Indian Springs Lake Tahoe
Indian Springs is a great beginner’s crag. Located less than a mile off Highway 80 between Auburn and Truckee and offering a good selection of easy leads and top rope opportunities, it makes for a great day or two of steep slab climbing. The approach can be a little confusing as the trail isn’t clear in some places but well placed cairns (stacks of stones) are typically there to guide you up the rocky hillside. Like Big Chief Indian Springs makes a great day or weekend trip from the Bay Area or Sacramento.
On the far left of Middle Tier is Captain Cheese Dog 5.9 which is a short but sweet little slab climb. A solid 5.9 Hot Dog has a small run-out between the second and third bolt, but can also be easily top roped. For some extra fun try top roping the crack directly to the right of Captain Cheese Dog.
Moving right along the crag are Indian Springs, RP 4 Me, and Sundaze. All are fun 5.9s. The anchors through Sundaze are easy to reach from the top, but the technical slabs make great practice for aspiring leaders as well.
Moving right are Zephyr and Arrow Head the two 10c/d climbs on the wall. These are an extension of the other climbs just with smaller feet and hands and Zephyr is a lot of fun. The anchor on this climb is also reachable from the top but top rope placement can be a little sketchy so be careful!
When to go:
Indian Springs is lower in elevation than Big Chief making it warmer in the summer and more moderate in the shoulder seasons. With the right gear you can have a good time here May-October.
How to get there:
Indian Springs is extremely easy to reach. From Highway 80 take exit 164 on Eagle Lakes Road. Turn north on Eagle Lakes road and go about a mile to a large turnout with space for a few cars. You should see a whole mess of slabs on your right. Below is a photo of the parking.
Approach: The trail from the car is less than a quarter mile and winds its way up the rocky hillside. Keep your eye out for cairns when you lose it, they’ll keep you on track. As you get further up the hillside the trail becomes clearer.
Download the GPS Track here. The parking lot and lower tier are marked with waypoints.
Mike Carville’s Rock Climbing Lake Tahoe, published in 1999 is the most current book on the area. You can get it at you local climbing shop or online here.
Have you been to Indian Springs? Any beta to share? Questions about the area? Post it in the Comments!