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Areas in Woodfords Canyon

Apron Crags 10 / 1 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 12
Cloudburst Canyon 31 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 34
Crystal Springs Canyon 12 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 13
Deadwood Crags 13 / 4 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 17
Fortress, The 33 / 2 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 36
Golden Eagle Buttress 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Lost Cabin Crag 1 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Woodfords Canyon Boulders 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Elevation: 5,200 ft
GPS: 38.765, -119.846 Google Map · Climbing Map
Page Views: 95,323 total, 888/month
Shared By: Milton Mugambe on Feb 17, 2009 with updates
Admins: Aron Quiter, Lurker, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes
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Woodfords Canyon offers year-round climbing. The south-facing side of Highway 88 allows comfortable climbing conditions during the winter months. When the mercury climbs into the 40's in Reno, the temperatures at Woodfords can allow for surprisingly comfortable climbing, assuming there are clear skies and light winds. In summer, the shady walls lying on the south side create perfect conditions during the hotter summer months.

The area is relatively unknown, usually only receiving the attention of a few parties on weekends. The climbing is generally traditional and although there are routes up to four pitches in length, the majority of the climbs are a half rope long, with a 70m rope being extremely useful. The granite on the winter side is generally excellent with some areas of coarse rock. The summer areas have finer grained granite and less coarse rock but more dirt and munge; these climbs required extensive cleaning on their first ascents.

These climbs offer some of the purest crack climbing in the Tahoe area and is a great training area for Yosemite and the High Sierra.

Most of the Woodfords climbs lie on public land in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. You can always check the HTNF website for current access information.

Getting There

Woodford's Canyon is located in Alpine County, California, along Highway 88, 20 minutes from South Lake Tahoe. There are quite a few different parking areas and trail heads.

Driving from the west

Take Highway 50 west from South Lake Tahoe. Drive through the town of Meyers, go left on Highway 89 (south), drive several miles to the junction of Highways 88 and 89. Turn left onto Highway 88 (east), drive down the valley which follows the steep East Fork of the Carson River. Towards the bottom of the canyon the road becomes less steep and to the left is an obvious south facing treeless mountain side. The golden rock formations above the bushy slope is known as The Fortress. Park on the north-side of the road next to rotating road condition sign, where a small stream runs along the shoulder of the road. This parking area is on the left after passing Crystal Springs Campground. Pull a u-turn after passing over the bridge and park in front of the aforementioned road sign. Follow the well beaten trail that goes upstream (west) towards a tree covered rocky ridge. From the ridge follow a decent climber's trail that is marked by cairns through a line of trees that lead to the base or The Fortress. The wall lying directly above the approach trail is known as the Donnie G and can be identified by a prominent "stalactite". Allow 30-45 minutes for the approach.

Driving from the east

From the East, Carson City or Gardnerville, take 395 to the 88 intersection Northwest of Minden. From here, at 395, it is 15.2 miles to the parking area for the "Fortress". On the way you will pass the junction with 89 toward Markleeville.

From this junction, it is 1.3 miles to the "Fortress" parking area, on the right.

