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Castle Rock

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Castle Rock Rock Climbing 

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Location: 38.9948, -119.89666 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Refuge Jared on Oct 9, 2010  with updates from Refuge Jared and 1 more
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BETA PHOTO: NEW MAP! Castle Rock, trails, and climbing areas. ...


This is the tri-summited dome seen to the East of Stateline on Kingsbury Grade. It has undergone major development quite recently (2015) and there are now about 30 climbs in this area. All routes are sport, and generously bolted with modern hardware. There's a great variety of ratings from super beginner to expert, a few multipitch routes, and some incredible views of the Lake--among the best in South Shore.

About half of the climbs here are moderate routes (5.5-9) set in 2015. However, in the early 90's some more challenging sport routes (5.9-11d) were set up on the vertical walls in the gullies. Mussy hooks are at the top of all moderate routes. Open cold shuts are found over the burlier, preexisting sport routes.

Very featured and colorful rock--dense, volcanic and mostly quite good, very similar geologically to Luther Rock or Luther Spires. Moderate erosion has carved out deep, solid jugs, making for vertical but quite easy "climbing gym" routes particularly on the Village Wall. Very fun!

The moderate routes are great for first time leads and first time climbs. There are some bolted 2 pitch routes that are also good for introducing multipitch protocol to the learning climber.

There are routes such as Rapunzel's Hair 5.7 (feels more like a "modern 5.9"), 5.9 Wall, and Space Pants 5.8 that are nice for leaders who aren't first timers but aren't looking for an intense challenge like Excalibur 5.11b or the routes in the gullies. Routes in the 5.8-10 range are a little sparse here, the majority of the climbing here falling into one of two projects that focused on either amazing moderate scenic (Todd Offenbacher, 2015) or classic vertical sporty (Chris Dornsife & Chazz Spaeth, early 90's).

You can climb everything here with a 60 meter rope and 15 draws. The only easy toprope setups are found at 5.9 Wall and Space Pants 5.8. Besides that, toproping may be possible for the other 5.10-11 routes in the gullies but requires sketchy scrambling/solo and is not recommended.

There is shade between buttresses or by trees at the base. East facing routes within gullies have shade in the afternoon. It is reliably breezy or windy at the West Gulley (we sometimes refer to it as the Wind Tunnel).

Mostly dog friendly terrain. However, the approach to the West Gully, Court Jester 5.8, and routes on Armory Wall Left/North of Space Pants 5.8 require minor scrambling and can be very difficult with dogs. Also "The Platform" at Armory Wall may risk a possible fall if your dog wanders near the edge.

Sounds like an awesome place right?! It totally is, and its developers intended for it to be shared. Please be respectful of other climbers and the area in general by keeping it clean and "family friendly." Climb on!

Classic routes

- 00-06 5.5 - Least intimidating spot for first ever climbs or leads
- Court Jester 5.8 - Fun, long, juggy climb with a 5.8/9 crux roof
- Village People 5.6 - Great for first ever multipitch
- The Pike 5.9 - Multipitch. Very easy 1st pitch; fun vertical crux at the 2nd pitch. Top out for a full panoramic view!
- Warhammer 5.8 - Giant low angle dihedral with an exciting variety of jugs, blocks, and a slabby finishing crux
- Excalibur 5.11b - Classic pumpy sport climb on an impressive slightly overhanging wall
- Untitled 5.11+ (with 10b var.) - Burly start to rad features and hidden jugs on slightly overhanging, colorful rock

Nearby places to eat:

- Taquerias - In the Stateline area
- Ca Burger Co. - Pricey, but beefy! Great beer selection, bottomless "sidewinder" fries, and a reasonable happy hour
- Basecamp Hotel - Has a beer garden with simple eats, cornhole, firepits and s'mores, and sometimes live music
- The Coachman Hotel - Firepits and s'mores, solid espresso bar (serving Stumptown Coffee), beer, floats, and a few very simple food options available
- Lakeside Inn (and other casinos) - Inexpensive solid breakfast before 11am

Getting There 


From Stateline, take Kingsbury Grade (SR-207)
Left before the summit at N Benjamin Dr (toward Brautovich Park)
Continue onto Andria Dr
Pass a giant caribou with red eyes
Park at dirt parking area on Left where nice pavement ends
Trailhead is here at the green gate

GPS coordinates for parking/trailhead at green gate:
38.994803, -119.896669

You'll find the green gate as soon as the road (Andria Dr) transitions from pavement to cracked pavement. The approach is about 20 minutes--1.01 miles to Village Wall. Don't start hiking at the Tahoe Rim Trail (just North of the green gate) unless you want to hike quite a bit longer. The approach is well maintained trail, even bikeable, until you pass the Castle Gates boulders and descend loose sandy gullies to the base of the rock. Hiking shoes recommended.

Once on the trail, follow signs to Castle Rock. You'll join the Tahoe Rim Trail at the first trail marker, then take a hard Left toward CR at the next one. At this point you'll gain some altitude before coming to a breezy vista and the "Castle Gates" boulders on either side of the bending trail.

To get to the main climbing area (South facing routes and Armory Wall), look for a climber trail and cairns on your Left immediately after the Castle Gates (about 20 feet). This will take you down to the main climbing area approach trail at the base of Castle Rock; follow the cairns down through the East Gully.

If you want to check out the Central or West Gully, continue straight ahead toward Castle Rock's peak. The Central Gully can be found by heading downhill on the first apparent trail after the Castle Gates where you'll see a gray weathered stump. The West Gully is found shortly afterwards, does not have an apparent trail, and can only be accessed hiking in from above, down some boulders to loose terrain. You can see bolts on the West Gully walls as you get closer. 5.9 Wall is on the Left and Torture Chamber is to the Right.

