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Sugarloaf Rock Climbing 

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Elevation: 4,800'
Location: 38.7765, -120.3079 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 54,713
Administrators: Aron Quiter, John Robinson, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Brian Quiter on Mar 9, 2005
You & This Area
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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.

Peripheral Rocks

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.


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.

Getting There 

From the Bay Area, head East on 80 to Sacramento, then take 50 East, through Placerville and another ~31 miles to the town of Kyburz. 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).

From the east end of the pullout, cross highway 50 and skirt the left side of the barbed-wire fence. 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.

Climbing Season

Weather station 10.3 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

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Sugarloaf:
Smokestack   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 45'   Left Over Bun
Scheister   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 3 pitches, 300'   Sugarloaf, East Face
Harding's Chimney   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R     Trad, 3 pitches, 435'   Sugarloaf, East Face
Pony Express   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 170'   Sugarloaf, West Face
Swallowtail   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 2 pitches, 140'   Sugarloaf, East Face
Morticia   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Sugarloaf, East Face
Farley   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Sugarloaf, East Face
TM's Deviation   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 2 pitches, 300'   Sugarloaf, West Face
Dominion   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 120'   Sugarloaf, East Face
Fingerlock   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch   Sugarbun
Hyperspace   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 165'   Sugarloaf, West Face
Self Abuse   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 45'   Midway Rock
Blue Velvet   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Sugarloaf, East Face
Bolee Gold   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 4 pitches, 400'   Sugarloaf, South Face
The Fracture   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch   Sugarloaf, East Face
Make That Move Right Now Baby   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch   Sugarbun
Taurus   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Sugarloaf, East Face
Beast of Burden   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 70'   Sugarloaf, East Face
Captain Fingers   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Trad, 1 pitch, 105'   Sugarloaf, East Face
Grand Illusion   5.13b/c 8a+ 29 X- 30 E7 6c     Trad, 1 pitch   Sugarloaf, East Face
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Sugarloaf

Featured Route For Sugarloaf
Rock Climbing Photo: bring the bigstuff

Fat Merchant Crack 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b CA : Tahoe Vicinity : ... : Sugarloaf, West Face
"Sugarloaf's wide crack testpiece". Start in the wide chimney and burrow yourself in deep. After about 50 ft the crack narrows to a tight squeeze where you'll find a hideing piton in a horizontal crack deep inside the chimney. After clipping the piton, you'll have to drop down a few feet to be able to squeeze your way out of the crack. This is where the struggle begins. You can protect this section if you have 12" gear or you'll have to work your way up another 20 ft until you can get a #6...[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of Sugarloaf Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Mike Arechiga on, Blue Velvet. 5.10c.
Mike Arechiga on, Blue Velvet. 5.10c.
Rock Climbing Photo: "The Ghost In The Machine". Photo by Bli...
"The Ghost In The Machine". Photo by Bli...
Rock Climbing Photo: Mike Arechiga on, The Dominion. 5.10a.
Mike Arechiga on, The Dominion. 5.10a.
Rock Climbing Photo: Atop Sugarloaf, above the Grand Illusion roof.
Atop Sugarloaf, above the Grand Illusion roof.
Rock Climbing Photo: We had a brutal time finding the trail from the ro...
BETA PHOTO: We had a brutal time finding the trail from the ro...

Comments on Sugarloaf Add Comment
Show which comments
By Aerili
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 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 Paul Rezucha
From: Alameda
Mar 13, 2010
Has anyone climbed at Sugarloaf today, April 29? Just wondering what the snow level is like and if the approach is not too snowed in. Thx!
By Justin Johnsen
Jan 25, 2013
Weather Underground has a Sugarloaf station online now, at 5,500 feet elevation.
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!
By Salamanizer
From: Vacaville Ca.
Feb 19, 2016
Fixed. Thanks for the spotting that error and saying something about it.
By GizzardJones
From: Sacramento,CA
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.

Rock Climbing Photo: Main Walk Off Tree is gone. Mandatory 5.5/5.6? dow...
Main Walk Off Tree is gone. Mandatory 5.5/5.6? down climb for 2 moves

Rock Climbing Photo: Downed tree for the Descent Walk off SugarLoaf Pro...
Downed tree for the Descent Walk off SugarLoaf Proper

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