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Black Wall is the largest rock formation in the Donner Summit area. The large east facing wall is the first rock formation you encounter on the right as you drive up from Donner Lake. Many routes are 3 or 4 pitches in length to a height of 400-600 feet. Although most of the routes are trad requiring a good solid standard rack, there does exist some sport routes also. To descend, walk off the left side (west) and follow trail down and eventually cut back left over a ridge to gain access to bottom of cliffs.
Driving up from Donner Lake, Black Wall is the first rock formation you come to on the right side sitting high above the road. If you are driving from the west, you would exit at the Soda Springs/Donner Pass Road exit off of I-80. Continue on Donner Pass Road east for several miles to reach to the Donner Summit area. You will pass many climbing formations as you drive down the hill. Black Wall will be the very last one on the left side. There is a small parking pull off area. There are two ways to approach the cliffs. For climbs on the left side, follow a small trail that begins up a little from the parking area. The trail meanders up and eventually you just climb boulder to boulder to get through the boulder field heading straight up to the cliffs. To gain the right side, it is easier to follow a small trail just left of a small creek. Follow trail and creek bed to a point where the trail turns left to the base of the wall. Approach is about 10-15 minutes if you are acclimated to the higher 7000' altitude. If you are arriving from the Bay area, expect the approach to be a little tiring! Beautiful rock in a beautiful setting!
45 Total Routes
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Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Black Wall:
Labyrinth 5.6 4c 14 V S 4b Trad, 3 pitches, 200'
Rated X 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b Trad, 2 pitches, 200'
One Hand Clapping 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a Trad, 4 pitches, 500'
Primer 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a Trad, 1 pitch, 50'
Touch and Go 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a Trad, 80'
Black September 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a Trad, 1 pitch, 110'
Hungover Hangover 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a Trad, 1 pitch, 50'
Rat's Tooth 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a Trad, 1 pitch, 90'
Empty Overgo 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a PG13 Trad, 4 pitches, 400'
Touch A Cannibal 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a Trad, 4 pitches, 400'
Firecracker 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b Trad, 1 pitch, 70'
Bourbon Street 5.10 6b 20 VII- E2 5b Trad, 4 pitches, 400'
New Fascination 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b Trad, 3 pitches, 400'
Bliss 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b Trad, 1 pitch, 70'
New Moon 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b Trad, 1 pitch, 60'
finger licker 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c TR, 1 pitch, 70'
Slipstream 5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c Trad, 75'
There Goes The Neighborhood 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII E4 6a Trad, Sport, 85'
Headstone 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII E4 6a Trad, 30'
Full Moon 5.11d 7a 24 VIII E5 6a PG13 Trad, 1 pitch, 70'
Featured Route For Black Wall
Bourbon Street 5.10 6b 20 VII- E2 5b CA : Tahoe Vicinity : ... : Black Wall
Pitch 1 and 2: Climb the chimney like feature and cracks to left of the Rat's Tooth. I believe the first pitch was 5.6 or 5.7 and the second pitch had some 5.8 like moves ending on a nice ledge on the left side of the large gulley. In an older guidebook they called these two pitches "Inner Recess" (I actually prefer to climb the 5.10 pitch of Rat's tooth, and the beginning of the 2nd pitch of Touch and go to get to the anchor)Pitch 3 (The Money Pitch): From the ledge climb straight up the ch...[more] Browse More Classics in CA
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