This is an area developed by Todd Offenbacher, which you wouldn't be able to find and there is no topo. But there will be eventually, and he is super friendly. He built this sportish climbing area for everyone to enjoy. Other people are using it at this point, and he is not the first one to set foot in this area of course, but Todd engineered a great wall with at least 10 climbs on it from 5.8 - 5.11. All are near full rope length with new bolts and some shared rap stations. A few climbs have more than one pitch.
I've been there twice now and just went with Todd last week. The trail isn't really that noticeable, and there is some 3rd and 4th class down climbing above a cliff to get there. You never get a view of the crag either, you walk down to the bottom of the climbs to start. It's a fun 20-30 minute trek with beautiful views however. Oh, and you need a real 4x4 and some confidence to drive to the trailhead.
Where is the Bear River Resevoir? It's in the middle of nowhere really. West of Kirkwood near Calveras Dome, but not down in the low elevation like that. We pulled off the paved road at the resevoir and drove up a steep 4x4 road for maybe 1/2 mile.
Todd has put up a lot of climbs in the tahoe area and elsewhere in the world. Super high-on-life guy and fun to be around. Also a great climber. Check out his annual Lake Tahoe Adventure Film Fest on Dec 10th at Mont Bleu in South Tahoe. A huge event with 1000 people, amazing entertainment, and the best action adventure short videos of the year. I'm going for sure.
We actually were aiming for a Cal Dome all-day climb, but rain the previous day really killed that idea for us. So we choose this nearby area for it's south aspect. Even though it was sunny, a few routes remained wet. The approach trail, which is really a slabby descent at times, was quite sketchy with water on it. Todd just walked through it like it was a trail, but I had to concentrate for real.
I took this shot from across the valley that drains Bear River Resevoir on it's west side. On this day (2 years ago), we did a multi-pitch 5.8 slab route Todd put up called Gone Fishin'. He took me there to help him climb with Fred Becky 2 years ago. Since Fred can't hear well enough to communicate, we needed 3 people on the rope. Todd says he finally got a hearing aid now though. It was awesome to hang out with Todd and Fred for the day, but we didn't talk about much. More on that below with a video! It was great to watch fred climb. He's like a slow tractor, easily finding traction and maintaining a consistent pace. Video coming tomorrow, loading to youtube.
Anyway, my thick black line shows approximately how you hike down to the start of the climbs. The thin black line shows a trad crack/face 5.9 route of about 200' that I got to lead a few days ago. Really fun perfect granite, although a little scary due to water running in the crack. There are many climbs to the left and right of this one, mostly face climbing with bolts. Bring a few small to medium sized cams and nuts which you'll need in places. He spaced out the bolts just under what I'd call "runout" length where the climbing is 5.9 or easier, and tightly near the crux on the hardest climb there at 5.11a. Perfect really for confident leaders and safe due to the steep ledge-less character of this wall.
yes, that's Fred Becky at age 86 rapping down from the top of Gone Fishin, across the drainage. You rap down and climb back up. Fred only did one pitch with us, and Todd and I went down about 5 pitches on this day. This climb doesn't have many bolts and there is no topo, or a real way to even make a topo. I could point out where it is, but not where bolts are. It's pretty much all slab with no cracks.
FRED BECKY AGREED TO DO A NORTH TAHOE SLIDE SHOW FOR US DEC 9TH! DETAILS COMING SOON. DON'T MISS IT. Fred has travelled the world, doing more first ascents than any other climber in history, and is still at it at in his late 80's.
Jumping around between the 3 days I've climbed in this area. This shot is from last week at the sport climbing wall looking back to the north facing side of the drainage, where you just saw Fred rapping down from the top of the shaded area on the left. I think he calls the south facing wall with all the bolted climbs Shangra La, but don't quote me on that detail. Oh, and your not going down to the water easily without being a climber, nor is there a trail. It's a wild, incredible place really with no people.
Here Todd comes up to me as we leave the Shangra La wall on our last climb of the day last week. This was a 5.9 bolted climb just to the left of the 5.9 trad crack route. It had a heady roof to step over that I just barely did without falling with gear below my feet. Exciting!
Yes, I'm on the rope with Fred Becky tied in behind him. Cool eh? He didn't need my help though climbing this 5.8 smooth friction slab. 86 years old I think (2 years ago)