The fraternity of West Coastice climbers rates the LakeTahoe area as a hidden gem offrozen waterfalls and icy cliffs.What may be an unimpressivetrickle of water over a precipice insummer can become an iceclimber's dream in winter. LakeTahoe native Mike Carville discussessome of Tahoe's mostpopular routes in his book "Climber'sGuide to Tahoe Rock," availableat most mountaineeringstores.
Lake Tahoe area
Cascade Falls: Located at the south end of Emerald Bay, the waterfall at the head of Cascade Lake is considered a good beginner's ice climb. The main falls are about 165 feet wide and 230 feet long. To get to the base of the falls, you must either rappel from the rim or climb 90 feet down on the right side of the falls.
Emerald Bay: Known for its reliable ice, Emerald Bay is one of the most popular ice-climbing spots at Tahoe. Since the highway is closed above the bay (as you come from the north on Highway 89), it's usually a short cross-country ski to the ice walls above the highway.
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Eagle Creek Canyon: This canyon, a popular summer hiking area above Emerald Bay, gives life to a "delicate curtain" of icicles called The Devil's Coat Tails. The north side of Maggie's Peak, toward the end of the canyon and above Eagle Lake, offers some of the most demanding ice climbing in the area.
Mono County (east of Yosemite)
June Lake: Offers three areas: Powerhouse Wall, Tatums and Horsetail Falls. The area gets more sun than other ice-climbing spots and the ice tends to disappear quickly with warming temperatures.
Lee Vining Canyon: This box canyon offers everything from frozen waterfalls near Tioga Road to the longer approaches and walls of ice 200 feet high. Some routes remain frozen all winter. A few of the routes require an hourlong approach.
- Robert Frohlich