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South Wall

Routes Sorted
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Donkey Show S 
Drill Drop S 
Festus S 
Glass Eye S 
Live Wire S 
May Cause Dizziness S 
May Cause Drowsiness S 
Pain Killer S 
Smoke Signal S 

South Wall Rock Climbing 

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Location: 39.24416, -120.20261 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 4,590
Administrators: Aron Quiter, Lurker, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Aron Quiter on May 16, 2004
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The South Wall at Big Chief contains about 15 climbs from 5.10a to hard 5.11 on vertical to overhung terrian. Climbing on the leftside of the wall contains more difficult routes that involve pulling over a roof about 15 feet up, and simpler terrian above. These routes should be stick clipped, as often the crux will be below the first bolt.

Righside routes are on vertical rock with intermittent small roofs.

The South Wall faces mostly west, and will be in the sun all afternoon.

Getting There 

Approach time: 20 - 35 minutes.

From the parking lot, head down the main path to the west, which consists of a former gravel road that has large trees cast through the center of it at the parking lot to ensure that people can no longer drive to the former lot.

After .6 miles of gentle dirt road, you will come to the former lot. From here head uphill for about 50 vertical feet on the narrowing trail to a fork. At the fork, you should head right, and this will take you up to the north pass.

From the north pass, hang a left around the rock, and this will take you into the center wall area. Go past the Center Wall to the South Wall, which is another 250 yards.

There is another approach / exit trail that takes you more directly to the South Wall the splits of the trail to the north pass and goes over the south pass, but this trail isn't as established, involves a bit of bushwacking, and doesn't realistically save much (if any) time.

To take this trail, from the old parking lot look for a trail moving up the hill and left heading to the south pass. This trail will pass the backside climbs, and puts you on the summit between the South Cave (on your right) and the South Buttress on your left. The South Wall is downhill and right of the South Cave.

Climbing Season

For the Big Chief area.

Weather station 3.5 miles from here

9 Total Climbing Routes

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

Classic Climbing Routes in South Wall

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for South Wall:
Festus   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   
Smoke Signal   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   
May Cause Drowsiness   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   
Pain Killer   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in South Wall

Featured Route For South Wall
Rock Climbing Photo: Festus in the late afternoon sun.

Festus 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a  California : Lake Tahoe : ... : South Wall
A very sustained 10a (with the exception of a long runout on low 5th class terrain before the final two bolts), Festus grabs your attention with many cool moves and various techniques required as soon as you clip the first bolt.Very short people may find the crux to be moving off the second bolt into the right-facing dihedral (very reachy for those at the lower end of 5'). For me, the crux was the steep and slightly runout ground between bolts 3 to 4, a mini-traverse that thankfully offers great...[more]   Browse More Classics in California

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