough routes for someone who has never climbed there or is an occasional climber in the area.
Available from the Supertopo website.

The Locals Guide to Rock Climbs of North Tahoe is your "go to" guide for everything on the East and North side of Tahoe. Very comprehensive (maybe to comprehensive as it weighs several pounds) full color guide with great color photos and photo overlays of every crag and route.(Also has a great section on the history of Tahoe climbing)
Available from the Camp 4 Press website

The The Falcon Guide is another option which features many of the most popular crags on both sides of the lake. However, it is about 20? years old, black and white topos, and out of print. It has more routes listed for South Shore than the Supertopo guide, but the topos/descriptions are not as good. Not nearly as comprehensive for North Shore Crags, nor anywhere near as good/accurate as the color route overlays, as in the new Locals Guide to North Tahoe. Probably available on EBAY.

Have a great honeymoon!!


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By Colonel Mustard
From Reno, NV
Dec 7, 2013
Colonel Mustard

Personally, I would not buy "The Locals Guide to North Lake Tahoe" as a traveling climber. More of a specialty piece for, well, locals looking for more obscure routes.


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By Tahoeguy
Dec 8, 2013

^^^^ I would have to disagree about the North Tahoe Guide. It is, by far, the best (Along with the new Hatchett guide to West/North Shore bouldering guide) Tahoe guidebook, even if not planning on climbing all of the over 1,300 routes included. Can't wait to see the Locals Guide to South Lake Tahoe come out.


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By Court
Dec 8, 2013

i like the north tahoe guide but it does have some drawbacks as compared to supertopo. while the pictures are glossy, so is the description for each route and gear needed.
i use it a lot to find places to go.
i use supertopo more when i get to a place.


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By bergbryce
From South Lake Tahoe, CA
Dec 9, 2013

You def want the Falcon book.
You don't want to miss out on classics like Brushfreak Direct.


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By Colonel Mustard
From Reno, NV
Dec 9, 2013
Colonel Mustard

Tahoeguy wrote:
^^^^ I would have to disagree about the North Tahoe Guide. It is, by far, the best (Along with the new Hatchett guide to West/North Shore bouldering guide) Tahoe guidebook, even if not planning on climbing all of the over 1,300 routes included. Can't wait to see the Locals Guide to South Lake Tahoe come out.


Admittedly, it does cover "Snowhed Wall" rather well, lol.

It's really not an overview of the entire Tahoe area as the as Falcon guide offers, nor does it do a quality job as we all expect from Supertopo. A huge swing and a miss in my book, but I do borrow my friends' copies from time to time to check out its one major strength: North Tahoe obscurities.

The "history" touted seems to have fallen through the cracks on that book as well and is made up primarily of having nailed a lot of the FA names? I don't see the pieces in there that really give a flavor of the history and climbing culture that you see in other guides, like the excellent Indian Creek guidebooks by Bloom, etc.. Dunno, maybe I missed that feature when I was busy thumbing back and forth between the description to the topo photo, from the description to the topo photo... Piss poor printing quality, bad organization, binding that falls apart.... It has been a favorite local bitch amongst climbers I meet, almost a pastime in these parts.

No, I still wouldn't pay for it as a local, and I still think a visiting climber who probably isn't mining obscurities would be far better served by the other guides as well as healthy helpings of mountain project beta.

I'm sorry if it offends, I'm just reporting my observations and the real talk that has gone down about this book, I don't have any interest in a valuable resource like a guidebook sucking.


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By SexPanther aka Kiedis
Dec 9, 2013
Thumbtastic

Camp4press.com is "temporarily down". Scratch that idea. Ah, professionalism.

Thanks for the heads up on the guides. Looking to take a peek this year.


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By BrianWS
Dec 9, 2013

Shade is easy to chase at the Leap and Phantom Spires. Sugarloaf is much hotter in the summer, but most of the areas in the S. Tahoe area should be fine.

Supertopo's great if you're in the area for a short time and/or only looking for classic moderates. I think they sell the falcon guide at the climber's shop across the street from the Strawberry lodge, so you could always pick up a copy if you get tired of waiting in line for the well-traveled routes at the Leap.

The pit toilets are heinous. Having your nutsack covered in flies while trying not to retch from the smell just about sums up the experience.


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