Lake Tahoe classic Moderates (a request for help)


Original Post
JRZane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 0

Two friends of mine are in the middle of a 6-week climbing tour around the country.  I am able to sneak out to Tahoe for 5 days (3.5 days of climbing) beginning next Friday.  While I've spent some time on MP and got a couple guide books on loan from AAC, I am hoping for some local knowledge/guidance.  I am entering my second full year trad leading and third year climbing overall.  I have come up climbing in the Gunks and am leading 5.6s there, my buddy who is on the trip is at the same level and has reported back how "refreshing" the grades have been outside the northeast and that he is having a fairly easy time leading 5.9s elsewhere and sport leading 11b. (sport leads in our area we are both around the 10b/c range).

So far, my loose itinerary is as follows: Get picked up in Reno Friday morning at 1030 and spend the afternoon sport leading at Castle Rock. Then spend Friday night in the Lovers Leap campground to hopefully get on Corrugated Corner or another classic in that area Saturday.  If we are able to get on the climbs we want, how should we spend our Sunday and Monday?

Note, because I have been limited to Gunks climbing, I am more interested in "interesting" and "fun" climbing than "hard" climbing. So if we are saying below 5.10, what are the classics someone in my position should not miss on what may be my only trip to Tahoe (for a little while anyway)? This includes sport and trad, with Sport climbing limit being bumped up to 5.11+

Thanks!

JRZane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 0

So after looking closer with the news of grades comparison, I'm thinking Castle Rock isn't our best choice for Friday afternoon (arrival day).  Any advice for a quicker approach and decent climbing if a party only has the afternoon to get a few routes in? (coming from Reno airport headed to LL campground).

King Tut · · Citrus Heights · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 200
JRZane wrote:

So after looking closer with the news of grades comparison, I'm thinking Castle Rock isn't our best choice for Friday afternoon (arrival day).  Any advice for a quicker approach and decent climbing if a party only has the afternoon to get a few routes in? (coming from Reno airport headed to LL campground).

Go straight to Lover's Leap and jump on Surrealistic Pillar. Short approach and walk off that gives you the approach beta for Corrugation Corner in the AM. 

Aaron Liebling · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 420

Just go straight to LL and climb there (getting a site is a crapshoot if you arrive late)

Cory F · · Blacksburg, VA · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0

Do Bears Reach at LL

Ney Grant · · Pollock Pines, CA · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 700

If you do bears reach, east crack and haystack crack are also on the east wall and are great climbs. 

If you get in late to the campground, better than bacon is a short hike and is also very good. 

wcayler · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 0

Just go straight to lovers leap. For 5.7 climbs looks at corrogation corner, bears reach andsurrealistic pillar. Surrealistic pillar into corrogation is a fun 5 pitches with no desent. For 5.8 look at east crack and hay stack. For 5.9 get on the line, psycadelic tree and travelers buttrress. The leap is often quite packed so get an early start and it has been really hot the last 3 weeks past 2 pm. There is some decent blm land nearby if you don't get a camping spot. The climbing/general store is really nice they have a guide book that you can snap a few pictures from. Have fun it's a really nice crag and there are others in the area that are just as good but not quite as big.

JRZane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 0
wcayler wrote:

Just go straight to lovers leap. For 5.7 climbs looks at corrogation corner, bears reach andsurrealistic pillar. Surrealistic pillar into corrogation is a fun 5 pitches with no desent. For 5.8 look at east crack and hay stack. For 5.9 get on the line, psycadelic tree and travelers buttrress. The leap is often quite packed so get an early start and it has been really hot the last 3 weeks past 2 pm. There is some decent blm land nearby if you don't get a camping spot. The climbing/general store is really nice they have a guide book that you can snap a few pictures from. Have fun it's a really nice crag and there are others in the area that are just as good but not quite as big.

Any specific recommendations as far as the nearby crags once we are done at LL?