To find Rapunzel's Hair 5.7 (arguably a 5.9) at North Castle, go North at a trail marker on a rock just after the Castle Gates. The trail wanders unnecessarily between two large boulders. Trails wander and disintegrate here; hike a trail in the general direction of the North West end of Castle Rock until you come around to a steep rocky gully that can be hiked to the summit. Rapunzel's Hair 5.7 can be found on the Left side of this gully.

Climbing Season

For the Tahoe (Nevada) area.

Weather station 1.1 miles from here

30 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',10],['2 Stars',11],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Castle Rock

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Castle Rock:
Village People   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Sport, 2 pitches, 180'   Village Wall
See Saw   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   East Gully, Playground Rock...
War Hammer   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   Armory Wall
Space Pants   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 30'   Armory Wall
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Castle Rock

Featured Route For Castle Rock
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up from the anchors at the top of the 1st ...

The Pike 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a  Nevada : Tahoe (Nevada) : ... : Armory Wall
The 1st pitch of The Pike starts vertical but with super juggy holds and very quickly transitions to a low angle 5.5 or 5.6. Generously bolted nonetheless. After possibly the most difficult move of this pitch (5.7 or 5.8), the bolt line finishes at a ledge and a big dihedral with mussy hooks on the Left wall and a rad vertical crux on the Right wall.The belay platform isn't perfectly flat but the rope can easily rest on the ground if positioned with enough care. From here you...[more]   Browse More Classics in Nevada

Photos of Castle Rock Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Castle Rock from waaaay above
BETA PHOTO: Castle Rock from waaaay above
Rock Climbing Photo: GPS track of the hike in from the green gate trail...
BETA PHOTO: GPS track of the hike in from the green gate trail...
Rock Climbing Photo: This is the picture no one wants to look at. Keep ...
This is the picture no one wants to look at. Keep ...
Rock Climbing Photo: You'll find this boulder and trail marker imme...
BETA PHOTO: You'll find this boulder and trail marker imme...
Rock Climbing Photo: Official trail marker coming off the Tahoe Rim Tra...
BETA PHOTO: Official trail marker coming off the Tahoe Rim Tra...
Rock Climbing Photo: Just a super rad map of the Castle Rock area hand-...
Just a super rad map of the Castle Rock area hand-...
Rock Climbing Photo: Parking spot and trail head. This is the green gat...
BETA PHOTO: Parking spot and trail head. This is the green gat...
Rock Climbing Photo: Immediately after the Castle Gates boulders you ca...
BETA PHOTO: Immediately after the Castle Gates boulders you ca...
Rock Climbing Photo: "Castle Gates" boulders. You'll find...
BETA PHOTO: "Castle Gates" boulders. You'll find...
Rock Climbing Photo: Panoramic shot from the vista point. This vista an...
Panoramic shot from the vista point. This vista an...
Rock Climbing Photo: Key approach Beta to the new moderate sport routes...
BETA PHOTO: Key approach Beta to the new moderate sport routes...

Comments on Castle Rock Add Comment
Show which comments
By Gill
From: minden, nevada
Apr 1, 2011
Anyone know any of the routes?
By Jason Toutolmin
May 16, 2011
I just made a pdf of the original topo from about 1992 or 93. It was 6 pages stapled together. Chris Dornsife and Dave (can't remember his last name) put all the bolted stuff up there. I remember they were short but pretty fun.

I haven't been up there since 1993, so I have no idea what condition these routes are in or if the bolts even exist anymore.

Castle Rock Nevada Sport Climbs
By weschrist
Aug 19, 2011
The roads in that pdf have long since been decommissioned and turned into trails. Park at the lowest part of the large parking lot before the road turns to dirt, hike about a mile, and you hit Castle Rock. There is one fork in the trail with an obvious sign to Castle Rock.

Lots of chossy but cool rock up there. Could rival Luther Spires for mellow sport climbing if someone had the motivation. Good bouldering too it you feel like humping a pad for a mile.
By Court
Jun 4, 2013
i found the pdf hard to decipher so I put together a little map from Google maps satellite view. Checked out camelot recently and found the anchors at the top (2 sets) but couldn't see any bolts below. It may be a trad route or it may just be runout at the top since it's not steep there. I highly doubt it's topropable but is probably single pitch leading and easy to walk off. Never looked at it from below though

Rock Climbing Photo: Castle Rock from waaaay above
Castle Rock from waaaay above
By Eric Munsing
From: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Mar 15, 2015
Checked this out today, and was very pleasantly surprised. The approach along the Tahoe Rim Trail is longer than expected (~1.5 miles, 30 min), though there may be a climber shortcut. The rock is dense and mostly quite good, very similar to luther rock or luther spires but seems to offer steeper, juggier routes. The hardware is solid and modern, and it looks like the old bolts and anchors have been recently replaced. There are a number of routes and anchors not in the topo or aerial photo- does anyone know who's currently developing the area? Definitely a good sport area if you don't mind the approach.
By Laura Dunn
Jul 13, 2016
Beautiful volcanic rock with nice jugs and some interesting moves, a very fun climbing area, especially for beginner leaders. There are harder climbs as well, but mostly between 5.5-5.9. We climbed "See Saw" a beautiful 5.7 and "Kindagarden" another excellent 5.7 with the crux move at the very beginning. The bolts are laid out so that the hard moves are protected nicely from above.
Rock Climbing Photo: Warming up on an easy but fun 5.5
Warming up on an easy but fun 5.5

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