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Tahoe Vicinity

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Highway 50 Corridor 
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Nearby Mountain Bike Rides

Lake Alpine Loop
An amazing and well-maintained series of trails around Lake Alpine that make for a scenic ride. Near South Lake Tahoe, California
Rise and Shine Downhill (#18E18)
Climb a fire road to access a fantastic singletrack downhill with smooth turns and scenic lake views Near Kings Beach, California
Christmas Valley Trail
Terrific Singletrack, rocky sections, some down trees, good stuff. Near South Lake Tahoe, California
Tahoe Rim Trail to Christmas Valley Trail
A great climb on rocky singletrack up to the meadow - terrific alpine scenery, and a sweet descent. Near South Lake Tahoe, California
Scott's Lake Trail
A nice ascent through pine and aspens to the shores of Scotts Lake. Near South Lake Tahoe, California
Emigrant Trail
A fun trail for beginners to hone their technical skills along the south side of Lake Alpine. Near South Lake Tahoe, California
From MP's sister site: MTB Project

Tahoe Vicinity Rock Climbing 


Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 39, -120.05 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 698,065
Administrators: Aron Quiter, John Robinson, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Orphaned on Feb 18, 2006
Forecast:
This Afternoon

75° | 49°
Thursday

74° | 50°
Friday

73° | 49°
Saturday

73° | 50°
Sunday

73° | 49°
Monday

73° | 50°
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [1 person likes this page.]

Description 

Beautiful, spacious, and often daunting, the Sierra Nevada in the Lake Tahoe area contains some of the best summer climbing in California. The area is almost entirely covered in climbable rock, and route setters will delight at the bounty of untouched potential.

Consisting mostly of granite, with a few basaltic exceptions, you will find climbs off all types, from the long traditional and sport routes at Lover's Leap, to the pumpy tall bouldering found everywhere, but most notably Donner and Pack Saddle Passes.

Climbing is year round in some places, though most areas are covered in snow from the first snow (usually in October or November) until March - June depending on altitude and direction of the rock.

Access is at most of the region's crags, especially in the public lands of the Tahoe and Eldorado National Forests. The Desolation and Granite Chief Wilderness areas have regulations you should learn about before visiting, but for day use, you can self-register for free at the major trail heads leading into them.

Also note that about a third of the Tahoe area and climbing is in Nevada, right across the unnatural straight state lines. See the Reno and Carson City area for the Tahoe vicinity's Nevada crags.

Places to stay are plentiful, from BLM camping, organized campgrounds, lodges, cheap hotels, to even four star hotels in Reno and South Lake Tahoe.

Tahoe Ice

Is a fleeting thing! And discussed on some threads inside and outside this site. Some flows form every year, others rarely so, all over the region. While no routes are documented here yet (ahem), at least one area has been created to track them: Eagle Creek Canyon Ice Climbs.

Also see Tahoe Nevada Shores and Reno and Carson City for parts of the greater Tahoe region in the state of Nevada.

Getting There 

By Road
From the Bay Area, head up Highway 80 to Sacramento, where you will either head up into the hills either on 80, 50, or 89, depending on where you're going.

From Reno, head up Highway 80 to go to North Lake destinations, or down highway 395 , and then West on highway 89 into South Lake Tahoe.

Some bus services are offered by Greyhound and Amtrak.

By Air
South Lake Tahoe and Truckee both have municipal airports if you have the resources.

For the rest of us, the nearest city with commercial flights is Reno. For some Tahoe areas, Sacramento's airport might be a viable second option. Each one still requires a drive into the mountains.

By Rail
The first intercontinental railroad in the U.S. went over Donner Summit; one version of this line went through the Snowshed next to the climbing wall of the same name there. Amtrak still runs a train over the Sierra in this area, which runs through Truckee once a day or so. It's not cheap or fast compared to other modern travel to the Tahoe area, but is scenic (though it only goes by Donner Lake north and out of sight of Lake Tahoe).

