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Woodfords Canyon

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2nd Alcove 
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the APRON 
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Wood Hood 

Woodfords Canyon 

Photos: Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 5,200'
Location: 38.7653, -119.8463 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 99,858
Administrators: Aron Quiter, M.Morley, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Milton Mugambe on Feb 17, 2009
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Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu
64° | 37°
Partly Cloudy
61° | 33°
Snow Showers
43° | 27°
Partly Cloudy
53° | 31°
Partly Cloudy
57° | 34°
Bill Price on Hillside Strangler. 1981
Photo by Bl...


Woodfords Canyon offers year-round climbing. The south-facing side of Highway 88 allows comfortable climbing conditions during the winter months. When the mercury climbs into the 40's in Reno, the temperatures at Woodford's can allow for surprisingly comfortable climbing, assuming there are clear skies and light winds. In summer, the shady walls lying on the south side create perfect conditions during the hotter summer months.
The area is relatively unknown, usually only receiving the attention of a few parties on weekends. The climbing is generally traditional and although there are routes up to four pitches in length, the majority of the climbs are a half rope long, with a 70m rope being extremely useful. The granite on the winter side is generally excellent with some areas of coarse rock. The summer areas have finer grained granite and less coarse rock but more dirt and munge; these climbs required extensive cleaning on their first ascents.
These climbs offer some of the purist crack climbing in the Tahoe area and is a great training area for Yosemite and the High Sierra.

Getting There 

Woodford's Canyon is located in Alpine Co., Ca. along Highway 88, 20 minutes from South Lake Tahoe. There are quite a few different parking areas and trail heads. Take Highway 50 west from South Lake Tahoe. Drive through the town of Meyers, go left on Highway 89 (south), drive several miles to the junction of Highways 88 and 89. Turn left onto Highway 88 (east), drive down the valley which follows the steep East Fork of the Carson River. Towards the bottom of the canyon the road becomes less steep and to the left is an obvious south facing treeless mountain side. The golden rock formations above the bushy slope is known as The Fortress. Park on the north-side of the road next to rotating road condition sign, where a small stream runs along the shoulder of the road. This parking area is on the left after passing Crystal Springs Campground. Pull a u-turn after passing over the bridge and park in front of the aforementioned road sign. Follow the well beaten trail that goes upstream (west) towards a tree covered rocky ridge. From the ridge follow a decent climber's trail that is marked by cairns through a line of trees that lead to the base or The Fortress. The wall lying directly above the approach trail is known as the Donnie G and can be identified by a prominent "stalactite". Allow 30-45 minutes for the approach.

88 Total Routes

['4 Stars',11],['3 Stars',45],['2 Stars',17],['1 Star',9],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Woodfords Canyon:
The Perfect Lie Back   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Trad, 60'   The Fortress
5.8 Hand Crack   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   Books Area
Rebirth   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Deadwood Wall
Quoia the Destroya   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   2nd Alcove
Whisker Biscuit   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Donnie G
I Be Jammin'   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 75'   2nd Alcove
The Red Pillar   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Trad, 100'   Red Pillar Area
Inside/Out   5.9+ 5c 17 VI E1 5a PG13     Trad, 2 pitches, 140'   Wood Hood
Regular Route   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a PG13     Trad, 260'    The Upper Crystal Springs ... : The Steeple
Cat Scratch Fever   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   Books Area
Bush League   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 65'   One Of These Days Buttress
Sun Wall Middle   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 95'   Sun Wall Area
One Of These Days   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 115'   One Of These Days Buttress
Sun Wall Left   5.10c 6b 20 VII E2 5b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch   The Fortress
Walking Jack   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   2nd Alcove
O.U.L.D.   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 130'   2nd Alcove
Long Arm of the Aug   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 115'   The Tiers : 3rd Tier
Hillside Strangler   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 35'   Southside Crags : Strangler Cliff
The Hand of God   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII E4 6a     Trad, 4 pitches, 600'   Wood Hood
Little Miss Manners   5.11d 7a 24 VIII E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 65'   One Of These Days Buttress
Browse More Classics in Woodfords Canyon

Featured Route For Woodfords Canyon
Eric sinking his tips into the start of Pump Factory.

