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Lover's Leap

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Central Wall 
Dear John Buttress 
East Wall 
Loaf Boulder, The 
Lower Buttress 
Main Wall 
Monks Rock 
West Wall 
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Lover's Leap  

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 6,944'
Location: 38.8015, -120.133 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 971,263
Administrators: Aron Quiter, John Robinson, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Aron Quiter on Jun 4, 2003
You & This Area
Best routes for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [2 people like this page.]

Seasonal Raptor Closure MORE INFO >>>


This area is an excellent 250 to nearly 600 foot tall chunk of mostly vertical granite, containing hundreds of cracks crisscrossed with thousands of horizontal dikes. These dikes are key to reducing what would otherwise be very steep and difficult traditional routes, into routes with good rests and abundant holds, resulting in an area with relatively moderate grades. You will find over 250 developed routes that range from low bouldering traverses to 4 pitches tall. Some routes are bolt protected, but most of the sport climbing is 5.10+ YDS or harder, as the abundance of traditionally protected routes in close proximity to each other discourages squeezing in a bunch of moderate sport face climbing. All of the routes demand less than 20 minutes to "hike" into, as the entrance path is part of the pioneer trail, and therefore excellently maintained and quite wide.

Lovers Leap can sometimes seem crowded in certain areas, especially in the summer on weekends. However there is an almost limitless number of adventure routes and hidden classics that rarely ever see any traffic. As long as you're willing to step outside the box and try something that is not a "trade route", you will never have to wait in line or climb anywhere near other climbers... ever! Lovers Leap has the highest concentration and number of routes in close proximity to each other than any other crag in California. Add to that it's wide range of difficulty in routes and there is more than enough to keep everyone busy for a long time.

The main formation is traditionally divided into these walls, from right/west/closest to the campground, to left/east/furthest:West Wall, Main Wall, Central Wall, and East Wall. The second largest formation is the Hogsback. Many other small developed walls abound, mostly not yet covered on this site (seven or more of these are covered in Carville's Tahoe climbing guide). The nearest and most popular of these are the Lower Buttress and Dear John Buttress. The Loaf Boulder and Monks Rock are major boulders right outside the campground; other potential abounds in less convenient and obvious pieces of granite.

Camping and Amenities

There is a developed campground (first come, first served) at the western foot of the cliff. To find the campground, pull into the Strawberry Lodge parking lot. Follow the road to the left of the lodge past several cabins until you cross a small bridge over the river. After the bridge take an immediate left up a single lane road. Follow this road until it ends at the campground.

Camping is $10 (U.S.) a night and $5 (U.S.) for an extra car per day. There is limited day parking ($5) in the campground for climbers. Overflow parking is found along the road 100 yards past the bridge/river on the right side of the road. Do not park alongside the road leading to the campground or in the Strawberry Lodge parking lot. Your car may be towed at your expense, (up to $1000 dollars in fines and/or a 30 day impound can be applied).

Conveniently located at the edge of the campground are a few large boulders worth doing. From the parking lot, head uphill and cross over the small foot bridge to the Pony Express Trail. Hang a left, and walk up the gently sloped trail for about 3 minutes.

Almost all multipitch routes are best to walk off, both for the preservation of existing vegetation, and that most routes don't have any fixed protection at the top of the rock due to the abundance of trees, cracks, and large rocks at the top.

You can get pretty good food at the Strawberry Lodge, breakfast, lunch and dinner. They serve food at the bar as well and is a bit cheaper too. The Lodge is very climber friendly and showers can be purchased for a small fee. Just ask at the front desk.

Across the street is the Strawberry Station, where you can pick up drinks and basic goods. There is also a small but usually well stocked gear store which carries all your basic (and then some) climbing gear. They also rent shoes and probably other gear if you just happen to forget something. It is owned and operated by a great and friendly local family the head of which is Squirrel, a local climber with all the beta you'll ever need. Be sure to stop in and support their friendly business.


CRAGS, the local Access Fund affiliate, hosts yearly Adopt-a-Crag events, and collaborates with the Eldorado National Forest.

Getting There 

From the Bay Area / Sacramento: Head East on highway 50 towards Placerville. Continue past Placerville to the town of Strawberry, which is approximately 8 miles past the more marked Kyburz. Turn off the freeway onto the small route that parallels the 50 just on the far side of the Strawberry lodge, which is hard to miss on your right. This is about 40 miles past Placerville. You get a good glimpse of the west and main walls as you get close to the Lodge on a clear day.

From Lake Tahoe: Head 18 miles West on Highway 50 to the town of Strawberry, where you should head a left just before the Strawberry Lodge, which will approach on your left after a magnificent view of Lover's Leap looming to the left on the way to the lodge.

From the Strawberry Lodge: Follow the road that Parallels the 50. At the junction, head left, and travel through the small neighborhood quietly and slowly, as advised by local signs. You will run directly into the parking lot about 1/3 mile later.

The trailhead is towards the rear of the lot.