By Trail
Each year during Pacific Crest Trail season, a batch of through hikers backpack in from the south through some of the highest elevation terrain in the area, above Lake Tahoe's West Shore. Other trails connect to Reno and Sacramento.

Some climbing areas also involve travel on the historic Pony Express Trail (mostly along highway 50), or on the Tahoe Rim Trail which encircles the whole lake. Riding bikes or horses, or hiking, can be used to approach some Tahoe crags and peaks.

Over Water
Around Lake Tahoe and some other area lakes, rivers or streams, deep water soloing or dry climbing spots may include travel by a variety of watercraft or swimming.

Once enough snow accumulates ever winter, many people ski and snowshoe to Tahoe's climbing areas, perhaps to do some ski mountaineering or ice climbing.

Climbing Season



Weather station 5.8 miles from here

1,818 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',154],['3 Stars',740],['2 Stars',678],['1 Star',193],['Bomb',14]
['<=5.6',86],['5.7',84],['5.8',169],['5.9',222],['5.10',498],['5.11',337],['5.12',130],['5.13',16],['>=5.14',4],['',0],['<=V1',56],['V2-3',125],['V4-5',51],['V6-7',24],['V8-9',12],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',3],['>=V14',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Tahoe Vicinity

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Tahoe Vicinity:
Surrealistic Pillar   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 3 pitches, 270'   Lover's Leap : Lower Buttress
Corrugation Corner   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 3 pitches, 300'   Lover's Leap : Main Wall
Bear's Reach   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 3 pitches, 400'   Lover's Leap : East Wall
Haystack   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 4 pitches, 400'   Lover's Leap : East Wall
One Hand Clapping   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 4 pitches, 500'   Donner Pass Road : Black Wall
Black September   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 110'   Donner Pass Road : Black Wall
The Line   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 3 pitches, 400'   Lover's Leap : East Wall
Traveler Buttress   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 4 pitches, 500'   Lover's Leap : Main Wall
Fear of Flying   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 2 pitches   Phantom Spires : Upper Spire
Hospital Corner   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 2 pitches, 240'   Lover's Leap : West Wall
Surrealistic Pillar Direct   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Lover's Leap : Lower Buttress
One Of These Days   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 115'   Cloudburst Canyon : One Of These Days Buttress
Candyland   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad   Phantom Spires : Middle Spire
The Fracture   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch   Sugarloaf : Sugarloaf, East Face
Boot Hill   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Lover's Leap : Main Wall
Space Walk   5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch   Eagle Creek Canyon : Eagle Lake Cliff
Tree Beard   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 120'   West Shore : Cascade Cliff
Cannibals   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   Donner Pass Road : Snowshed Wall
Bat Karma   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   Cave Valley (aka Auburn Qua... : Horsepoo Canyon
Grand Illusion   5.13b/c 8a+ 29 X- 30 E7 6c     Trad, 1 pitch   Sugarloaf : Sugarloaf, East Face
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Tahoe Vicinity

Featured Route For Tahoe Vicinity
Rock Climbing Photo: Pulling the Roof on Life is Bad.