Pump Factory 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII E4 6a  CA : Tahoe Vicinity : ... : Far East
Even Popeye would catch a pump on this one, so eat yer spinach! This short climb defines the word splitter. Pull off the ground on tips locks and move into big fingers. The crack then widens to hands for a stretch and then unrelenting fists to the top. A powerful finish gains the chains. It's hard to believe that forty feet can pack such a wallop. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

News and Events For Woodfords Canyon
Photos of Woodfords Canyon Slideshow Add Photo
Working steep granite. Woodfords Canyon.
Working steep granite. Woodfords Canyon.
lightning dream arete
lightning dream arete
One Of These Days, 5.10c. Wow!
BETA PHOTO: One Of These Days, 5.10c. Wow!
Lauren on the White Kong Boulder, near Markleeville. See Noah Kaufmann's blog for the beta
Lauren on the White Kong Boulder, near Markleevill...
A short crack @ S.T.buttress
A short crack @ S.T.buttress
Al Dude bouldering on Mama Cat Boulder 1986. <br />Photo by Blitzo.
Al Dude bouldering on Mama Cat Boulder 1986.
 S. Watson"s pictural of the Steeple Aka Aguille de Dread
S. Watson"s pictural of the Steeple Aka Aguille d...
Lightning Dream
Lightning Dream
 East side of The Steeple
East side of The Steeple
Stormtrooper buttress
Stormtrooper buttress
 The Fortress
The Fortress
neutron .10a
neutron .10a
Comments on Woodfords Canyon Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jan 21, 2014
By Rick D
From: Reno, NV
Mar 13, 2009

This is awesome. Been waiting for someone to add this page. Been meaning to get down there for a while.

By Ron Anderson
Mar 21, 2009

Woodsford is an awsome canyon,,,It prolly has about twelve thousand quality routes still waiting.... Over the years there has been many passers through like Harding, Robbins Tm and Tommy Herbert there...Quite alot of history and eing so close, is one of the most over looked areas there is.. Thank god for steep approaches!!LOL....

By Aerili
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 10, 2009

I think some of the route organization here for this area is already confusing and not in the right grouping.

According to my topo, The Fortress should be listed as an area, and within that area should be the 2nd Alcove (and its routes therein). The Perfect Lieback should also be a route listed within a sub-area of The Fortress, aka The Liebacks Area.

Can we re-organize in this way? Also, is it possible to actually make such "sub-crag" area divisions within an area on mtnprjct? (It doesn't necessarily look like it.)

By Blue Eisele
Apr 28, 2009

People don't climb at Woodsfords much so do the area a favor and bring a wire brush with you. When you are done leading do a TR lap with your brush and on the way down clean all the lichen off the routes. Also thank Ryan and Dan for all their hard work putting up new routes and anchors!!

By Milton Mugambe
May 29, 2009

It's sad that woodfords is all alone. The best climbing is going on right now. It's been high and dry in the canyon while the popular areas are soaked. Try something new and be adventurous.

By Sasha Cohen
From: South Lake Tahoe CA
Jun 15, 2009

Hey Milt,
I heard you're putting together a climbing guide for Woodford's Canyon it's about time that a current one is done by someone who really knows the area!! I also heard you need a publisher. I will let you know if i find one.
Keep up the good work!

By C Miller
Jun 16, 2009

A good online guide to Woodsfords Canyon is found here -

By Ron Anderson
Aug 3, 2009

iF You have any questions regaring the old guide let me know... Ron

By Milton Mugambe
Aug 16, 2009

The areas that have been posted all lie on the north-side of the road.. the were submitted during the winter months... so the summer stuff hasn't been included. I'm considering posting some more information on the south-side of the road, but I've been working on a complete guide for both sides of the road, and haven't had time to add anymore info. Milt M.

By Ryan Curry
Apr 2, 2011

The winter side is in prime condition as of 4/1/11 (no foolin'). Perfect climbing in both sun and shade. See you up there!

By Tyson W.
From: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Jan 21, 2014

I love this damn place. Tahoe obscurity at its absolute finest.