Located on the southern side of Lake Tahoe, Christmas Valley features tons of climbing, most of which has never been done before because the approach to most of the climbing is steep and fairly long.
The rock is severely weathered granite, but established routes tend to be on sturdy rock.
Detox Wall has been the sight of some recent first ascents, and even Carville's guide to the area isn't quite up to date (nor does he have the name right... look for Christmas Tree Valley in his book). Check out Sports Ltd. (1032 Emerald Bay rd. In the South Y Center South Lake Tahoe) to ask the climbing dudes about most up-to-date info.
Distillery Wall features long vertical single pitch climbs on weathered granite. Most of the routes are sport in the 5.11 range though a handful of trad routes exist as well. A twenty bolt ~120' climb named Yards of Ale is definitely worth doing if you've made the hike up here.
From the Bay Area, take 80 East to Business 80 in Sacramento, then hop on 50 east. Follow this over Echo Pass, then take a right on highway 89 (to Kirkwood).From Lake Tahoe, take 50 west and go left on 89 about 3 miles past the town of Meyers.
Once on 89, you've entered Christmas Valley. Parking for Hidetaka's Hideout is .9 miles up the road, and Luther Rock is a few miles further.
The pull-out for Luther Rock (the Distillery and Detox wall) is on the right side of the road .89 miles past Portal Rd.Luther Rock is visible from the pull-out where you should park. Its a long way above the road facing Echo Pass.
This is the highest route that you can reach on the base at The Distillery Wall without moving up the 3rd class hillside. Look for three closely placed bolts on a vertical face that tops out onto a small ramp that starts at ground level on the right side of a dirt patch in the middle of The Distillery Wall. Climb the first 3 bolts, being really careful with the second bolt if you're not over 6', or move past to the jug before clipping. Top out on the ramp, move up through some vertical climbi...[more]Browse More Classics in CA
By Aron Quiter Administrator From: Oakland, CA Oct 11, 2007
Rented a house in Christmas Valley last winter and got to spend some time wandering around, but not doing much climbing.
There's a boulder on Blitzen, which is the road that is one block west of highway 89 about 1/4 mile south of 50, which (I think) is called The Blitzen Boulder. I was told of 100+ problems, but I only think there are about 15 on a 12' boulder. Maybe the boulder, which is located in between 3 houses between colusa and shakori (and probably on private property), isn't the blitzen Boulder.
I'd ask one of the neighbors before climbing to respect their privacy, and probably one of the two that doesn't have the huge growling rottweiler fenced up in their yard.
There's also additional bolted and TRAD climbing in the cliffs directly east of 89 if you head straight up hill from 89 and Elf ave. It's a 15 minute steep walk to the first bolts, and there are many other cliffs up above the first band.