Lover's Leap Rock Climbing
Steve Miller. Lover's Leap pioneer. Photo y Bl...
This area is an excellent 250 to nearly 600 foot tall chunk of mostly vertical granite, containing hundreds of cracks crisscrossed with thousands of horizontal dikes. These dikes are key to reducing what would otherwise be very steep and difficult traditional routes, into routes with good rests and abundant holds, resulting in an area with relatively moderate grades. You will find over 250 developed routes that range from low bouldering traverses to 4 pitches tall. Some routes are bolt protected, but most of the sport climbing is 5.10+ YDS or harder, as the abundance of traditionally protected routes in close proximity to each other discourages squeezing in a bunch of moderate sport face climbing. All of the routes demand less than 20 minutes to "hike" into, as the entrance path is part of the pioneer trail, and therefore excellently maintained and quite wide.
Lovers Leap can sometimes seem crowded in certain areas, especially in the summer on weekends. However there is an almost limitless number of adventure routes and hidden classics that rarely ever see any traffic. As long as you're willing to step outside the box and try something that is not a "trade route", you will never have to wait in line or climb anywhere near other climbers... ever! Lovers Leap has a higher concentration and number of routes in close proximity to each other than any other crag in California. Add to that it's wide range of difficulty in routes and there is more than enough to keep everyone busy for a long time.
The main formation is traditionally divided into these walls, from right/west/closest to the campground, to left/east/furthest:West Wall
, Main Wall
, Central Wall
, and East Wall
. The second largest formation is the Hogsback
. Many other small developed walls abound, mostly not yet covered on this site (seven or more of these are covered in Carville's Tahoe climbing guide). The nearest and most popular of these are the Lower Buttress
and Dear John Buttress
. The Loaf Boulder
and Monks Rock
are major boulders right outside the campground; other potential abounds in less convenient and obvious pieces of granite.
Camping and Amenities
There is a developed campground
(first come, first served) at the western foot of the cliff. To find the campground, pull into the Strawberry Lodge parking lot. Follow the road to the left of the lodge past several cabins until you cross a small bridge over the river. After the bridge take an immediate left up a single lane road. Follow this road until it ends at the campground.
Camping is $10 (U.S.) a night and $5 (U.S.) for an extra car per day. There is limited day parking ($5) in the campground for climbers. Overflow parking is found along the road 100 yards past the bridge/river on the right side of the road. Do not park alongside the road leading to the campground or in the Strawberry Lodge parking lot.
Your car may be towed at your expense, (up to $1000 dollars in fines and/or a 30 day impound can be applied).
Conveniently located at the edge of the campground are a few large boulders worth doing. From the parking lot, head uphill and cross over the small foot bridge to the Pony Express Trail. Hang a left, and walk up the gently sloped trail for about 3 minutes.
Almost all multipitch routes are best to walk off, both for the preservation of existing vegetation, and that most routes don't have any fixed protection at the top of the rock due to the abundance of trees, cracks, and large rocks at the top.
You can get pretty good food at the Strawberry Lodge
, breakfast, lunch and dinner. They serve food at the bar as well and is a bit cheaper too. The Lodge is very climber friendly and showers can be purchased for a small fee. Just ask at the front desk.
Across the street is the Strawberry Station
, where you can pick up drinks and basic goods. There is also a small but usually well stocked gear store which carries all your basic (and then some) climbing gear. They also rent shoes and probably other gear if you just happen to forget something. It is owned and operated by a great and friendly local family the head of which is Squirrel, a local climber with all the beta you'll ever need. Be sure to stop in and support their friendly business.
, the local Access Fund affiliate, hosts yearly Adopt-a-Crag events, and collaborates with the Eldorado National Forest
From the Bay Area / Sacramento: Head East on highway 50 towards Placerville. Continue past Placerville to the town of Strawberry, which is approximately 8 miles past the more marked Kyburz. Turn off the freeway onto the small route that parallels the 50 just on the far side of the Strawberry lodge, which is hard to miss on your right. This is about 40 miles past Placerville. You get a good glimpse of the west and main walls as you get close to the Lodge on a clear day.
From Lake Tahoe: Head 18 miles West on Highway 50 to the town of Strawberry, where you should head a left just before the Strawberry Lodge, which will approach on your left after a magnificent view of Lover's Leap looming to the left on the way to the lodge.
From the Strawberry Lodge: Follow the road that Parallels the 50. At the junction, head left, and travel through the small neighborhood quietly and slowly, as advised by local signs. You will run directly into the parking lot about 1/3 mile later.
The trailhead is towards the rear of the lot.
Weather station 6.3 miles from here
153 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',13],['3 Stars',80],['2 Stars',49],['1 Star',11],['Bomb',0]
Classic Climbing Routes in Lover's Leap
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Lover's Leap
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Lover's Leap:
Featured Route For Lover's Leap
North Country 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b California
: Lake Tahoe
: ... : Main Wall
The first pitch is interesting and a bit of an adventure (for a description of the first pitch, see comments below) The second pitch can be done without doing the first pitch. (See Beta Photo or read Location information below) The second pitch is excellent hand and finger jams and takes gear well with a couple of fixed pieces also. I know nothing about the 3rd pitch or beyond (there are comments regarding climbing beyond the second pitch in the comments below)....[more] Browse More Classics in California