In an attempt to break out from the daily routine of skiing, this morning I headed down to 90 Foot Wall to tie-in and rock climb for the first time this season. The rock and anchors are totally free from snow (probably have been for a while), and with the warming local temps it was a great morning to get out and climb for a while on some solid Sierra granite.

90 Foot Wall, and Emerald Bay in general, encompass perhaps the most used portion of Tahoe for recreationists around the Lake. Here’s a shot I took of someone lifting off in a hot air balloon before the hike into the wall.

Starting at the Eagle Falls Trailhead the hike into 90 Foot Wall is quick and beautiful. Once you peel off the main trail and crest to the top of a vantage point the view of Emerald Bay reminds you why there’s a constant stream of visitors in this section of Tahoe year round.

You hike right underneath the Emerald Chute, which is definitely showing the change of season with just the top portion of the chute holding any snow.


For those unacquainted with 90 Foot Wall, saying it’s usually busy is a major understatement. More often than not you’ll be sharing the many routes that line the granite face with a bunch of new climbers, families, dogs, and maybe even a few regular climbers to round things out. Friendly people commonly share their setups so you can quickly switch up your climbing route, but if you time your visit wisely you can easily have the wall to yourself  like Jeff and I did early this morning.

Part of the allure of 90 Foot Wall is there’s a good diversity of solid granite routes, it’s an easy hike in, and the setup is even easier. Here’s a shot of a guy setting up his first climb of the day as we were getting ready to head out.

To set up a climb you basically hike to the far western end of the wall, follow the trail up, and set up a top-rope (TR) on one of the many anchors easily found at the lip of the cliff. There’s several crack systems that take gear, but most users take the TR approach. Here’s a shot of a typical anchor on the top of 90 Foot Wall.

It was a great first session of the season, but I can’t believe it took me till June 15th to rope up and climb for the first time this year. Most real climbers have been out seeking the many epic climbing cliffs, crags, and boulders strewn about the Tahoe area for weeks. I know people been climbing elsewhere for a bit too since Daryn put up some sweet posts on the Unofficial Snowbird site several weeks ago. Still, better late than never, even if we were TR’ing and I felt like I was flailing like I’ve never climbed for most of the morning. Here’s a shot of Jeff tying in,

our regular go-to 5.8 warm up crack (takes great gear),

and Jeff moving through the crux of a 5.10A like he’s already been at it for months (it was his first day on rock since last fall).

With Eagle Falls raging, miles of beautiful local trails, and great climbing available Emerald Bay is fully going off right now. Some mountain biking trails are melting out, there’s still a ton of snow to shred, but if you’re looking for a sunny spot to climb or a pretty place to gape for a few hours 90 Foot Wall and Emerald Bay have got you covered for now.

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