Alexander Blum · · Charlotte, NC · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 133

I don't think you're going to work through all the LL classics in 3.5 days of climbing. If you do, I would just head on to Tuolumne meadows and do Matthes Crest, or Cathedral, etc

edit: (it's VERY hot in the sun there right now)

ze dirtbag · · TBD · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 5

If you climb all the mods at the leap,  phantom spires and wrights lake are close by and have some really good climbing.    

phylp · · Upland · Joined May 2015 · Points: 115

"I would just head on to Tuolumne meadows and do Matthes Crest, or Cathedral, etc"

This makes no sense for a 3.5 day trip given the distance between So Lake Tahoe and the Meadows.

If you want to do a day of sport climbing somewhere in the area, the place with the highest concentration of moderate climbs is Big Chief, outside of Truckee.  The easier routes are on the west side and get morning shade.  There are nice routes at a bit harder grade on the approach side, which is east facing and gets afternoon shade.  The climbing is fun, generally steep.

There are so many classic moderate routes at the Leap, I also would make the choice to stay there with so little time to climb.  But if you wanted one other place, something at Donner Summit at Black Wall would be nice just because the views of Donner Lake while you are climbing are gorgeous,  Rated X on the right side is very nice, I like the 5.8/9+ variation for the second pitch.  On the left side, Touch and Go is a very nice route at 5.9.  That one is 4 pitches and for the last pitch, rather than going off left, you can finish up a nice 5.6 crack more directly.  Black Wall is in the sun all morning...

Ned · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 0

Phantom Spires is a great cragging area (a couple short 2-3 pitch climbs as well). For your guys' skill levels, Candyland (https://www.mountainproject.com/v/candyland/105875517) is a must-do. A harder trad climb than what you're looking for, but climbs like a sport climb and the knob wraps are bomber. Plus, you can camp in the parking lot or any of the pull offs along the dirt road for free. Higher clearance vehicle is nice but I think last time I went it was passable in a sedan.

Kevin MP · · Redmond, OR · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 178

Yes straight to lovers leap. Friday night if you have time there are some good single pitch close to the campground on the right side of the Hogsback. Also the boulders by the campground have an excellent collection of easy problems for an evening session. Plenty of classics for 3 days at the leap. Do your climbing early, most of the walls go in the sun midday. Link up Surrealistic Pillar to Corrugation. Also it's fun to leave water and food at the trail below the East wall and do laps on different routes there. Such an easy walk off you can do 2 or 3 in a morning. Don't miss Bear's Reach, Scimitar, The Line, or Fandango. Once the afternoon heat hits, walk up the Pony Express trail just 5 minutes more to a bridge over the river for a great swimming hole. If you have your fill of the Leap, definitely go do one day at Phantom Spires 15 minutes away. Start with Over Easy, the very first route you come to. There are climbs on all aspects of the spires so you should be able to chase shade. Great primitive camp sites on the way out there, need high clearance to make the last nit of the drive. Enjoy Tahoe!

Tapawingo Markey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 0

1) Leap Classics for fun moderate trad - could easily spend all of your days there. 

2) Big Chief for a high concentration of fun, mostly well bolted, sport climbs. Hit it at the right time because the wall can cook. 

3) The 5.5 jaunt up Eagle Lake Buttress if you're wanting something with more of an alpine feel. It's about 2.5 miles of steep hiking for a couple pitches of climbing but in an amazing setting with great views of the lake. Honestly if you don't catch a view of Tahoe from the West Shore somewhere you're missing out. You could traverse the ridge if you wanted to extend the day a little bit. Easily done in a half day. 

In terms of itinerary, just drive straight to the Leap from Reno. You could tick off something moderate on the east wall relatively quickly or just run up the Hogsback. If you don't find a camp site you can usually find free camping nearby. If you feel climbing at the Leap on your arrival date is too much to pack in then you could just go cragging at the Pie Shop on your way - it's a pretty popular spot but I bet you could climb some of the classics without waiting much. 

Kevin DeWeese 1 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2014 · Points: 0
Kevin MP wrote:

Don't miss Bear's Reach, Scimitar, The Line, or Fandango. 

Stay off The Line until you've climbed other routes in the area, hard to protect the early moves as a newwish leader unfamiliar with the rock there. (And the spot of multiple accidents and deaths due to this.) 

