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Exploring Outdoor Rock Climbing in Tahoe

guided rock climbing in Lake Tahoe with professional mountain guides
guided multi-pitch rock climbing at Lovers Leap in Lake Tahoe with professional mountain guides
guided multi-pitch rock climbing at Lovers Leap in Lake Tahoe with professional mountain guides

Jumping into your first outdoor rock climbing adventure can feel like a big step, whether you’re graduating from indoor gym settings or it’s your first time tying in anywhere. Here’s a detailed guide to prime spots tailored for novice climbers, each offering unique experiences and challenges.

Donner Summit: Intro Trad Climbing

Just 20 minutes west of Truckee, Donner Summit serves as an ideal playground for beginners. The School Rock area stands out with its easily accessible routes, making it perfect for those taking their initial steps into outdoor climbing on walls like the Nursery Slab and Kindergarten just above. The hardest route on the slab is 5.4, and it’s a great place to practice movement, gear management, and technical ropework without burly grades. With Donner Lake just below, climbers can enjoy breathtaking views while tackling manageable climbs that provide an excellent introduction to the sport.

Big Chief: Playful Sport Climbing

Situated above Hwy 89, Big Chief offers solid volcanic rock with mostly positive holds and lots of routes, offering a tranquil environment for novice climbers. The walls here feature a variety of beginner-friendly climbs, though it may not be ideal for those who’ve just learned how to lead, but those who feel comfortable in the gym will love its gentle inclines to solid holds. Big Chief provides an inviting atmosphere for honing basic climbing skills.

Lover’s Leap: A Multipitch Playground

Located 90 minutes southwest from North Lake Tahoe, Lover’s Leap is revered for its moderate multi-pitch routes, making it an enticing destination for beginners seeking a bit more challenge. Megaclassic routes like Corrugation Corner (5.7) offer easygoing ascents with rewarding views of the surrounding wilderness. Climbing at the Leap is a great way to get comfortable placing gear, building anchors, and practicing multipitch systems in a manageable environment.

90 Foot Wall: Popular for a Reason

A short hike from the Emerald Bay parking lot, 90 Foot Wall is a highly popular crag, and for good reason. It’s easily accessible, ideal for setting up top ropes, and offers engaging face and crack climbing for beginners and advanced climbers alike. The most difficult part of your day is likely to be trying to beat the traffic, so be sure to arrive early to secure a spot.

Eagle Lake Cliff: A Step Up

Situated near Emerald Bay a ways up the trail from 90 Foot Wall, Eagle Lake Cliff offers a diverse range of routes catering to beginner and intermediate crack climbers. The peaceful ambiance of the area far across the lake enhances the climbing experience, allowing climbers to focus on honing their skills in a quiet setting.


Rock Climbing Courses

Private Rock Climbing:

Climb the world-class rock around Lake Tahoe, CA. This private day of climbing is a perfect way to get outside and accomplish your rock climbing goals. A private full day of rock climbing with Alpenglow allows you to customize your day with one of our AMGA-certified rock guides.

Intro to Rock Climbing

Learn the basics of rock climbing movement, belaying, and the importance of good communication while enjoying perfect weather and panoramic views on Donner Summit.

Learn to Lead Climb:

Learning to safely lead is a milestone as a climber, and doing so with the instruction of a professional guide will allow you to learn the correct way the first time. This one-day Lead Climbing course provides the perfect foundation to begin leading pitches anywhere in the world.

Intro to Multi-Pitch Climbing:

This skills day will take you beyond the limitations of a top rope and onto the faces of bigger crags and mountains. With the movement and technical skills you have learned in introductory classes or prior experiences, we will leave the ground far behind and show you how the multi-pitch system works.

Rock Anchoring and Gear Placement:

Become familiar with equalization principles and protection used in rock climbing. Learn how to safely set up your own top-rope systems, perform a top-belay, create a master point, how to build trad anchors and properly utilize natural anchors, and how to place trad gear while climbing. This Lake Tahoe rock climbing course is intended to leave you with the skills necessary to become more self-sufficient on the rock.

Self Rescue for Rock Climbers:

Our certified rock guides developed this rock climbing safety course to help you know what to do in case of an emergency at the crag. You’re experienced, but what do you do when your leader falls and can’t get down on their own? This course includes technical systems review, including belaying off the anchor, belay escapes, and rope ascending/descending to ensure that you can get down when things go awry.

Call our office or book online! Remember that while it is possible to acquire rock climbing skills on your own or with experienced friends, hiring a certified is always the safest and most productive option.

Rock Climbing Courses and Adventures

Rock Anchoring & Gear Placement

Introductory Next Available
June 1
1 full day (8 hours) Donner Summit
Kids summer camp in Lake Tahoe

Family Half-Day Rock Climbing

Introductory Next Available
May 1 – November 15
4-hours Lake Tahoe, CA
Rock climbing guide teaching a rock climbing course at Donner Summit in Lake Tahoe.

Intro to Outdoor Rock Climbing

Introductory Next Available
Every Saturday June – October. Contact us for private dates!
Full Day / 8 Hours Lake Tahoe, CA
A group of kids hanging on the Tahoe Via Ferrata during a Kids Rock Climbing Camp in Lake Tahoe.

Kids Rock Climbing Camp

Introductory Next Available
June 24 – 28, 2024
5 days, 8 hours a day Lake Tahoe, CA

Lovers Leap Rock Climbing

Intermediate Next Available
May 01 – Nov 15
Full-Day South Lake Tahoe, CA
guided multi-pitch rock climbing at Lovers Leap in Lake Tahoe with professional mountain guides

Private Full-Day of Rock Climbing

Introductory Next Available
Summer ’24
Full Day / 8 Hours Donner Summit, CA
guided multi-pitch rock climbing at Lovers Leap in Lake Tahoe with professional mountain guides

Private Half-Day of Rock Climbing

Introductory Next Available
May 01 – Nov 15
Half Day / 4 Hours Donner Summit, CA
Alpenglow Expeditions guide training on the Tahoe Via Ferrata

Self Rescue For Rock Climbers

Intermediate Next Available
June 8
1 full day (8 hours) North Lake Tahoe, CA
Mountain guide belays from ledge during a Private Half Day of Rock Climbing with Alpenglow Expeditions

Intro to Multi-Pitch Climbing

Intermediate Full Day / 8 Hours Lake Tahoe, CA
Tying a figure 8 knot to climbing harness during an intro to rock climbing course in lake tahoe.

Learn to Lead Climb In Tahoe

Introductory Next Available
June 8
Full Day, 8 Hours Lake Tahoe, CA