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Crystal Wall Area

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Arch Traverse S 
Crystal Blue Persuasion S 
Crystal Chute T 
Crystal Wall Route S 
Friction Affliction T 
Ice House Roof S 
Ice House Roof Direct S 
Independence Wall S 
More Affliction T 
Red Dawn S 

Crystal Wall Area Rock Climbing 

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Elevation: 6,200'
Location: 38.8802, -120.2893 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 4,877
Administrators: Aron Quiter, Lurker, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Ney Grant on Jun 24, 2016


84° | 59°

82° | 57°

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78° | 54°
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The Crystal Wall area was mainly developed in 1980 and included in a 1989 Crystal Basin guidebook by Bob Branscomb who was also the first ascensionist on many of the Crystal Wall routes. The original, rusty ¼’ bolts discouraged much use in the last few (many) decades until the area was rebolted in 2015 by Betsy and Ney Grant with assistance of hardware from the ASCA. Bob Branscomb and FA Ron Vardanega kindly allowed the addition of a first bolt to some of their climbs to minimize groundfall potential and the addition of belay stations where appropriate. A few new climbs were put up in 2015.

All old and new climbs in this area were put up from the ground up.

The walk down the dome

It is a safe, easy walk-off to walk left across the brow of the dome (and beneath the large crown) and to walk northwest down the edge of the far side to the Nap Wall area climbs. It has been pruned and is not a bush-whack. You can walk off the southeast too, but that is a bushwhack unless you know the way, and it isn't obvious. It is best to just walk off the far side.

Crystal Wall Rappel

The main Crystal Wall rappel station is the top of Crystal Chute, which consists of two chains above a depression with a good stance. From here it is steep fourth class to the very top.

To find the Crystal Wall rappel from the top walk under the crown of the dome until you are beneath a small pine tree on the top of the crown. Surprisingly, Bob’s 1989 guidebook also mentions this tree as being about 5 years old and it still looks about 5 years old. Tough life. Walk (on belay if you wish) directly down from this tree to find the chains at a good stance.

From this point you can use two 70 meter ropes and rappel straight down and slightly left to a mid-wall rappel station with chains, then all the way down in another 70 meter two-rope rappel. CAUTION: These are really 70 meter rappels! If using shorter ropes rappel way left (looking down the wall) and rappel down the route Friction Affliction in three raps on rappel chains. If you choose this alternate rap, you WILL get your rope stuck on a ledge on the second rap but it is a short easy climb up 10 feet to retrieve it.

Getting There 

The Crystal Wall Area is the first area after you leave Slick Rock Slab and turn the corner. You'll see a large arch (Ice House Roof goes up the left corner).

Climbing Season

For the Highway 50 Corridor area.

Weather station 14.6 miles from here

10 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',7],['2 Stars',1],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Crystal Wall Area

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Crystal Wall Area:
Friction Affliction   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13     Trad, 3 pitches, 450'   
Crystal Chute   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13     Trad, 3 pitches, 450'   
Ice House Roof   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 3 pitches, 450'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Crystal Wall Area

Featured Route For Crystal Wall Area
Rock Climbing Photo: Brent Malicote on Crystal Wall

Crystal Wall Route 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a California : Lake Tahoe : ... : Crystal Wall Area
A superb face climb on almost perfect granite that follows subtle features of the rock. Many will climb to the first anchor (double-rings) and rap off, although you can continue (tend to the right) on fun and easy runout climbing past one bolt to a double bolt belay station and then on to the top. It requires two ropes to rap off the first pitch. Note that it is easy to miss the last bolt before the first belay - its out right seemingly a little off route. If you want the same experience as th...[more]   Browse More Classics in California

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