Trip Report: Lovers Leap

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A familiar face around the GWPC yoga and climbing community, Avram Pearlman sent in this trip report of his first time at Lover’s Leap. When he submitted this post, Summer was coming to a close. At time of publishing, winter has yet to show it’s face, so the Leap is still climbable! Read on to find out more of the play by play beta on this classic California climbing destination. 

Marie at the anchor

In late summer, we took at trip to Tahoe for a little climbing. Having never been up Highway 50 to climb the multitude of routes in that direction, I didn’t know what to expect. After only a weekend I am hooked, and can’t wait to get back! A friend of mine had always recommended the Leap as a great place to start traditional multipitch climbing. The abundance of routes from 5.5 to 5.9 make it a great place to focus on gear placement, anchor building, topo reading, route finding, and setting up a belay station. The granite is gray in color, and includes features similar to those found in the valley.

deceptionGetting there is fairly easy, as long as there is not an abundance of traffic in the Sacramento area. Water is available at the parking area, however parking is limited. There are 20 walk in campsites, with space for one car per campsite. The day use parking area is also limited, and can be taken up with overflow from the campers. The campground is first come first serve for $10/night with 14 nights max. There is running water, fire rings, and pit toilettes. Day use fees are $5/day per vehicle.

With our rack and some borrowed pieces, myself and my partner Marie hiked out to try a few routes on the Hogs Back. This wall is slightly shorter than the main wall, and allows for two and three pitch routes. Knapsack, our first choice, was more congested than the 880 during rush hour. Instead we walked right up to Manic Depressive, a two pitch 5.5 that was really fun!

After getting a little more comfortable with the idea of switching leads, placing gear, and dealing with the rope, we got on Deception. Deception is a 5.6 route that included a 5.8 crack variation (extremely scary), lay backs, stacked blocks, and a scary slab traverse move with no hands near the end of the second pitch. The exposure made me realize how short the routes in the gym really are…

Many of the classic routes are referenced on Mountain Project, but this place is pretty big. Highway 50 is littered with spots around the Leap, some even include free camping! It’s not a bad idea to get your hands on a copy of South Lake Tahoe Climbing, by Chris McNamara (Supertopo 2004). Although ten years old, this book was still a great to have in hand.