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Tahoe Vicinity

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Emigrant Trail
Great 100% singletrack out and back that is a good choice for novice and intermediate riders. Near Truckee, California
From MP's sister site: MTB Project

Tahoe Vicinity  


Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 39, -120.05 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 2,986,873
Administrators: Aron Quiter, John Robinson, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Orphaned on Feb 18, 2006
Forecast:
Today

59-71°F
Sun

54-81°F
Mon

58-74°F
Tue

56-72°F
Wed

54-70°F
Thu

54-66°F
You & This Area
Best routes for YOU in this area
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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 East Shore Lake Tahoe 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

1,632 Total Routes

['4 Stars',132],['3 Stars',645],['2 Stars',609],['1 Star',198],['Bomb',9]
['<=5.6',77],['5.7',75],['5.8',147],['5.9',207],['5.10',450],['5.11',298],['5.12',116],['5.13',15],['>=5.14',4],['',0],['<=V1',52],['V2-3',113],['V4-5',44],['V6-7',20],['V8-9',9],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',3],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated 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
The Perfect Lie Back   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   The Fortress : 6 - Liebacks Area
Haystack   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 4 pitches, 400'   Lover's Leap : East Wall
Black September   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 110'   Donner Summit : Black Wall
One Hand Clapping   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 4 pitches, 500'   Donner Summit : 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
Touch A Cannibal   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 4 pitches, 400'   Donner Summit : Black Wall
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   Sugarloaf : Sugarloaf, East Face
Boot Hill   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Lover's Leap : Main Wall
The Hand of God   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Trad, 4 pitches, 600'   The Fortress : 2 - Wood Hood
Space Walk   5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch   Eagle Creek Canyon : Eagle Lake Cliff
Bat Karma   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   Auburn Cliffs : Horsepoo Canyon
Browse More Classics in Tahoe Vicinity

Featured Route For Tahoe Vicinity
Just after the corner on High Pacific Street Trave...

High Pacific Street Traverse V2-3 5+  CA : Tahoe Vicinity : ... : Pacific Street Wall
Many variations of the Pacific Street Traverse.Most start with the Dragons Neck Traverse V0 on the left side, making delicate moves right past undercling to jugs.High Pacific Street Traverse V3-5 Do dragons neck but continue to the corner, at the corner pull onto sloping lip at right (I like to dyno it) do moves with few feet to reach a good hold on lip and geet feet right into leaning crack. A powerful slap to a rounded jug leads to fun moves on the positively cut lip continue around the final ...[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of Tahoe Vicinity Slideshow Add Photo
Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe
Desolation Wilderness. Photo by Blitzo.
Desolation Wilderness. Photo by Blitzo.
Oak Trees-Foothills. Photo by Blitzo.
Oak Trees-Foothills. Photo by Blitzo.
December sunset from just south of Sand Harbor. No...
December sunset from just south of Sand Harbor. No...
Speaks for itself  January 2011
Speaks for itself January 2011
Foothill Sunset. Photo by Blitzo.
Foothill Sunset. Photo by Blitzo.
Tahoe Glass
Tahoe Glass
Brett making friends with the locals on Mt. Tallac...
Brett making friends with the locals on Mt. Tallac...
An Osprey perched high above Fallen leaf lake
An Osprey perched high above Fallen leaf lake
Hand Crack on the way to Chimney Beach, photo take...
Hand Crack on the way to Chimney Beach, photo take...
Tahoe East Shore. Photo by Blitzo.
Tahoe East Shore. Photo by Blitzo.
Fanette Island, Emerald Bay. Photo by Blitzo.
Fanette Island, Emerald Bay. Photo by Blitzo.
lovin tahoe
lovin tahoe
Tahoe keys from the summit of Mt. Tallac
Tahoe keys from the summit of Mt. Tallac
Tahoe Beer.
Tahoe Beer.
Busy day on the summit of Mt. Tallac
Busy day on the summit of Mt. Tallac
Common Yarrow (Achillea Augustissima). Photo by Bl...
Common Yarrow (Achillea Augustissima). Photo by Bl...
Tahoe Beer.
Tahoe Beer.
Poison oak is nice in late season color. Photo by ...
Poison oak is nice in late season color. Photo by ...
Eldorado Beach-Spring. Photo by Blitzo.
Eldorado Beach-Spring. Photo by Blitzo.
Live oak bark detail? Photo by Blitzo.
Live oak bark detail? Photo by Blitzo.
Tahoe Beer conetop can, 1940s.
Tahoe Beer conetop can, 1940s.
Sugar Pine. Photo by Blitzo.
Sugar Pine. Photo by Blitzo.
Tahoe Keys, Crystal Range and Mt. Tallac. Photo by...
Tahoe Keys, Crystal Range and Mt. Tallac. Photo by...

Show All 51 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Tahoe Vicinity Add Comment
Show which comments
By Aerili
From: Salt Lake City, UT
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 underground.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!
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