Climbing Season

Weather station 6.3 miles from here

153 Total Routes

['4 Stars',16],['3 Stars',79],['2 Stars',43],['1 Star',15],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Lover's Leap:
Surrealistic Pillar   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 3 pitches, 270'   Lower Buttress
Corrugation Corner   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 3 pitches, 300'   Main Wall
Bear's Reach   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 3 pitches, 400'   East Wall
The Groove   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13     Trad, 2 pitches, 150'   Lower Buttress
East Crack   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 3 pitches, 400'   East Wall
Haystack   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 4 pitches, 400'   East Wall
Fantasia   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R     Trad, 3 pitches, 300'   East Wall
Scimitar   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R     Trad, 3 pitches, 400'   East Wall
The Line   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 3 pitches, 400'   East Wall
Traveler Buttress   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 4 pitches, 500'   Main Wall
Eeyore's Enigma   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 4 pitches, 500'   Main Wall
Hospital Corner   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 2 pitches, 240'   West Wall
Vanishing Point   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 5 pitches, 485'   West Wall
Dragon Back   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Main Wall
Surrealistic Pillar Direct   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Lower Buttress
Tombstone Terror   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Main Wall
North Face Route   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 4 pitches, 500'   Main Wall
Absolutely Brilliant   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   Main Wall
Boot Hill   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Main Wall
Pillar of Society   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Lower Buttress
Browse More Classics in Lover's Leap

Featured Route For Lover's Leap
Working through the first roof.

God of Thunder, Pitch 2 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a  CA : Tahoe Vicinity : ... : Dear John Buttress
Climb one of the 3 God of Thunder first pitch variations. Clip the chains and continue into the route's second half.Fun, mostly hand-sized climbing takes you to a jug immediately below the first roof. Fairly straightforward movement and deep jams can be used to surmount this roof. About 10 feet of moderate offwidth brings you to a pair of old bolts and the second roof, which to me seemed considerably more difficult and puzzling than the first. A rail buried deep within the roof crack may help a ...[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of Lover's Leap Slideshow Add Photo
Steve Miller. Lover's Leap pioneer. Photo y Blitzo...
Steve Miller. Lover's Leap pioneer. Photo y Blitzo...
Neal Archambault on 'Beer Can Direct', 5.11a - Lov...
Neal Archambault on 'Beer Can Direct', 5.11a - Lov...
amazing trees and moss...
amazing trees and moss...
The Leap.  Tiny climber specks on The Line and Bea...
The Leap. Tiny climber specks on The Line and Bea...
Lover's Leap. Photo by Blitzo.
Lover's Leap. Photo by Blitzo.
Sunset on the Traveler Buttress
Sunset on the Traveler Buttress
Golden hour on the East Wall
Golden hour on the East Wall
The Line Route at Lover's Leap, photo: Bob Horan
The Line Route at Lover's Leap, photo: Bob Horan
2009 Closure Map
BETA PHOTO: 2009 Closure Map
Profile of Traveler Buttress/Main Wall
Profile of Traveler Buttress/Main Wall
Lover's Leap proper
Lover's Leap proper
Lovers Leap en route to Hogsback. Photo by Brian A...
Lovers Leap en route to Hogsback. Photo by Brian A...
Be careful of where you leave you pack, especially...
BETA PHOTO: Be careful of where you leave you pack, especially...
A view of The Leap from the air
A view of The Leap from the air
Lover's Leap after a decent dusting of snow.  Take...
Lover's Leap after a decent dusting of snow. Take...
Lover's Leap Area, and The Line Route which follow...
Lover's Leap Area, and The Line Route which follow...
Lower Buttress below the Main Wall/West Wall
Lower Buttress below the Main Wall/West Wall
Lovers Leap Campground Boulders
BETA PHOTO: Lovers Leap Campground Boulders
Get your shower here
BETA PHOTO: Get your shower here
Lover's Leap, storm. Photo by Blitzo.
Lover's Leap, storm. Photo by Blitzo.
Bouldering at Lover's Leap.
Bouldering at Lover's Leap.

Comments on Lover's Leap Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 17, 2015
By Alex Motal
Sep 14, 2015
I left my iPhone at the base of the cliff (between surrelistic pillar and pillar of society). Please message me if found. It's black and has a slightly cracked face. Thanks.
By Anonymous Coward
Jun 10, 2003
the leap is very good... check out bears reach (5.7) and the line (5.9) if you've never been. killer stuff.
By kirra
Jun 7, 2007
I second that area as optional camping. If you want to see something really special, continue up the road to Wright's Lake at the top. Quite a nice place for breakfast if the view of the spires wasn't good enough ~(-:
By Bosier Parsons
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Jul 26, 2009
So it appears that Lovers Leap has a NW aspect. Am I seeing this right? Just trying to figure out what kind of shade it might receive at what times of day? I'm here visiting in Reno for a couple weeks, and it's 100 degree weather here. Will the Leap be too hot? Any recommendations are appreciated.
By Salamanizer
From: Vacaville Ca.
Jul 29, 2009
The Leap has lots of shade. Usually when the temps are in the 100's in Reno or the Central Valley the Leap stays at a decent 80-85 degrees. There is an occasional heat wave that may make it a bit warm but that's the exception. Should be nice, lots of shade.... Go!
By Michael Ybarra
From: on the road
Jul 2, 2011
Pretty good food at the Lodge? Maybe it's gotten better in the last couple of years but I wouldn't know, since I swore I'd never eat there again ever after the last super crappy meal.
By caughtinside
From: Oakland CA
Jul 4, 2011
Easy there... the Lodge is a great resource for climbers and worthy of our support. The food has indeed varied in quality over the years. I wouldn't describe it as terrific, but it currently is decent and reasonably priced.

You can get showers there for $5 as well.
By Ned
Jul 15, 2013
Not mentioned in the Super Topo or anywhere else I could find is that Strawberry Station, across the street from Strawberry Lodge, carries a small but comprehensive supply of climbing gear (along with some camping/hiking gear and groceries). It's much more convenient than having to head into South Lake Tahoe to go to Sports LTD.
By Jan Tarculas
From: Riverside, Ca
Jul 17, 2015
No need to pay $5 if you have a National Park Pass, just display on your dash
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