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Rock Climbing Donner Summit

Donner Summit Climbing

Donner Summit climbing area, located just west of Truckee, is Tahoe's largest climbing selection, with more than 400 traditional, sport and bouldering routes.

The largest climbing area in the region is Donner Summit, located off old Highway 40 west of Truckee. With about 400 different routes and more being added all the time, this area has virtually endless possibilities for any climber. The area's 7,000-foot elevation makes for great, cooler climbing in the heat of summer, yet makes for some snowy approaches in spring. The season here typically lasts from May to November.

Donner Summit is located on old Highway 40 just west of Truckee, California. Drive west on Interstate 80 through Truckee. Take the first Donner Lake exit, turn left at the top of the exit and cross the freeway. Follow this road (Highway 40 / Donner Lake Road) west past Donner Lake and up the mountain.

As you drive up towards Donner Summit, the first climbing area you come to will be Black Wall, Donner's largest formation. This area is located less than 2 miles from the west end of Donner Lake.

A hundred yards past Black Wall you will come to Road Cut, with steep, well-featured faces, and then Peanut Gallery for clean slab climbing. A short hike above Peanut Gallery is Space Wall, which boasts some of Donner's best bolted face climbs.

Driving another half mile or so will place you below Green Phantom and the iconic Donner bridge. And another half mile will bring you to the parking area for the route-heavy Snow Shed Wall. Snow Shed's east face gets morning sun, and its north face has afternoon sun, so it's one of Donner's most popular crags. A couple hundred yards farther will take you to the Donner Summit Bridge. Just before the bridge is a large parking area which may be used for access to the Green Phantom area.

Just past the bridge are a series of parking areas below School Rock, a great spot for beginner and intermediate multi-pitch routes, as well as views back down at Donner Lake. The same parking areas for School Rock may also be used for access to Star Walls, Gem Wall, Greener Pastures, Grouse Slabs and Shark Wall. The Pacific Crest Trail passes just above the first rock slab (Nursery School) next to the road.

Donner Summit Climbing Essentials: Rock Climbing Lake Tahoe Guidebook and Bison climbing chalk

photo credit: supertopo.com

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