Whether you’re a seasoned veteran, trad climber, sport climber, prefer bouldering or multi-pitch, or just a gym, Tahoe has a little something for every type of climber. The rock type in this area is primarily high-quality granite with some areas featuring basalt (volcanic rock).
April –June are prime rock climbing time at Lake Tahoe, and while April can be iffy depending on the snowpack and weather, this April was ideal. A few weeks ago, we ventured out for a late afternoon climbing session at 90-foot Wall. Despite a few initial crowds, it tailored off and there were plenty of routes to explore.
Here is a brief list of just a few of the rock climbing areas at Lake Tahoe…there are many more out there!
Trad climbing – Sugarloaf, Eagle Lake, Phantom Spires, Lover’s Leap
Sport – 90-Foot Wall, Luther Rock, Luther Spires, Mayhem Cove
Bouldering – Pie Shop, Deli Slicer, Christmas Valley, Echo View, Echo Summit (multiple areas), The Secrets, and many, many, many more!
Gyms – To keep in shape between those outdoor trips, Push Fitness in South Lake Tahoe features a bouldering wall. The closest indoor climbing gym is located in Incline Village at High Altitude Fitness. You’ll find a friendly staff and lots of local climbers, so if you need a climbing partner or want some good beta, stop on in.
Rock climbing is about the overall experience, from the time you pack up the car to the time you arrive back home. Soak in every moment. Be sure to appreciate the views from the top.
For first-timers, go with someone who is an experienced, skilled climber and knows the area. And not only be sure you can trust your belayer, but be a belayer your climber can trust. The scariest climbing moment of my life was on the final route on a day-trip to Last Chance Canyon in New Mexico, when a mix-up in communication, or a lack there-of, led my first-time-outdoor-climbing belayer to think that I would be repelling. He took me off belay and walked away. When I said on belay and take and looked down, he was gone. Quick thinking by an experienced fellow climber is probably the only thing that kept me from serious injury. Pay attention and communicate.
Be prepared: Have a topo of the area so that you know what you’re getting yourself into when picking a route. If you cannot find a landmark and are not sure what route you are looking at, ask a fellow climber. Most are happy to help you orient yourself…just don’t try to take over their lines. Have respect.
Dogs are allowed at most climbing areas. As a fellow dog owner, please keep an eye on your pup and tie it up if it doesn’t socialize well with others. Also, please clean up after your dog. No one wants to step in that mess when evaluating a route or mingling around.
Remember: Leave no trace. Please pack out what you pack in and earn some extra karma by picking up any trash you see on the trails or at the crags.
Chick on rock. Rock on chick!
~ Sally Gunter