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Luther Rock

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Detox Wall 
Distillery Wall 

Luther Rock Rock Climbing 

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Location: 38.8044, -120.0099 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Aron Quiter, Lurker, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Brian Quiter on Oct 8, 2002
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looking down on the scree pile approach from Disti...


Located on the southern side of Lake Tahoe, Christmas Valley features tons of climbing, most of which has never been done before because the approach to most of the climbing is steep and fairly long.

The rock is severely weathered granite, but established routes tend to be on sturdy rock.

Detox Wall has been the sight of some recent first ascents, and even Carville's guide to the area isn't quite up to date (nor does he have the name right... look for Christmas Tree Valley in his book). Check out Sports Ltd. (1032 Emerald Bay rd. In the South Y Center South Lake Tahoe) to ask the climbing dudes about most up-to-date info.

Distillery Wall features long vertical single pitch climbs on weathered granite. Most of the routes are sport in the 5.11 range though a handful of trad routes exist as well. A twenty bolt ~120' climb named Yards of Ale is definitely worth doing if you've made the hike up here.

Getting There 

From the Bay Area, take 80 East to Business 80 in Sacramento, then hop on 50 east. Follow this over Echo Pass, then take a right on highway 89 (to Kirkwood).From Lake Tahoe, take 50 west and go left on 89 about 3 miles past the town of Meyers.

Once on 89, you've entered Christmas Valley. Parking for Hidetaka's Hideout is .9 miles up the road, and Luther Rock is a few miles further.

The pull-out for Luther Rock (the Distillery and Detox wall) is on the right side of the road .89 miles past Portal Rd.Luther Rock is visible from the pull-out where you should park. Its a long way above the road facing Echo Pass. This is a small pull-out just past a much larger one with room for many cars to park. This one has space for ~3 cars.

The location coordinates and map location are for the parking area!

Climbing Season

Weather station 0.9 miles from here

17 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',5],['2 Stars',8],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Luther Rock

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Luther Rock:
Betty Ford's Route   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 95'   Detox Wall
Methadone   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   Detox Wall
Moonshine   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   Distillery Wall
Seven and Seven   5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 110'   Distillery Wall
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Luther Rock

Featured Route For Luther Rock
Rock Climbing Photo: Bar Fly from below.  Due to the curving nature of ...

Bar Fly 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a  California : Lake Tahoe : ... : Distillery Wall
Bar Fly is located around the arete, left of the ramp on which 'Five Nine' ascends near the center of the Distillery Wall. Bar Fly's first bolt is within reach off the deck because the first move is one of the toughest: moving onto the slab with miniscule holds. After the second bolt, Bar Fly continues up about 60 feet of vertical climbing with nothing but fun moves. After the vertical section, the climbing eases for the final two bolts....[more]   Browse More Classics in California

Photos of Luther Rock Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Luther Rock Overview Map
BETA PHOTO: Luther Rock Overview Map
Rock Climbing Photo: Ryan on the approach
Ryan on the approach

Comments on Luther Rock Add Comment
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By Aron Quiter
From: Oakland, CA
Oct 11, 2007
Rented a house in Christmas Valley last winter and got to spend some time wandering around, but not doing much climbing.

There's a boulder on Blitzen, which is the road that is one block west of highway 89 about 1/4 mile south of 50, which (I think) is called The Blitzen Boulder. I was told of 100+ problems, but I only think there are about 15 on a 12' boulder. Maybe the boulder, which is located in between 3 houses between colusa and shakori (and probably on private property), isn't the blitzen Boulder.

I'd ask one of the neighbors before climbing to respect their privacy, and probably one of the two that doesn't have the huge growling rottweiler fenced up in their yard.

There's also additional bolted and TRAD climbing in the cliffs directly east of 89 if you head straight up hill from 89 and Elf ave. It's a 15 minute steep walk to the first bolts, and there are many other cliffs up above the first band.
By Christine Page
From: San Francisco
Sep 7, 2011
Here are the actual gps coordinates for the pull-out for Luther Rock: 38.804400, -120.009850
By Court
May 4, 2013
The Sports LTD no longer exists at the south y center. there still is one at the crescent V Shopping center downtown. it's not as climbing centric but you can still get good info there.
By Keyan P
From: Brooklyn, NY
Jul 24, 2017
Getting here is very difficult due to trail finding. Logging and burning have made the initial trail extremely tricky to find. It took my partner and I over 2.5hrs to get to the crag, although about 1.5hrs of that was looking for the trail.

Beta that might help as of 7/22/2017:

1. use the parking coordinates Christine posted above (38.804400, -120.009850)
2. walk to the other side of the street and look for a cairn less than 20ft from the road
3. the next cairn is southeast on/near a medium sized boulder and head straight east from there
4. from there the trail is mostly ruined by logging, continue east and look for cairns staying in the logged area where there isn't thick brush
5. there is <=10mins of walking before the trail becomes more obvious and switchbacks up a hill/slabs
6. continue following cairns until you are level with the cliff you want to climb, then go right

We reinforced the cairns along various sections of the trail. If you head up there please add a rock or two to some of the cairns as you walk by.

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