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Routes in Luther Spires

Back Crack T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Beer and a Hotdog, Two Bucks S,TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Cheap Commercial Steak Sauce, Two Fifty S,TR 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Dog and Grigri, Two Bucks S,TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Fire Starter S 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
HeyY'all, Watch This T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Jackass S,TR 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a R
Jacko S,TR 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Jane Spy S 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Just Cause S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Just Do It S 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Just Jerry S,TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Mixed Emotions T,S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Original Route T,TR 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Plane Crash S 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
Priceless T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
See Through T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Slab-B T,S 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Undertaker T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Virginia T,TR 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Wacko TR 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Widow Maker S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Unsorted Routes:


Although actually a series of rocks, they're all pretty similiar in character and just easier to describe as one - so here we go:

Luther Spires are a series of granite spires with easy to moderate climbs established and many more waiting for power-drill-based-attention.

Luther Spires is newly developed and as such, there is still a lot of rock that can break off, but the granite seems pretty sturdy beneath.

Getting There

Out from the parking lot, you'll find a clearing with the trail heading through it.

Follow this trail across a better established trail and follow it as it hops on a large downed tree to cross a stream. Upon crossing the stream, the trail traverses up the hillside for about 10 minutes until you find yourself directly beneath the spires. Then the trail get steep until you find yourself at the base of two spires. Jackass is the intimidating bolted route on the left spire and Just Jerry is to the right.

22 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Luther Spires

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Jane Spy
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Beer and a Hotdog, Two Bucks
Sport, TR
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Just Jerry
Sport, TR
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Mixed Emotions
Trad, Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Widow Maker
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
Plane Crash
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Sport, TR
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Fire Starter
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Trad, TR
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Just Do It
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a R
Sport, TR
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Jane Spy 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport
Beer and a Hotdog, Two Bucks 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport, TR
Just Jerry 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport, TR
Mixed Emotions 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad, Sport
Widow Maker 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Plane Crash 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b Sport
Jacko 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport, TR
Fire Starter 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Virginia 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, TR
Just Do It 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Jackass 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a R Sport, TR
More Classic Climbs in Luther Spires »

Weather Averages

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Dunno about anyone else, but I was here with my partner this morning and the rock is less than optimal. The approach is much more difficult than the supertopo makes it seem, and the trail to 'beer and a hot dog, two bucks' is quite overgrown. It could use some TLC as well, found a couple bolts rusting and the left anchor on the above mentioned route is spinning. Won't be coming back to this one until I've run out of other options. Aug 20, 2017
Kyle sharp
Reno, NV
Kyle sharp   Reno, NV
Fun climbing with great views. Surprised to see so many comments regarding the approach, especially from climbers. They're called mountains for a reason. Oct 8, 2016
I was finding the approach beta on this site to be a bit confusing, but once we go there it was actually pretty easy. There are tons of holes in tons of boulders in tons of pullouts off of the road, all seemed to be smaller than a beer bottle... so that description wasn't too helpful. Look up the GPS coordinates on google maps (38.7938, -119.99575), you'll see that there are three turnouts back-to-back (first two are adjacent, the third is separated by ~70ft or so), and you want the first one... the longest one. Walk directly away from the road, which takes you through the clearing, then you'll get to an intersection of trails; the options are left, right, and straight. Go straight. Now you are on an easy-to-follow use trail (which quickly crosses the creek on a downed tree, as described), and then follow it all the way to the crag. The altimeter on my watch gave a height gain of about 500ft, which is pretty consistent with the google topo view.

The climbs are great, just be careful as a few of the routes are a bit chossy with loose flakes. Sep 22, 2015
Josh Cameron
Sacramento, California
Josh Cameron   Sacramento, California
Fun non-commiting climbing (except Jane Spy) on great clean rock in a beautiful setting with spectacular views of Meiss Country. Not sure why it took me so long to finally climb here. I felt the approach was easier than Sugarloaf, though it does get hot in the middle of the summer here. Apr 16, 2013
I was up there last weekend, also looking for Ringlock. I'm guessing that the guide isn't quite right...I think there's a bolted line to the right of the 5.8OW, then the 5.8, then the crack to face (that seems to line up with the Mixed Emotions description). Jul 10, 2012
J. Albers
J. Albers   Colorado
Hey Berg,

In response to your question about the route "Ringlock"...

