Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 38.78983°N / 120.2417°W
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing, Toprope, Bouldering, Aid Climbing, Scrambling
Additional Information Elevation: 6000 ft / 1829 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Phantom Spires is a rock climbing area west of south Lake Tahoe consisting of granitic rock formations, or spires, among low scrub and old burned pines.

Various sport and trad routes have been established, mostly single-pitch, though some might be more convenient to do in two pitches. Some of the routes have walk-offs, but others require rappelling. Compared to Lovers Leap, it's less crowded, warmer and windier, with shorter routes.

I have included only a small sampling of the climbs available - a far better guide is South Lake Tahoe Climbing : SuperTopos, Chris McNamara, SuperTopo, 2004.

Here is a list of the various formations and the climbing that can be found on them : (as listed in the guide above)

NameClimbing Grades (YDS)
Upper Spire5.6 - 5.11d
Middle Spire5.5 - 5.11b
Lower Spire5.5R - 5.11d
Lizard HeadA3, 5.10c - 5.11d
Lost John5.8 - 5.12a
Shark's Tooth5.8 - 5.10a
Clam Rock5.10d - 5.12?
Twin Owls5.8 - 5.11a
Gorilla Rock5.6 - 5.8
Phantom Wall (right)5.7 - 5.12a

Getting There

From the west :

1. Drive 4.9 miles on SR50 from Kyburz and make a left onto Wrights Lake Road.

2. Follow this paved winding road uphill for about 2.2 miles, then take a left turn onto an unpaved logging road.

3. Continue for about a half mile to the parking area.

From the east : go 4.1 miles on SR50 from Strawberry / Lovers Leap to Wrights Lake Road and make a right, then follow the directions above.

Note: The unpaved access road may be a bit rough, with large rocks, ruts, and scraping brush. Supposedly, low-clearance vehicles may have problems during the winter or spring, but it's possible to park at pullouts on the road and walk the rest of the way in. I've made it in with an ordinary passenger car in dry weather.

Red Tape

No day-use fees or permits are required.

When To Climb

I've only climbed here in the fall so far, but winter and spring are supposed to also be nice, if there is a good stretch of weather. The recommendations I have read are that summer is too hot.

This area faces south, so it's warmer, but relatively unsheltered and so may be quite windy.


There are several pullouts along the unpaved access road, and dispersed camping in the parking area appears to be legal as well - contact the Eldorado National Forest in Placerville for current regulations for dispersed camping, if any (they may require a California Campfire Permit if any stoves or open fires are used). I don't know of any water or facilities, however a spring apparently crosses the road which dries up sometime during the summer.

Mountain Conditions

Consult the weather forecast for Kyburz, CA. Temps may be a few degrees warmer than south Lake Tahoe, being lower and south-facing.

External Links



Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.