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Crystal Lake

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Crystal Lake Rock Climbing 

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Location: 40.0467, -120.88407 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Aron Quiter, Rick Shull, Lurker, Muscrat, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Lurker on Oct 14, 2016
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Crystal Lake offers good climbing in an amazing setting. The rock is well-featured with cool pockets, big edges, and seams. The crag itself is pretty small (5 routes) with not much room for more routes, but sits right on the south shore of Crystal Lake, and is a great place to spend the day. Go climbing, take a break for a swim, and check out the cliff jumping!

This area is very recently developed, and the rock is covered with lichen, but is generally quite solid. Bring a brush or be prepared for a little dirt; the routes should clean up well with time and traffic. The only evidence of previous interest was a lone bolt above "Crystal Balls", but due to the amount of dirt and moss on the wall, I doubt anyone ever climbed anything. According to the "Locals Guide to Northeast California", there is a buttress above the crag that has seen some development, but honestly it doesn't look particularly good, and appears to have a pretty heinous approach.

The season here is generally spring-fall, with summer being by far the best time. The wall faces due north and is at just below 7000' in elevation, so even on the hottest days of summer, it's perfectly climbable. And if it's too hot, jump in the lake!

Excellent camping can be found on the lake itself, on the lower saddle just before the descent to the lake, or on the upper saddle just before the sign that says "Crystal Lake Access".

Getting There 

From Quincy, head out of town on Quincy Junction Rd., taking a left onto Mt. Hough Rd. after a few miles. Follow the main drag all the way to Mt. Hough, roughly 10 miles from the turnoff.

From Highway 89 to the north, take a left on Arlington Rd., and just before the small town of Taylorsville, take a right on China Grade Rd. Approximately 8 miles from the turnoff.

Whichever way you come from, you can drive all the way down to the shore of Crystal Lake, but NOT RECOMMENDED unless you have 4WD and high clearance. If you do, the climbing is a flat 5 minute hike around the lake. The formation is on the opposite side of the lake from the parking, at the toe of a large buttress of rock.

If you don't, I would recommend parking at the upper saddle (just before the "Crystal Lake Access" sign) for passenger/2WD vehicles, or at the lower saddle for Subaru/AWD vehicles. Either one will add a few minutes to the approach but will save you from destroying your car.

Climbing Season

Weather station 6.5 miles from here

5 Total Climbing Routes

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

Featured Route For Crystal Lake
Rock Climbing Photo: June 15, 2017. First two bolts covered in snow! Fu...

The Dark Crystal 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b  California : Northeast California : Crystal Lake
Follow positive edges into a layback crack/seam. Move briefly right around an arete into a groove, then back left through a small scoop. Finish on pockets and edges up the steep headwall....[more]   Browse More Classics in California

Photos of Crystal Lake Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: View from across Crystal Lake.  The wall is left-o...
View from across Crystal Lake. The wall is left-o...

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By Lurker
From: Westwood
Oct 15, 2016
There is a set of rap anchors on top of the formation that can be accessed via a very exposed 4th class slab system, coming in from the left side of the formation. From the rap anchors, you can rap into any of the other anchors to set up a toprope, but please be extremely careful.

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