Sugarloaf Rock Climbing
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|Location: ||38.772, -120.30558 View Map Incorrect?
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|Administrators: ||Aron Quiter, John Robinson, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)|
|Submitted By: ||Brian Quiter on Mar 9, 2005|
Sugarloaf, 1982. Photo by Blitzo.
Sugarloaf is a huge granite spire towering over the town of Kyburz on highway 50 between Placerville and Tahoe. It is considered an excellent winter crag because of its lower elevation and mostly south-southwest facing position. There's both sport and trad, with single and multi-pitch routes of grades both easy to moderate, as well as full on hard committing routes that will test the strongest and boldest of climbers. The spire is about 350 feet tall and you can walk off the uphill side without much difficulty.
The Sugarloaf area also includes a handful of smaller rocks that you can find along the trail leading up to Sugarloaf proper. These rocks hold a slew of low to moderate quality routes with a few classics thrown in. Routes on these rocks can range from easy 5th class to extremely difficult and vary in height between 40 and 100 feet tall.
The climbing area, and the Pony Express Trail that passes below it, are both in Eldorado National Forest. You can always check the ENF Website
for recent information.
But access to the Pony Express Trail and climbing areas uses public right of ways over private land. As always, please respect the locals the live and work in Silver Fork and Kyburz as you hike in and out of the public playground above.
Local businesses, including gas stations stores, a cafe, and an inn, are just uphill and downhill from Sugarloaf on highway 50, in the towns of Silver Fork and Kyburz.
There are some options for camping in the area but they are undeveloped, few and far between.
1) Drive just up the hill (east) on HWY 50 to Silverfork Rd. There are several pullouts just a few miles up the road that allow for overnight camping. However, the gate closes for the winter, so if it's snowy and icy, chances are the gate will be closed.
2) Drive down HWY 50 (West)and make a right onto 31 Milestone tract. There is a large pullout that allows camping. This road also closes in the winter months but tends to stay open longer than Silverfork Rd.
3) There is year round opportunity along Ice House Rd. Located several miles back (west) down HWY 50, Ice House Rd offers year round primitive camping along numerous pullouts and dirt roads.
From the Bay Area, head East on 80 to Sacramento, then take 50 East, through Placerville and another ~30 miles (if you see the town of Kyburz sign and gas station, you've gone half a mile too far). After passing School Road, look for a dirt pullout on the right shoulder, on the south side of the two lane highway, and park there. Across the road on the north side you'll see a building with a locked blue outhouse on the left. This is basically half way between School Road, and Larch Lane.
We had a brutal time finding the trail from the road so figured we'd document it - the trail starts to the left of this building
Once parked, walk to the east end of the dirt pullout, and carefully across highway 50 to get to the left side of the outhouse and fence around the building.
Walk uphill for ~200 feet and you'll find a 'now entering forest service land' sign. From here a climber's trail is obvious and you just walk up it to the crags.
Sugarloaf is about a 30 minute hike straight up the hill. From route 50 to the base of the main formation, it's about 600 feet up over half a mile.
A more adventurous approach is to start down at 31 Milestone Tract
, and find the Pony Express Trail from near the domes there. Over less than 2 miles of trail, it reaches the elevation halfway between route 50 and the base of the main Sugarloaf. This approach can be done on foot or fat tires
(assuming you bring a means to secure your bike out of sight while you slog to your wall or boulder at Sugarloaf).
Weather station 10.4 miles from here
118 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',7],['3 Stars',41],['2 Stars',45],['1 Star',24],['Bomb',0]
Classic Climbing Routes in Sugarloaf
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Sugarloaf
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Sugarloaf:
Featured Route For Sugarloaf
TM's Deviation 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a CA
: Tahoe Vicinity
: ... : Sugarloaf, West Face
This is either a second pitch to West Chimney or Pony Express. Starts 40' directly south (downhill) of the top of p1 of Pony Express.Belay in a shady alcove, start up a slick face squeeze with a finger crack on the wall that takes good pro from #2 camalot to finger sizes. Pull out into handcrack and face on good knobs. Turns to lower angle wide fist, with good feet on the face. Then get down to business as you pull into a squeeze. A helmet will hose you here. There is a good horizon...[more] Browse More Classics in CA
Mike Arechiga on, Blue Velvet. 5.10c.
"The Ghost In The Machine". Photo by Bli...
Mike Arechiga on, The Dominion. 5.10a.
Atop Sugarloaf, above the Grand Illusion roof.
BETA PHOTO: We had a brutal time finding the trail from the ro...
From: Los Alamos, NM
Apr 27, 2009
Just a tip regarding the weather link for this page: my recent personal analysis and actual experience has been that Weather Underground (much as I love that site) does not portray an accurate forecast for the Kyburz area. Use noaa.gov instead; although their weather models are probably larger (and therefore less "local") than wunderground's, they seem more accurate.
If you check out the current list of Weather Underground's reporting stations at the bottom of the page (also visually listed on their WunderMap tab), you will see that not a single station is located at the same elevation as Kyburz--all are higher or lower. Further, I believe the numerous stations around South Lake skew the general forecast given for Kyburz to be colder/cooler than it really will be. Having climbed there on a day that was forecasted to be 40° with 40 mph wind gusts by Weather Underground and then finding nothing of the sort has confirmed my suspicions. That same day was forecasted to be 61° with 10 mph winds by noaa.
By Wa Na
May 13, 2014
If you want to stay in the area, I have a 4br house just below Sugarloaf by the school. You can rent the whole house or just 1 rm. Please call/txt (530) 318-7436 for availability
By Shayna H
From: Berkeley, CA
Feb 18, 2016
Hi, just wanted to warn everyone coming from the Bay Area that this parking info is not entirely accurate.
The "getting there" info on MP says: "Once at the small gas station in Kyburz, you have .6 miles until the dirt pullout on the side of the road (which is right after Sugarloaf Road). You'll be certain you're in the right place if you see the 'Welcome to Kyburz, now leaving Kyburz' road sign just behind you on the opposite side of the road."
But actually- if you're coming from the Bay Area, that pullout is about a half mile BEFORE that Kyburz road sign.
The info is correct in saying that the pullout is on the right side of the road, and you will want to walk to the east end of it and then cross the street to get to the left side of a barbed wire fence.
Hope this is helpful!
From: Vacaville Ca.
Feb 19, 2016
Fixed. Thanks for the spotting that error and saying something about it.
Mar 24, 2016
as of March 22nd 2016 for any walk offs the Main Sugarloaf Proper, the Tree has fallen down that folks could stem out to use as a crutch for the down climb section.
Now there is a mandatory 5.5 ish 5.6 short few moves of down climbing into the final descent gully.
Main Walk Off Tree is gone. Mandatory 5.5/5.6? down climb for 2 moves
Downed tree for the Descent Walk off SugarLoaf Proper