Elevation: 5,972 ft
GPS: 38.79, -120.242 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 137,112 total · 718/month
Shared By: Aron Quiter on Feb 10, 2004 with improvements by F T
Admins: Aron Quiter, Lurker, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes
Access Issue: Dirt road winter closures Details

Description

High above to the North, hidden from Highway 50, sits the lonely Phantom Spires, and many surrounding rocks.

Amongst a barren rock field you will find many traditional routes, along with some more difficult sport and mixed routes in an excellent, yet unsheltered setting that's almost eerie at times. Watching other parties climb is easy, since there are absolutely no trees surrounding the spires.

Wind can be unbearble, but because they face south, you can climb here from late fall to early summer before it gets too hot.

The black and white granite of The Phantom Spires will remind you of Yosemite, but like most Tahoe granite, isn't as glasslike.

Camping: around the the lot, just past the parking area.

Bring a 4X4 to access if it's been raining, or cross your fingers and drive REALLY carefully with your lower (not low!) clearance vehicles to get in on the 1+ mile long access road. If the access road is snowed in, or if you can't get in with your vehicle, you can always walk in, which is a very pretty and awe inspiring view of the surrounding valley and the Phantom Spires.

Phantom Spires conditions forum.

Getting There

From the West:

Take Highway 50 to Kyburz, which is 31 miles East of Placerville. From Kyburz, continue East 4.9 miles to the marked Wrights Lake Road, which is a left turn.

Continue using the directions below.

From the East:

Head approximately 20 miles West on Highway 50, 4.1 miles past the small town of Strawberry (and Lover's Leap), to Wright's Lake Road, which is a right turn. Continue using the directions below.

Once on Wright's Lake Road:

This will wander up a around for a while, getting narrower as it climbs. After 2.3 miles, the Phantom Spires will leap into view to the left. As soon as you can see the spires, take the next left onto a gravel logging road (Road 11N26B)  that's REALLY easy to miss. This road heads downhill from the road and moves more in line with the gradient around the valley, and can be seen from the paved road below the spires if missed. Follow the gravel road (slowly in 2wd vehicles!) until the road ends in a parking lot in about a mile. There is a pullout about 1/2 way in on the road if you feel that your vehicle can't take the road, and this will shorten the longer approach.

The mapquest map below will get you to Kyburz.

Access

CRAGS and the Access Fund are beginning new projects to help improve access to Phantom Spires.

85 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Phantom Spires

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 68
North Ridge
Trad 2 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 124
Gingerbread
Trad 2 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 180
Over Easy
Trad
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 114
Regular Route
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 137
Lean And Mean
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 75
Hard Up
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 72
Corn Flakes
Trad
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 146
Fear of Flying
Trad 2 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 39
Penny Candy
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 55
3-bolt Arete
Sport, TR
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
 72
The Prow
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 199
Candyland
Trad
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 57
Candyass
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 28
Steppin' Stone
Trad 2 pitches
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 30
Lesbian Love
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
North Ridge Upper Spire
 68
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad 2 pitches
Gingerbread Upper Spire
 124
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 2 pitches
Over Easy Middle Spire
 180
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Regular Route Middle Spire
 114
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 2 pitches
Lean And Mean Middle Spire
 137
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 2 pitches
Hard Up Middle Spire
 75
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Corn Flakes Middle Spire
 72
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Fear of Flying Upper Spire
 146
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad 2 pitches
Penny Candy Middle Spire
 39
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
3-bolt Arete Shark's Tooth
 55
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport, TR
The Prow Middle Spire
 72
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b Sport
Candyland Middle Spire
 199
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad
Candyass Middle Spire
 57
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Steppin' Stone Upper Spire
 28
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad 2 pitches
Lesbian Love Upper Spire
 30
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
More Classic Climbs in Phantom Spires »

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