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Areas in Donner/Truckee

Castle Peak Bouldering 0 / 0 / 0 / 20 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 20
Donner Memorial State Park/Coldstream 0 / 0 / 0 / 32 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 32
Donner Pass 160 / 82 / 43 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 248
Freeway Crags 21 / 5 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 25
Prosser Hill 0 / 0 / 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Summit Lake Area 0 / 0 / 0 / 15 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 15
Truckee River Legacy Trail 0 / 0 / 0 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Elevation: 6,360 ft
GPS: 39.33, -120.308 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 328,769 total · 1,768/month
Shared By: Brian Quiter on Oct 7, 2002
Admins: Aron Quiter, Lurker, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes


The Donner/Truckee area of the Sierra Crest has climbing on granite rocks ranging from small to hundreds of feet. Both cracks and face climbs coexist here, and there are some kick-ass climbs of both sorts. The climbing season is from mid April until whenever snow closes the roads in November or December. Donner/Truckee's high elevation means that even during beautiful summer days a surprise storm is possible, so be prepared.
Access Notes Details

Getting There

Non locals will all drive on Interstate 80 from outside the Donner area.


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.

347 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Donner/Truckee

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Insidious Crack
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Rated X
Trad 2 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Jellyroll Arch
Trad 2 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Telegraph Crack
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Mole's Corner
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
One Hand Clapping
Trad 4 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Black September
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Nova Express
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Bottomless Topless
Trad, TR
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Farewell to Arms
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Molar Concentration
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Peter Principle
Trad, TR
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Monkey Paws
Trad, TR
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Composure Donner Pass > Snowshed Wall 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad
Insidious Crack Donner Pass > Grouse Slab > E Face 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad
Rated X Donner Pass > Black Wall Area > Black Wall 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 2 pitches
Jellyroll Arch Donner Pass > Grouse Slab > E Face 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 2 pitches
Telegraph Crack Donner Pass > Snowshed Wall 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Mole's Corner Donner Pass > Snowshed Wall 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
One Hand Clapping Donner Pass > Black Wall Area > Black Wall 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 4 pitches
Black September Donner Pass > Black Wall Area > Black Wall 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Nova Express Donner Pass > Snowshed Wall 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad
Bottomless Topless Donner Pass > Snowshed Wall 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad, TR
Farewell to Arms Donner Pass > Snowshed Wall 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Molar Concentration Donner Pass > Snowshed Wall 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Aerial Donner Pass > Snowshed Wall 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Peter Principle Donner Pass > Snowshed Wall 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad, TR
Monkey Paws Donner Pass > Snowshed Wall 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Trad, TR
More Classic Climbs in Donner/Truckee »

Weather Averages

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Prime Climbing Season


Laine Christman
Reno, NV
Laine Christman   Reno, NV
March 2015 - In collaboration with the Access Fund, the Truckee Donner Land Trust has entered into an agreement to purchase the 10-acre property that includes Black Wall and surrounding crags. Thanks to all who donated. If you haven't, you still can by going to this link Jul 17, 2015
J. Albers
J. Albers   Colorado

See the link pasted below (it has a list of all of the books that are available):… Jul 11, 2012
Nikolai Daiss-Fechner
Boulder, CO
Nikolai Daiss-Fechner   Boulder, CO
If climbing near the top of Donner (Goldilocks, Schoolhouse, Hiking PCT etc), please do not park in the paved part of the Sugar Bowl Academy lot (formerly ASI). There is a service road that runs out the back of the lot. Parking on any of the dirt in this area is permitted. Just stay off the pavement.
Bathrooms are rather scarce on Donner, and burying it is tough since most of the ground is solid rock. There is an outhouse at Snowshed wall (can't miss it), as well as bathrooms at the Cafe in Norden (West towards where you get onto 80). Donner Ski Ranch is also sometimes an option. SBA (right on the pass) CANNOT allow general public to use their restrooms legally. Also, down on 40 along Donner lake there are a few small cafes and stores that may or may not have bathrooms. There is a beach on Donner lake at the west end that has restrooms, but there is an access fee depending on the time of year.
The easily accessible docks on Donner Lake are for public use, on a kind of first come first serve basis. Look down at the shore as you drive along the lake to find them. Excellent place to have an evening beer after climbing or spend a rest day lounging and swimming. (On a side note, do not fish here without a license because Rangers DO come by to check). The swimming is first class...water temps are chilly but very nice as far as snow runoff fed lakes go.
I would be more than happy to provide any additional info. Feel Free to contact me. I however, have a terrible memory and rout beta is not my strong point. I did live here (at SBA) for 2 years though and know the area itself very well Feb 11, 2008
Reno, NV
slk   Reno, NV

This guide is awesome for the area. For a .7-.8 climber it's helped to point me to some fun stuff. Going to go hit some .6 and .7 up above snowshed today and help clean it out!!!!

Thanks J. Jackson, see you at happy hour. Aug 5, 2012

If you want the comprehensive guidebook for the North Tahoe region:

The new LOCALS GUIDE to North Tahoe has all 1,300 of the known routes in the North Tahoe-Donner-Reno region with full color overlays of almost every route. Included are seven hundred routes not documented in the other guidebooks listed, as well as a detailed history of climbing in the region.

More info here: (note - now a dead link) h ttp:// Jul 13, 2012
Can anyone recommend a guidebook for Donner and/or all of North Tahoe? I searched online and all I could find was the Falcon guide from 1999 and a Maximus Press book for Big Chief. Jul 10, 2012
Does anyone know what camp site is closest and if there are any camp sites paid or BLM with trails leading to the climbing areas? I'm fine with long trails, even up to 10-12 miles. Oct 21, 2011
Paul Rezucha
Paul Rezucha   Alameda
Could anyone tell me if there is any good place to camp this time of year around Donner? Most campgrounds are open May through October. Forest Land is ok to "dispense" camp but where/how does one find a good area that's not private and that is accessible. You do need a fire permit (free) from the park service/visitor center if you plan to cook or have a fire. Thanks! Nov 2, 2009
Rick D
Reno, NV
Rick D   Reno, NV
Response to Slab Guy:

The snow will still be around but you can get to all the walls as of right now. Snowshed is still pretty wet though. Snowshed is usually packed on the weekends, Truckee will be a zoo on memorial, everyone from the bay comes up. May 4, 2009
couple of questions about Donners Pass:

Is all the snow melted by the end of May? Is everything climbable at this time?

Are crowds ever a problem here? Is it very often that you have to wait in line for a popular climb? Would memorial day weekend be a bad time to go?

Thanks for any info you have. May 3, 2009

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