It has been quite a few years since I last visited the Spires, but if recall correctly, I also tried several times to find Ringlock but was never able to. I was always curious as to whether there was an error in the book or whether I was just slow in the brain. I would be interested to hear from someone who knows the answer....about the error that is (I already know that I'm slow in the frontal lobe). Jul 4, 2012
bergbryce   California
The Supertopo guide lists a climb just to the left of Mixed Emotions called Ringlock. It's supposed to be a 10a bolted line on the same spire as Mixed Emotions and See Thru. I've looked for it a few times and haven't been able to find it. Am I missing something or is this an error in the book? thx
Jul 4, 2012
As of 9/26/2011, there is construction along Hwy 89 so the approach beta is a little hard to follow. The best way to find the trailhead is to go to the GPS coordinates George mentioned (38.793950,-119.996265), which are at a turnout about .4 miles past the Big Meadows trailhead on the left. Once you walk down the clearing stay to your left, and then look for a little climbers trail that splits off and veers right. Right away you should see a big tree that goes over a stream, so that's how you know you are on the correct trail. Make sure to stay left after the clearing because to the right there is a large mountain bikers trail with another tree crossing a stream (currently marked with a "Detour" sign) and that is the wrong trail. Sep 28, 2011
The trail leading to the crag begins at: 38.793950,-119.996265. It is approximately 0.7 miles long and total elevation gain is about 650 feet. Even in May the air was quite dry - bring at least 3 quarts of water per person. May 27, 2009
Karsten Duncan
Sacramento, CA
Karsten Duncan   Sacramento, CA
Yea, that Jay Smith got to alot of my lines down in Red Rocks too. I recently heard from a climber that Jay had the luxury of a trust fund and so wasn't constrained by that typical burden. Don't know if that is true or not but it could explain some of his productivity. Jul 11, 2008
You know, Jay Smith did routes here in the 1970s. I would always look up there thinking it would be cool to check out, but f%#k that approach! Going up to Luther Rock for lame routes was bad enough! Jul 10, 2008
Oakland CA
caughtinside   Oakland CA
I found the climbing here generally uninspiring. There are a lot of easy to moderate sport routes so there is that attraction, but if you're looking for much higher quality sport climbing in SLT I would recommend the nearby Luther Rock (sucky approach but morning shade) or Mayhem Cove (2 minute approach, afternoon shade.) Mar 19, 2008
Lisa E  
I thought the elevation gain for the approach was closer to 800 feet, anyway it is not the 200 hundred feet mentioned in the guidebook.

Mar 21, 2006
Paul Rezucha
Paul Rezucha   Alameda
Directions are right on! Just want to add a couple comments.... After driving passed the Big Meadow Trailhead signs, the small parking area on the left approaches very fast. The boulder with the beer bottle size hole in it is the key landmark. As a matter of fact there are several boulders with drilled holes in them. After walking through clearing the path will come upon and cross the Rim Trail path. Continue along and you will find the tip of a large fallen dead tree crossing the path. For fun, jump on it and head downhill along the tree trunk and across the stream. Chris McNamara's guidebook South Lake Tahoe Climbing says that the approach is 20-30 minutes with a few hundred feet elevation gain. We made the approach in 30 minutes but the elevation gain seemed more like 600-700' and it nearly killed us all! Now I must admit our packs were heavy. My pack was loaded with the following... 60m rope, 12 quickdraws, standard fairly complete rack, good set of slings and locking biners, helmet, shoes, harness, guidebook, 2 liters of water, some food, and convinced that Bud Lite would save some weight, a six pack and 5 lbs of ice. I know I know, what was I thinking... Next time I will spend more time properly planning and packing only what I would definitely need. I have to concentrate and focus on why and what is the main purpose of the trip...

Definitely have to cut down on the gear! : )

The good news is that at the end of the day, the walk out is downhill, mostly in the shade, and is beautiful and my pack was MUCH lighter! Aug 9, 2005

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