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Areas in Lover's Leap

Box, The 2 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Campground Boulders 0 / 0 / 1 / 20 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 20
Central Wall 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
Dear John Buttress 9 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 10
East Wall 32 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 32
Hogsback 33 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 35
Lower Buttress 16 / 2 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 18
Main Wall 24 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 29
West Wall 12 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 14

Description

This area is an excellent 250 to nearly 600 foot tall chunk of mostly vertical granite, containing hundreds of cracks crisscrossed with thousands of horizontal dikes. These dikes are key to reducing what would otherwise be very steep and difficult traditional routes, into routes with good rests and abundant holds, resulting in an area with relatively moderate grades. You will find over 250 developed routes that range from low bouldering traverses to 4 pitches tall. Some routes are bolt protected, but most of the sport climbing is 5.10+ YDS or harder, as the abundance of traditionally protected routes in close proximity to each other discourages squeezing in a bunch of moderate sport face climbing. All of the routes demand less than 20 minutes to "hike" into, as the entrance path is part of the pioneer trail, and therefore excellently maintained and quite wide.

Lovers Leap can sometimes seem crowded in certain areas, especially in the summer on weekends. However there is an almost limitless number of adventure routes and hidden classics that rarely ever see any traffic. As long as you're willing to step outside the box and try something that is not a "trade route", you will never have to wait in line or climb anywhere near other climbers... ever! Lovers Leap has a higher concentration and number of routes in close proximity to each other than any other crag in California. Add to that it's wide range of difficulty in routes and there is more than enough to keep everyone busy for a long time.

The main formation is traditionally divided into these walls, from right/west/closest to the campground, to left/east/furthest:West Wall, Main Wall, Central Wall, and East Wall. The second largest formation is the Hogsback. Many other small developed walls abound, mostly not yet covered on this site (seven or more of these are covered in Carville's Tahoe climbing guide). The nearest and most popular of these are the Lower Buttress and Dear John Buttress. The Loaf Boulder and Monks Rock are major boulders right outside the campground; other potential abounds in less convenient and obvious pieces of granite.
Seasonal Raptor Closure Details

Getting There

From the Bay Area / Sacramento: Head East on highway 50 towards Placerville. Continue past Placerville to the town of Strawberry, which is approximately 8 miles past the more marked Kyburz. Turn off the freeway onto the small route that parallels the 50 just on the far side of the Strawberry lodge, which is hard to miss on your right. This is about 40 miles past Placerville. You get a good glimpse of the west and main walls as you get close to the Lodge on a clear day.

From Lake Tahoe: Head 18 miles West on Highway 50 to the town of Strawberry, where you should head a left just before the Strawberry Lodge, which will approach on your left after a magnificent view of Lover's Leap looming to the left on the way to the lodge.

From the Strawberry Lodge: Follow the road that Parallels the 50. At the junction, head left, and travel through the small neighborhood quietly and slowly, as advised by local signs. You will run directly into the parking lot about 1/3 mile later.

The trailhead is towards the rear of the lot.

Camping and Amenities

There is a developed campground (first come, first served) at the western foot of the cliff. To find the campground, pull into the Strawberry Lodge parking lot. Follow the road to the left of the lodge past several cabins until you cross a small bridge over the river. After the bridge take an immediate left up a single lane road. Follow this road until it ends at the campground.

Camping is $10 (U.S.) a night and $5 (U.S.) for an extra car per day. There is limited day parking ($5) in the campground for climbers. Overflow parking is found along the road 100 yards past the bridge/river on the right side of the road. Do not park alongside the road leading to the campground or in the Strawberry Lodge parking lot. Your car may be towed at your expense, (up to $1000 dollars in fines and/or a 30 day impound can be applied).

Conveniently located at the edge of the campground are a few large boulders worth doing. From the parking lot, head uphill and cross over the small foot bridge to the Pony Express Trail. Hang a left, and walk up the gently sloped trail for about 3 minutes.

Almost all multipitch routes are best to walk off, both for the preservation of existing vegetation, and that most routes don't have any fixed protection at the top of the rock due to the abundance of trees, cracks, and large rocks at the top.

You can get pretty good food at the Strawberry Lodge, breakfast, lunch and dinner. They serve food at the bar as well and is a bit cheaper too. The Lodge is very climber friendly and showers can be purchased for a small fee. Just ask at the front desk.

