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Echo Lakes

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5.12 Wall 
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Echo Lakes  

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Elevation: 7,377'
Location: 38.8346, -120.0443 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 62,233
Administrators: Aron Quiter, John Robinson, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Aron Quiter on Sep 2, 2003  with updates from Ben Stone
This Afternoon

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Lower Echo Lake-Winter. Photo by Blitzo.


This largely granite area sits just off highway 50 at Echo Pass, the pass you must travel over in order to get into South Lake Tahoe from Sacramento. There are several hundred routes, with lengths from 30 to 300 feet.

Climbing is for the most part traditional, though there are a few mixed and sport climbs, and just like everywhere else in Tahoe if you're really wanting to boulder, there are plenty of good boulders to be found. If you travel a little further away from the lake down to Berkeley Camp, you can also find about 10 sport routes.

Most climbs sit above the Echo Lake entrance to the Desolation Wilderness and Pacific Crest Trail, which makes the parking lot seem quite full often, though most of the people parked are there visiting some of the cabins on the lake, for boating, and also for hiking. As a result, you will find yourself climbing uncrowded domes and peaks above the crowded trails.

Most approaches are under an hour, and most of the approach is on the Pacific Crest Trail, which is even smoothed out with concrete in some sections.

All routes are on National Forest land, so there are no access issues.

There's even a general store at the beginning of the trailhead, so getting beer is easy in case you forgot to bring your own. A view from the parking lot at Lower Echo Lakes. The path you need to take out to the majority of climbing starts on the concrete walkway on the right side of the picture. Most Climbing is behind the large formation in the picture known as Echo Edge.

Getting There 

From east or west, head uphill on 50 to 2 miles west of Echo Summit. From the west (Placerville), hang a left on Echo Summit road, and from the east (South Lake Tahoe) hang a right. Follow this narrow paved road about 2 miles to the parking lot before Lower Echo Lake.

Ben Stone adds: "There is a self serve day pass for the Desolation Wilderness trailhead next to the dam. Overnight passes are not available, those must be acquired at the ranger stations (closes one I know of is down near fallen leaf lake). There are boat taxis to the other side of Upper Echo for $15 a person, $5 for gear, and the boat will only go when there is $45 worth going up the lake. The taxi saves you about 3 miles of hiking and going through the channel has been said to be like "going through Disneyland". I worked at Echo Lake Chalet for a couple summers and am a cabin owner on upper echo."

Climbing Season

Weather station 1.8 miles from here

77 Total Routes

['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',16],['2 Stars',37],['1 Star',16],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Echo Lakes:
Thug Life   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch   Billy Land : Gangsta Wall
The Ramp   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 3 pitches, 250'   Flagpole Peak Area : Flagpole Peak
California Love   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 190'   Billy Land : Gangsta Wall
Salt Water Flush   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 70'   Berkeley Camp Rocks
New Jersey Turnpike   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Berkeley Camp Rocks
Witch Doctor   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Berkeley Camp Rocks
Browse More Classics in Echo Lakes

Featured Route For Echo Lakes
Dan Osman on the first ascent of "Metallarete...

Metallarete 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b  CA : Tahoe Vicinity : ... : Gold Finger Area
This route is not actually on Gold Finger Cliff, but on a short cliff/boulder to the southeast. Climb a rail past bolts to the bolted arete. A beautiful, difficult climb in a scenic location....[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of Echo Lakes Slideshow Add Photo
Tahoe Basin from Echo Summit. Photo by Blitzo.
Tahoe Basin from Echo Summit. Photo by Blitzo.
A view from the dock at Lower Echo Lakes, with mos...
BETA PHOTO: A view from the dock at Lower Echo Lakes, with mos...
Lower Echo Lake. Photo by Blitzo.
Lower Echo Lake. Photo by Blitzo.
Wind blown juniper near Flagpole Peak. Photo by Bl...
Wind blown juniper near Flagpole Peak. Photo by Bl...

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