REI Community

Select Area...
Central Area 
Left Side 
Rainbow Bouldering 
Right Side 

Rainbow Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 5,800'
Location: 39.3064, -120.5176 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 13,349
Administrators: Aron Quiter, Lurker, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: urs on Aug 14, 2008  with updates from kennethsime
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
BETA PHOTO: Camille raps Over the Rainbow while I goof off at ...

Open, with restrictions: private property MORE INFO >>>


Rainbow is a very beautiful place set on a small hill above the tiny community of Big Bend. it is west facing so its best to climb in spring or fall. Even though its right off the freeway it sees very little traffic and it holds spectacular climbing on white granite slabs. The rock is very hard and is much like some of the rock you would find in Donner Summit. The majority of routes ascend thin edges or cracks on small dome like structures. This area is not for beginners. There is one 5.9 and the rest are 5.10a-5.12c. This area is small enough were you could tick of most of the classics in one day, but is definitely worth climbing at.

Getting There 

Rainbow is located on the west side of Donner Pass, about 17 miles west of Truckee and a few miles east of Cisco Grove. To find Rainbow, exit off Interstate 80 at Big Bend and turn onto Hampshire Rock Road. Continue to a roadside parking area just east of the south Yuba River. The climbing area is the odvious group of granite cliffs facing west. The approach trail begins behind a storage garage across the street from Big Bend Ranger Station and follows a narrow trail that winds through acres of manzanita to the base of the wall. The approach should only take 10 minutes.

Climbing Season

Weather station 0.4 miles from here

34 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',6],['3 Stars',13],['2 Stars',8],['1 Star',5],['Bomb',1]

Classic Climbing Routes in Rainbow

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Rainbow:
Malcolm's Route   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch   Central Area
Dark Special   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch   Central Area
Aja   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch   Left Side
Over the Rainbow   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch   Left Side
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Rainbow

Featured Route For Rainbow
Rock Climbing Photo: Camille raps Over the Rainbow while I goof off at ...

Over the Rainbow 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c  California : Lake Tahoe : ... : Left Side
Over the rainbow is most likely the best route in rainbow. It follows very thin edges through a very intimidating face. Very fun and classic. The crux comes after the second bolt where the traverse left ends. from there you have classic moves up the face to the top....[more]   Browse More Classics in California

Photos of Rainbow Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: caughtinside at the crux of Aja.
caughtinside at the crux of Aja.
Rock Climbing Photo: Scareflow on Jan 1, 2016. Temps were about 10°F.
BETA PHOTO: Scareflow on Jan 1, 2016. Temps were about 10°F.

Comments on Rainbow Add Comment
Show which comments
By Patrick Mulligan
Sep 17, 2012
This Area could use some love. Several of the bolt, while 3/8", are heavily corroded.
By Patrick Mulligan
Apr 20, 2014
This area in the last two years has seen a lot of love. While there are still some issues to work out (whoever replaced the bolts used stainless bolts and plated washers (washers are rusted) most of the hardware looks good. Check recent comments for current status.
By Eben
Jul 22, 2014
Someone took a chainsaw to the established climber's trail. Couldn't say if it was climbers who did it or someone just playing with a chainsaw. Large swaths of brush were cut without apparent logic and some of the cut brush was tossed onto the original trail.
Since the Big Bend Fire Department is right across the road from the trail head it's possible it was firemen practicing brush clearing.
Looks like it was done early spring of '14.
Ugly, ugly.

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About