Cast In Stone 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c  CA : Tahoe Vicinity : ... : The Negativity Cave
Cast in Stone is a Two pitch climb (see Negativity Slabs Area for a description of first pitch) To get to the start of the second pitch of this climb, climb the first pitch of "Cast In Stone" (See Beta Photo #4) When you get to the top of the first pitch you will arrive at a bench area that is at the base of Negativity Cave. Move to the left side of Negativity cave. Move up to the first bolt and traverse left past the fixed draw. There is a bolt with a chain protecting the move over the ...[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of Tahoe Vicinity Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Desolation Wilderness. Photo by Blitzo.
Desolation Wilderness. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Oak Trees-Foothills. Photo by Blitzo.
Oak Trees-Foothills. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: December sunset from just south of Sand Harbor. No...
December sunset from just south of Sand Harbor. No...
Rock Climbing Photo: Speaks for itself  January 2011
Speaks for itself January 2011
Rock Climbing Photo: Brett making friends with the locals on Mt. Tallac...
Brett making friends with the locals on Mt. Tallac...
Rock Climbing Photo: Tahoe Glass
Tahoe Glass
Rock Climbing Photo: Foothill Sunset. Photo by Blitzo.
Foothill Sunset. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Emerald Bay. Photo by Blitzo.
Emerald Bay. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: An Osprey perched high above Fallen leaf lake
An Osprey perched high above Fallen leaf lake
Rock Climbing Photo: Trad climbs on the water at DL Bliss. Paddleboard ...
Trad climbs on the water at DL Bliss. Paddleboard ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Hand Crack on the way to Chimney Beach, photo take...
Hand Crack on the way to Chimney Beach, photo take...
Rock Climbing Photo: Fanette Island, Emerald Bay. Photo by Blitzo.
Fanette Island, Emerald Bay. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: lovin tahoe
lovin tahoe
Rock Climbing Photo: Live oak bark detail? Photo by Blitzo.
Live oak bark detail? Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Beginning the hike to Mt. Tallac with fallen leaf ...
Beginning the hike to Mt. Tallac with fallen leaf ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Alpine lilies. Photo by Blitzo.
Alpine lilies. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Tahoe keys from the summit of Mt. Tallac
Tahoe keys from the summit of Mt. Tallac
Rock Climbing Photo: Tahoe Beer conetop can, 1940s.
Tahoe Beer conetop can, 1940s.
Rock Climbing Photo: The Desolation wilderness from Mt. Tallac
The Desolation wilderness from Mt. Tallac
Rock Climbing Photo: Tahoe North Shore. Photo by Blitzo.
Tahoe North Shore. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Tahoe Beer.
Tahoe Beer.
Rock Climbing Photo: Common Yarrow (Achillea Augustissima). Photo by Bl...
Common Yarrow (Achillea Augustissima). Photo by Bl...
Rock Climbing Photo: Busy day on the summit of Mt. Tallac
Busy day on the summit of Mt. Tallac
Rock Climbing Photo: Great stone! Photo by Blitzo.
Great stone! Photo by Blitzo.

Show All 48 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Tahoe Vicinity Add Comment
Show which comments
By Aerili
From: Los Alamos, NM
May 26, 2010
With regard to the weather link at the top of the page (or any of the Tahoe Vicinity pages): I would ALWAYS use noaa.gov vs wunderground.com when researching the Tahoe area forecasts. Much more accurate!!
By Andrew Cassidy
Jul 2, 2014
Knowing nothing about the area... I'm going to be there in August. What are the best places to escape the summer heat? I'm mostly interested in bouldering, but as well I climb trad and sport. In regards to bouldering, I noticed 3 different bouldering guidebooks. Which one would be best for summer spots. Thanks!
By Brian S
Dec 3, 2014
I would check out the high country during summer. My favorite is Summit Lake area near Donner Pass. Bouldering Lake Tahoe-North/West covers that area.
By Daniel Siegel
From: Portola, CA
Feb 16, 2015
I just moved to the area and I'm psyched about all of the opportunities out here! It seems like winter is kind of a joke this year and the climbing might be better than the skiing. However, I'm not sure on how to access some of the crags because of road closures. Can anyone give some advice? What is the best and/or easiest accessed crag or bouldering area for the next few months? Also, I'm on the hunt for partners!
By longlep
From: Reno, NV
Jul 13, 2015
Hi,

I just moved to Reno. I am looking to get out and do some climbing on the weekends/evenings. I have a double rack and all other gear. I am most stoked on climbing some trad in the 5.10-11 range, but I am definitely interested in most any climbing.
By Ajberge
May 7, 2016
Anyone know if you can access Bowman Lake at this time?

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