Across the street is the Strawberry Station, where you can pick up drinks and basic goods. There is also a small but usually well stocked gear store which carries all your basic (and then some) climbing gear. They also rent shoes and probably other gear if you just happen to forget something. It is owned and operated by a great and friendly local family the head of which is Squirrel, a local climber with all the beta you'll ever need. Be sure to stop in and support their friendly business.

Access

CRAGS, the local Access Fund affiliate, hosts yearly Adopt-a-Crag events, and collaborates with the Eldorado National Forest.

167 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Lover's Leap

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Deception
Trad 3 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Surrealistic Pillar
Trad 3 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Bear's Reach
Trad 3 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Corrugation Corner
Trad 3 pitches
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Hogwild
Trad
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Haystack
Trad 4 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Preparation H
Trad
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
East Crack
Trad 3 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13
The Groove
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
The Line
Trad 3 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Scimitar
Trad 3 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Traveler Buttress
Trad 4 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Hospital Corner
Trad 2 pitches
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Surrealistic Pillar Direct
Trad
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Tombstone Terror
Trad
Deception Hogsback > N Face 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad 3 pitches
Surrealistic Pillar Lower Buttress 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 3 pitches
Bear's Reach E Wall 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 3 pitches
Corrugation Corner Main Wall 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 3 pitches
Hogwild Hogsback > Hogwild 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Haystack E Wall 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 4 pitches
Preparation H E Wall 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
East Crack E Wall 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 3 pitches
The Groove Lower Buttress 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13 Trad 2 pitches
The Line E Wall 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 3 pitches
Scimitar E Wall 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R Trad 3 pitches
Traveler Buttress Main Wall 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 4 pitches
Hospital Corner W Wall 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 2 pitches
Surrealistic Pillar Direct Lower Buttress 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Tombstone Terror Main Wall 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad
More Classic Climbs in Lover's Leap »

Weather Averages

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Prime Climbing Season
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J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Looking for partners at the Leap from the 1st- 4th of August; also next week the 8th- 11th.

I am a new resident in Reno and have wanted to get more mileage in but need to find partners. I am a competent and safe trad climber. Jul 31, 2017
leo qiu
Davis, CA
leo qiu   Davis, CA
Anyone know a guidebook covering most if not all the climbing route in the area? Supertopo removes a lot of nice lines and keep the few popular ones really busy. Mountain project is good but sometimes it is just too hard to use. Thanks Jun 22, 2017
The campsite is amazing, and the granite is awesome. But I feel like everyone deserves fair warning about the wasp situatuon. At least in late July, when it is warm, if you cook outside, you will do so in a cloud of yellow jackets. They eat meat - and especially like fat... you will end up fighting them for your food. They also love the water spigot - and repeatedly ended up in our water bottles. Jul 30, 2016
Jan Tarculas
Riverside, Ca
Jan Tarculas   Riverside, Ca
No need to pay $5 if you have a National Park Pass, just display on your dash Jul 17, 2015
Ned
Ned  
Not mentioned in the Super Topo or anywhere else I could find is that Strawberry Station, across the street from Strawberry Lodge, carries a small but comprehensive supply of climbing gear (along with some camping/hiking gear and groceries). It's much more convenient than having to head into South Lake Tahoe to go to Sports LTD. Jul 15, 2013
caughtinside
Oakland CA
caughtinside   Oakland CA
The Lodge is a great resource for climbers and worthy of our support. The food has indeed varied in quality over the years. I wouldn't describe it as terrific, but it currently is decent and reasonably priced.

You can get showers there for $5 as well. Jul 4, 2011
Salamanizer suchoski
Vacaville Ca.
Salamanizer suchoski   Vacaville Ca.  
The Leap has lots of shade. Usually when the temps are in the 100's in Reno or the Central Valley the Leap stays at a decent 80-85 degrees. There is an occasional heat wave that may make it a bit warm but that's the exception. Should be nice, lots of shade.... Go! Jul 29, 2009
kirra  
I second that area as optional camping. If you want to see something really special, continue up the road to Wright's Lake at the top. Quite a nice place for breakfast if the view of the spires wasn't good enough ~(-: Jun 7, 2007

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