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Areas in Lake Tahoe

Carson Pass Highway (88) 143 / 28 / 40 / 19 / 0 / 3 / 0 / 3 / 200
Desolation Wilderness 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3 / 3
Ebbets Pass Highway (4) 1 / 24 / 0 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 31
Highway 50 Corridor 419 / 147 / 117 / 77 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 666
I-80 Corridor 246 / 391 / 109 / 364 / 1 / 1 / 1 / 281 / 1026
Lost Sierra, The 8 / 7 / 0 / 19 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 32
South Shore 49 / 73 / 23 / 21 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 146
Truckee River Canyon 22 / 87 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 7 / 111
West Shore 70 / 39 / 33 / 17 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 11 / 137

Description

Beautiful, spacious, and often daunting, the Sierra Nevada in the Lake Tahoe area contains some of the best summer climbing in California. The area is almost entirely covered in climbable rock, and route setters will delight at the bounty of untouched potential.

Consisting mostly of granite, with a few basaltic exceptions, you will find climbs off all types, from the long traditional and sport routes at Lover's Leap, to the pumpy tall bouldering found everywhere, but most notably Donner and Pack Saddle Passes.

Climbing is year round in some places, though most areas are covered in snow from the first snow (usually in October or November) until March - June depending on altitude and direction of the rock.

Access is at most of the region's crags, especially in the public lands of the Tahoe and Eldorado National Forests. The Desolation and Granite Chief Wilderness areas have regulations you should learn about before visiting, but for day use, you can self-register for free at the major trail heads leading into them.

Also note that about a third of the Tahoe area and climbing is in Nevada, right across the unnatural straight state lines. See the Reno and Carson City area for the Tahoe vicinity's Nevada crags.

Places to stay are plentiful, from BLM camping, organized campgrounds, lodges, cheap hotels, to even four star hotels in Reno and South Lake Tahoe.

Outfitters

Both physical gear - to buy or rent - and the latest local beta can be had in Tahoe's climbing stores.


Tahoe Boulders

Read the Tahoe (fave boulder problems) Ticklist forum.​​​

Tahoe Ice

Is a fleeting thing! And discussed on some threads inside and outside this site. Some flows form every year, others rarely so, all over the region. While no routes are documented here yet (ahem), at least one area has been created to track them: Eagle Creek Canyon Ice Climbs.

Also see Lake Tahoe and Reno and Carson City for parts of the greater Tahoe region in the state of Nevada.

Getting There

By Road
From the Bay Area, head up Highway 80 to Sacramento, where you will either head up into the hills either on 80, 50, or 89, depending on where you're going.

From Reno, head up Highway 80 to go to North Lake destinations, or down highway 395 , and then West on highway 89 into South Lake Tahoe.

Some out of area bus services are offered by Greyhound and Amtrak.

Tahoe and Truckee have ​the TART.​​​

By Air
South Lake Tahoe and Truckee both have municipal airports if you have the resources.

For the rest of us, the nearest city with commercial flights is Reno. For some Tahoe areas, Sacramento's airport might be a viable second option. Each one still requires a drive into the mountains.

By Rail
The first intercontinental railroad in the U.S. went over Donner Summit; one version of this line went through the Snowshed next to the climbing wall of the same name there. Amtrak still runs a train over the Sierra in this area, which runs through Truckee once a day or so. It's not cheap or fast compared to other modern travel to the Tahoe area, but is scenic (though it only goes by Donner Lake north and out of sight of Lake Tahoe).

By Trail
Each year during Pacific Crest Trail season, a batch of through hikers backpack in from the south through some of the highest elevation terrain in the area, above Lake Tahoe's West Shore. Other trails connect to Reno and Sacramento.

Some climbing areas also involve travel on the historic Pony Express Trail (mostly along highway 50), or on the Tahoe Rim Trail which encircles the whole lake. Riding bikes or horses, or hiking, can be used to approach some Tahoe crags and peaks.

Over Water
Around Lake Tahoe and some other area lakes, rivers or streams, deep water soloing or dry climbing spots may include travel by a variety of watercraft or swimming.

Once enough snow accumulates ever winter, many people ski and snowshoe to Tahoe's climbing areas, perhaps to do some ski mountaineering or ice climbing.

2,352 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Lake Tahoe

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 559
Bear's Reach
Trad 3 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 673
Corrugation Corner
Trad 3 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 180
One Hand Clapping
Trad 4 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 442
The Line
Trad 3 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 257
Traveler Buttress
Trad 4 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 141
Black September
Trad
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 129
Fear of Flying
Trad 2 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 263
Hospital Corner
Trad 2 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 98
Space Truckin'
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 225
Surrealistic Pillar Direct
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 136
Farewell to Arms
Trad
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 88
Tombstone Terror
Trad
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 177
Candyland
Trad
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 102
The Fracture
Trad
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 98
Peter Principle
Trad, TR
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Bear's Reach Highway 50 Corr… > … > Main Formation > E Wall
 559
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 3 pitches
Corrugation Corner Highway 50 Corr… > … > Main Formation > Main Wall
 673
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 3 pitches
One Hand Clapping I-80 Corridor > … > Black Wall > Left Side
 180
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 4 pitches
The Line Highway 50 Corr… > … > Main Formation > E Wall
 442
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 3 pitches
Traveler Buttress Highway 50 Corr… > … > Main Formation > Main Wall
 257
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 4 pitches
Black September I-80 Corridor > … > Black Wall > Right Side
 141
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Fear of Flying Highway 50 Corr… > Phantom Spires > Upper Spire
 129
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad 2 pitches
Hospital Corner Highway 50 Corr… > … > Main Formation > W Wall
 263
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 2 pitches
Space Truckin' W Shore > Eagle Creek Canyon > Eagle Lake Cliff
 98
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Surrealistic Pillar Direct Highway 50 Corr… > … > Lover's Leap > Lower Buttress
 225
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Farewell to Arms I-80 Corridor > … > Snowshed Wall > E Face
 136
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Tombstone Terror Highway 50 Corr… > … > Main Formation > Main Wall
 88
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad
Candyland Highway 50 Corr… > Phantom Spires > Middle Spire
 177
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad
The Fracture Highway 50 Corr… > … > Sugarloaf > E Face
 102
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad
Peter Principle I-80 Corridor > … > Snowshed Wall > N Face
 98
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad, TR
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Knowing nothing about the area... I'm going to be there in August. What are the best places to escape the summer heat? I'm mostly interested in bouldering, but as well I climb trad and sport. In regards to bouldering, I noticed 3 different bouldering guidebooks. Which one would be best for summer spots. Thanks! Jul 2, 2014
Brian S  
I would check out the high country during summer. My favorite is Summit Lake area near Donner Pass. Bouldering Lake Tahoe-North/West covers that area. Dec 3, 2014
Just starting out as a climber and live in Chico, CA, this is some useful info for the Tahoe area! Not too far from me. Thanks for putting this together. I am going to share this article with my buddies on Soul id if you don't mind. I will be posting it here for your reference: soulid.me/id/Climbing Dec 2, 2016
CCas
Chicago, IL
CCas   Chicago, IL
Hello all,

What are the recommended guidebooks for rock and bouldering for the Tahoe area? It would be appreciated if an admin would add them to the Discription if possible.

Thanks, Chris. Jan 31, 2017
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
Chris:
mountainproject.com/books/1… Feb 2, 2017
CCas
Chicago, IL
CCas   Chicago, IL
thax M Feb 4, 2017

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