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Routes in Calawee Cliffs

Bigler's Bounty T,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Blissful Banging T,TR 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Drain The Lake T,TR 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
J'aime Bonpland T,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Tessie's Terror T,TR Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c
Type: Trad, TR, 110 ft
FA: William Fleming summer 2015
Page Views: 1,190 total, 43/month
Shared By: William Fleming on Aug 7, 2015
Admins: Aron Quiter, Lurker, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Tahoe wasn't always Tahoe. Over time, The Lake has been given different names by different groups of people. In the winter of 1844 John Fremont and Charles Preuss were having a very bad time trying to explore the Sierras during winter. On February 14th, after "an extraordinary meal of pea soup, mule, and dog" they dragged themselves up Red Lake Peak on Carson Pass and became the first White Europeans to see the lake.

At the time, local Washoe had already named the lake. They called it Da-ow-a-ga. Preuss and Fremont hadn't heard of it. Despite a hearty effort, the Washoe Marketing Department of the mid 1800s had failed to penetrate into the european explorer community. "Keep Da-ow-a-ga Blue" stickers just hadn't been produced in high enough numbers.

Being European, Fremont and Preuss decided the lake needed a good european name they could actually pronounce, and choose Lake Bonpland. They named it after Aime Bonpland, a clean shaven french botanist/explorer. Neither Fremont nor Preuss knew Bonpland personally, but in the 1840s, French explorer/botanists had all the groupies.

Lake Bonpland went through several names and was soon renamed Lake Bigler after California's first full term Governor. Bigler was a bit racist and created laws and institutions to exclude Chinese immigrants from american society. This didn't have an effect on his support, and the lake remained Bigler for seven years. Although eventually it was re-named after the former Governor began to support the Confederacy during the civil war.

This wasn't the end. There was still ongoing debate as to what the lake should be called, with the legal name changing back and forth between Tahoe and Bigler. Mark Twain was one detractor of the term "Tahoe", spraying repeatedly against it. It wasn't until 1945 that the name permanently changed to what we know today, leaving our friend Aime Bonpland all but forgotten.

- For this cruiser go straight up from the bottom (to the right of the obvious mossy corner) through an awkward reach, step left, and then up to a ledge. From the ledge continue up and slightly left, gaining a small pillar which you climb up to another small ledge. Head a little right and follow a pair of double cracks up as high as you can. Step right for the anchors.


From Lester Beach
- Head south on the rocks around the corner, and stay as close to the water as possible for about a half mile or 10-15 minutes. As you round the corner watch out for some nice cliff jumps into the water that range from 10-40 feet. The first climbs start at a cliff jumping rock with a thick knotted fixed rope and sometimes a rope ladder heading up the back. It's narrow, about 40 foot tall, and there is graffiti on the south side that says "rooster rock". The climbs "J'aime Bonpland" and "Blissful Banging" can both be found here.

From Rubicon Trail
To access the climbs using the trail, hike for about 5-10 minutes from the parking lot. After a few hundred meters you will come to a cool part of the trail with boulders on the right and a chain barrier on the lake side. Continue until you come up a small hill and find a lookout and a wooden bridge. Directly before the bridge (the north side) there are two trees on the lake side of the trail. Directly below the northern tree is "J'aime Bonpland" and below the southern tree are the anchors for "Blissful Banging". To access these anchors you can slide down an unconsolidated hillside under the lookout towards the top of "J'aime Bonpland" and then traverse south to "Blissful Banging". Also you can rappel off of either one of the trees directly to the bolts. If you choose to rappel DO NOT LEAVE SLINGS OR CORD ON THE TREES!!! Remove all your rappel anchor gear when you're done!!! They are an eyesore for the hikers on the trail, and the rangers have asked us to leave as little impact as possible. Please be respectful! If the tourists are stoked, the rangers are stoked, and we are stoked. Keep the stoke alive.


Cams and nuts
Anchors are chains with mussys


Alex Lloyd
Santa Cruz, CA
Alex Lloyd   Santa Cruz, CA
That explains the wirebrush! Wasn't able to get over to Drain the Lake on account of the water. I'm surprised they don't see traffic, very aesthetically pleasing! I'll definitely be back May 27, 2016
Nice Alex! Glad you liked it!!! You're definitely right about the low traffic. Other than our immediate group of friends, I think you are one of the first groups out there since we put them up last summer. I know it's still a little dirty in spots (management is working on that), but when we first got there absolutely all the cracks were full of bushes and moss covered almost every inch of the rock. I posted a before and after photo on the "blissful banging" page that shows the pre-climb, amazon-like, bush crack gnar. We did what we could as far as cleaning....but one man with a wire brush and trim scissors can only do so much before his sanity starts slipping ;)

I think alot of them are well on their way to cleanliness. "Drain the lake" is clean and the 5.8/5.9 variations on "blissful banging" are 93% there. I didn't spend as much time with this one....but ill be out there trying to clean it up again this summer. Although to be honest Im really hoping they start seeing more people and the routes clean themselves! haha. Thanks again for coming out and giving them a try!!! Hope to see you out there May 26, 2016
Alex Lloyd
Santa Cruz, CA
Alex Lloyd   Santa Cruz, CA
A little dirty in spots. Outstanding setting and many opportunities for variation. Doesn't look like these routes see much traffic. May 23, 2016