If you've got new leaders with you, they can practice their skills on Knapsack crack or the routes on Hogsback where if you get freaked out you can literally just lie flat on the slab to rest.

Phantom Spires is a great spot if you tire of LL but the climbs are shorter. Fear of Flying 5.9 is amazing but might be a bit techy for someone who cut their lead teeth back east.

Sugarloaf has a hellish approach that everyone downplays (including myself) but the climbing is great once you're up there. Bolee Gold as a great sport climb for people that think 10c is "easy"

But in all seriousness, I'd be very surprised if you get tired of LL after only a couple of days. 

Also, be aware of the climbing closures in effect until Sept. They won't be on any of the main classics everyone does and signs will be posted on the trail up to the wall to give you an idea of what's off limits (basically the middle of the crag) 

If Lover's Leap campsite is full (doubtful) then drive 4.1 miles West on 50 (from Strawberry lodge) to Wright's Lake road on your right. Head up this road and anywhere you can park is fair game for dispersed camping (added bonus, you'll also be that much closer to Phantom Spires) 

Jared Murray · · Oakland, CA · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 40
Ned wrote:

Phantom Spires is a great cragging area (a couple short 2-3 pitch climbs as well). For your guys' skill levels, Candyland (https://www.mountainproject.com/v/candyland/105875517) is a must-do. A harder trad climb than what you're looking for, but climbs like a sport climb and the knob wraps are bomber. Plus, you can camp in the parking lot or any of the pull offs along the dirt road for free. Higher clearance vehicle is nice but I think last time I went it was passable in a sedan.

Phantom Spires is very hot this time of year. If you add it to your itinerary then plan accordingly to chase  shade around the spires. Candyland is fine in the morning, others like Fear of Flying should be done later in the day.

Kevin DeWeese 1 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2014 · Points: 0
Jared Murray wrote:

Phantom Spires is very hot this time of year. If you add it to your itinerary then plan accordingly to chase  shade around the spires. Candyland is fine in the morning, others like Fear of Flying should be done later in the day.

True, and Sugar Loaf will be even hotter.

Kevin MP · · Redmond, OR · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 178
Kevin DeWeese 1 wrote:

Stay off The Line until you've climbed other routes in the area, hard to protect the early moves as a newwish leader unfamiliar with the rock there.

Fair enough. I read "he is having a fairly easy time leading 5.9s elsewhere and sport leading 11b" with an advertised sport limit of .11+and didn't think twice. The "climb at your own risk" disclaimer is generally implied and you could get hurt or killed on any of these. The Line isn't particularly R-rated but you need to be able to place good thin gear like C3's and small nuts from less than perfect stances. I mean look at the East wall from the trail, it really is the "Line". Can we say Traveler's Buttress (with P1) instead? Hey, it is one of the 50 Classics (somehow?) and pretty darn safe with big cams.

mpech · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 6

leap is very warm right now-sugarloaf and phantom spires as well- you will have to start early and finish early.  

Would recommend eagle lake buttress and donner summit-- both have very good climbing thats in the shade most of the day. 

mpech · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 6
Kevin DeWeese 1 wrote:

Sugarloaf has a hellish approach that everyone downplays (including myself) but the climbing is great once you're up there. Bolee Gold as a great sport climb for people that think 10c is "easy"

But in all seriousness, I'd be very surprised if you get tired of LL after only a couple of days. 

1) lets not be melodramatic-- the sugarloaf approach is 15min of walking, max. It's all uphill, but its all on a well-marked trail. This isn't some secluded crag. 

2) There really isn't that much climbing at lover's leap. If you are a competent+ motivated climber you'll do all the main classics in two days. 

Kevin DeWeese 1 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2014 · Points: 0
mpech wrote:

1) lets not be melodramatic-- the sugarloaf approach is 15min of walking, max. It's all uphill, but its all on a well-marked trail. This isn't some secluded crag. 

2) There really isn't that much climbing at lover's leap. If you are a competent+ motivated climber you'll do all the main classics in two days. 

Oooohkay.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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