115 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Woodfords Canyon

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
The Perfect Lie Back
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
5.8 Hand Crack
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Whisker Biscuit
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Quoia the Destroya
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
I Be Jammin'
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Cat Scratch Fever
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
One Of These Days
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Sun Wall Left
Trad, TR
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Long Arm of the Aug
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
The Hand of God
Trad 4 pitches
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Livin' A Dream
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
The Perfect Lie Back Fortress > 6 - Liebacks Area 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
5.8 Hand Crack Fortress > 1 - Books Area 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Whisker Biscuit Fortress > 3 - Donnie G 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Quoia the Destroya Fortress > 4 - Second Alcove 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
I Be Jammin' Fortress > 4 - Second Alcove 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Cat Scratch Fever Fortress > 1 - Books Area 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Neutron Cloudburst Canyon > High Energy Wall 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
One Of These Days Cloudburst Canyon > One Of These Days Buttress 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad
Sun Wall Left Fortress > 8 - Sun Wall Area 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad, TR
O.U.L.D. Fortress > 4 - Second Alcove 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad
Arrowhead Fortress > 3 - Donnie G 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad
Long Arm of the Aug Cloudburst Canyon > Tiers > 3rd Tier 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad
Proton Cloudburst Canyon > High Energy Wall 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad
The Hand of God Fortress > 2 - Wood Hood 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Trad 4 pitches
Livin' A Dream Cloudburst Canyon > One Of These Days Buttress 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
More Classic Climbs in Woodfords Canyon »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season
Ben Snow
San Diego, Ca
Ben Snow   San Diego, Ca
First time out at Woodfords today- it's a really sweet spot. Very warm and sunny and no snow issues. Dec 29, 2016
tahoemnts Schroeder
Truckee, California
tahoemnts Schroeder   Truckee, California
Can someone recommend a good camping area near Woodfords Canyon? Considering the high temps somewhere that's not a slow cooker. Thanks. Jun 11, 2015
Justin Johnsen
Nor Cal
Justin Johnsen   Nor Cal  
Hey Aerili, I pulled the routes off the Fortress page, which makes it accept sub-areas now.

I also moved the areas/pages that belong there.

Since I haven't climbed up there yet, I didn't add an area for the Liebacks, but left the Perfect Lieback in the closest existing page (the Sun Wall Area). Jun 27, 2014
Tyson Waldron
Reno, NV
Tyson Waldron   Reno, NV
I love this damn place. Tahoe obscurity at its absolute finest. Jan 21, 2014
The areas that have been posted all lie on the north-side of the road.. the were submitted during the winter months... so the summer stuff hasn't been included. I'm considering posting some more information on the south-side of the road, but I've been working on a complete guide for both sides of the road, and haven't had time to add anymore info. Milt M. Aug 16, 2009
iF You have any questions regaring the old guide let me know... Ron Aug 3, 2009
C Miller   CA  
A good online guide to Woodsfords Canyon is found here -… Jun 16, 2009
Sasha Cohen
South Lake Tahoe CA
Sasha Cohen   South Lake Tahoe CA
Hey Milt,
I heard you're putting together a climbing guide for Woodford's Canyon it's about time that a current one is done by someone who really knows the area!! I also heard you need a publisher. I will let you know if i find one.
Keep up the good work!
Sasha Jun 15, 2009
It's sad that woodfords is all alone. The best climbing is going on right now. It's been high and dry in the canyon while the popular areas are soaked. Try something new and be adventurous. May 29, 2009
People don't climb at Woodsfords much so do the area a favor and bring a wire brush with you. When you are done leading do a TR lap with your brush and on the way down clean all the lichen off the routes. Also thank Ryan and Dan for all their hard work putting up new routes and anchors!! Apr 28, 2009
Los Alamos, NM
Aerili   Los Alamos, NM
I think some of the route organization here for this area is already confusing and not in the right grouping.

According to my topo, The Fortress should be listed as an area, and within that area should be the 2nd Alcove (and its routes therein). The Perfect Lieback should also be a route listed within a sub-area of The Fortress, aka The Liebacks Area.

Can we re-organize in this way? Also, is it possible to actually make such "sub-crag" area divisions within an area on mtnprjct? (It doesn't necessarily look like it.) Apr 10, 2009
Woodsford is an awsome canyon,,,It prolly has about twelve thousand quality routes still waiting.... Over the years there has been many passers through like Harding, Robbins Tm and Tommy Herbert there...Quite alot of history and eing so close, is one of the most over looked areas there is.. Thank god for steep approaches!!LOL.... Mar 21, 2009
Rick D
Reno, NV
Rick D   Reno, NV
This is awesome. Been waiting for someone to add this page. Been meaning to get down there for a while. Mar 13, 2009

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