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Lover's Leap

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Jenkinson Lake aka Sly Park
A great beginner trail with great views. It stays cool during hot summer months Near Placerville, CA
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Lover's Leap  

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Elevation: 6,944'
Location: 38.8015, -120.133 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 800,161
Administrators: Aron Quiter, John Robinson, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Aron Quiter on Jun 4, 2003
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Seasonal Raptor Closure MORE INFO >>>


This area is an excellent 250 to almost 600 foot 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 about 250+ routes that range from bouldering to about 5 pitches. Some routes are sport/bolt protected, but most of the sport climbing is .10+ or harder as the abundance of traditional 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.

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 100yds 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.

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

152 Total Routes

['4 Stars',14],['3 Stars',76],['2 Stars',49],['1 Star',13],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Lover's Leap:
Corrugation Corner   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 3 pitches, 300'   Main Wall
Surrealistic Pillar   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 3 pitches, 270'   Lower Buttress
Bear's Reach   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 3 pitches, 400'   East Wall
Haystack   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 4 pitches, 400'   East Wall
East Crack   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 3 pitches, 400'   East Wall
The Groove   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13     Trad, 2 pitches, 475'   Lower Buttress
Scimitar   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R     Trad, 3 pitches, 400'   East Wall
Psychedelic Tree   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 3 pitches, 350'   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
Fantasia   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R     Trad, 3 pitches, 300'   East 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, 485'   West 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
Power Lust   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 85'   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
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God of Thunder (5.11b Variation) 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c  CA : Tahoe Vicinity : ... : Dear John Buttress
A bouldery start, protected by thin gear, leads to a section of good hands. The line finishes on a flared finger splitter and face moves. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

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

Comments on Lover's Leap Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Feb 25, 2015
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 Steve C
From: Missoula, MT
Jun 27, 2007
Anyone heard or know if the fire is affecting the area?
By Aron Quiter
From: Oakland, CA
Jul 12, 2007
The Fire of late June 2007 was well east of lover's leap, and with the wind coming from the south, the leap would be not affected at all. Eagle Lake - probably, but not the leap.
By Scotty Nelson
From: Boulder
Nov 20, 2008
Would it be too cold at Lover's Leap over Thanksgiving?
By Karsten
From: Sacramento, CA
May 15, 2009
The number for the wildlife biologist in the "Temporary Closure" section is no longer valid.
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 Greg Gibson
From: Napa, Ca
Aug 9, 2009
I was there about two week ago. Weather was in the 90's so tried to climb in the shade.

I certainly felt the elevation, after not doing much cardio in a while.

I'll be going back to climb in late september when the weather cools off.
From: Portlandia, OR
May 18, 2010
Thanks Alan, last time I drove by it looked wet but then again, we weren't up on it. Thanks!!
By Tim Heid
From: Scottsdale, AZ
Aug 29, 2010
I know it's a ways off, but I will be in Tahoe in mid March next year for a snowboarding trip. Is the Leap climable at that time or should I leave the gear at home??
By gunter
Apr 18, 2011
Hows the weather typically in mid-may at the leap?...As long as it isn't miserable or hazardous I'm looking to pull down around that time.
By Murdo
Apr 27, 2011
anybody got info on rock conditions presently? weather is perfect but im just wondering if the cracks are seeping and the ledges wet.
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 Daniel Boettcher
From: Portland, Oregon
Oct 7, 2013
I left a yellow #2 master cam with an alpine draw at the top of the first pitch on Pop Bottle. If you find it please contact me at boettche12@up.edu. Thanks
By dirtbag hero
From: Columbia, Mo
Feb 25, 2015
hey I am thinking of heading down around the end of March, does anyone know if camping is avialable?! I am coming from Portland, on my way to the Valley and I thought it would be a great spot to stop on the way back from Yosemite!!

thanks, Cory
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