Elevation: 7,584 ft
GPS: 39.33, -120.335 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 628,458 total · 3,034/month
Shared By: Brian Quiter on Oct 7, 2002 with improvements by Craig Shanholtzer
Admins: Aron Quiter, Lurker, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes
Access Issue: Donner/Truckee area Details

Description

Donner Summit is one of the crown jewels of climbing in Tahoe, featuring trad, sport, bouldering, and multi-pitch, all on high-quality granite, perched above Donner Lake and Truckee.  

Donner Summit generally covers crags and boulders situated between Donner Pass Road (i.e., Old Highway 40) and Interstate 80.  Most of the walls are accessed via Donner Pass Road, with a few exceptions accessed from I-80 (Babylon, Bat Wall, PCT Cliff, Freeway Slab).

Summer is the prime time to climb on the Summit, with spring and fall offering excellent conditions as well. The Summit is typically snowed-in in the winter, although a few crags (e.g., southwest face of Grouse Slab) can be climbed year-round.

Although many climbers will flock to popular walls like Snowshed, gems can be found everywhere, and it's not hard to find solitude if you're willing to hike a little further.  A dip in Donner Lake and some beers on the dock can be a great way to finish off a day of sending.

Getting There

Drive on Interstate 80 from outside the Donner area.

From the west, take exit 174 at Soda Springs, and follow Donner Pass Road just past the ski areas where large rocks appear on both sides of the road.

From the east, take exit 184 just past Truckee for Donner Pass Road. Drive past the lake, and up to your destination.

Lots of this area's destinations use the Pacific Crest Trail -the local path of least resistance - as art of their approach, especially on the north side of the road.

Lodging

Camping near the climbing is illegal, but doesn't seem to be too severely enforced. If that troubles you, seasonally there's camping on the opposite side of Donner Lake (see Donner Memorial State Park's website for details), and both cabins and hotels accommodations in from there to Truckee, which is an ample source of nearby food and entertainment.

Granite Flat Campground opens earlier each year than Donner Memorial SP. It is located a few miles south of Truckee on highway 89. It currently costs $22/night for a single vehicle site. It's not the most remote campsite as it is directly adjacent to 89, but has decent toilets and well water.

332 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Donner Summit

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 169
Composure
Trad
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 125
Rated X
Trad 2 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 141
Jellyroll Arch
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 224
One Hand Clapping
Trad 4 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 171
Black September
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 79
Touch and Go
Trad 4 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 196
Nova Express
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 183
Bottomless Topless
Trad, TR
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 182
Farewell to Arms
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 89
Firecracker
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 140
Molar Concentration
Trad
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 88
Little Feat
Sport, TR
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 143
Aerial
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 128
Peter Principle
Trad, TR
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 83
Monkey Paws
Trad
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Composure Snowshed Wall > N Face
 169
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad
Rated X Black Wall > 3. Black Wall - Right
 125
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 2 pitches
Jellyroll Arch Grouse Slab > E Face
 141
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 2 pitches
One Hand Clapping Black Wall > 1. Black Wall - Left
 224
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 4 pitches
Black September Black Wall > 3. Black Wall - Right
 171
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Touch and Go Black Wall > 1. Black Wall - Left
 79
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 4 pitches
Nova Express Snowshed Wall > E Face
 196
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad
Bottomless Topless Snowshed Wall > N Face
 183
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad, TR
Farewell to Arms Snowshed Wall > E Face
 182
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Firecracker Black Wall > 1. Black Wall - Left
 89
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Molar Concentration Snowshed Wall > N Face
 140
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Little Feat Snowshed Wall > E Face
 88
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport, TR
Aerial Snowshed Wall > N Face
 143
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Peter Principle Snowshed Wall > N Face
 128
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad, TR
Monkey Paws Snowshed Wall > N Face
 83
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Trad
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