Starter Crag (5.4-5.10c)

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 36.27600°N / 115.591°W
Activities Activities: Sport Climbing
Additional Information Elevation: 7200 ft / 2195 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Not actually on Mount Charleston but in the Mount Charleston Recreation Area, Starter Crag is a roadside location with a collection of easy and moderate single-pitch sport routes on sharp limestone.

As the name suggests, the crag is good for newer climbers, especially newer leaders, because grades start at 5.4 and bolts are pretty closely spaced (11 clips on some routes). The longest routes are about 65' and the shortest half that. Expect rings or chains for anchors.

Despite the welcoming grades and a short approach, this crag does not seem to get a great deal of traffic, perhaps because it is not that close to where the bulk of Charleston's climbing takes place.

And with an altitude of over 7000', Starter Crag, which faces east, is an excellent destination on summer afternoons after 3:00 or so, when one can find shade and the 80s when temperatures down in Vegas are well over 100.

Starter Crag
Starter Crag

Getting There

From U.S. 95, drive up Kyle Canyon. Shortly after going through a traffic circle and passing the visitor center, turn right onto 158 for Lee Canyon. The road climbs steeply, and after around a mile, there is a pullout on the right. From there, walk about a quarter-mile up the road to reach the crag, which is on the left. Alternatively, drive about the same distance past the crag and park at another pullout, from which it is a downhill walk to the crag.
Starter Crag
Starter Crag

The best parking place, though, is a tiny pullout (room for just one car) just uphill from the crag and on the crag side of the road. Parking here reduces the approach to just a couple of minutes. On three occasions, I have parked there and rangers have gone by without making an issue of it; just make sure you are completely off the road. The photo below shows this spot.

The Sweet Parking Spot
The Sweet Parking Spot

A short, steep, and slippery trail leads up to the crag. The footing is worst closer to the road. Be very careful about sending rocks careening down onto the road.


From left to right as you face the crag:

  • Relax and Stem, 5.8-- Very fun, follows a crack/flake system. Above the anchors is at least one more bolt; I do not know if that is a short second pitch or if it is part of Flake It Till You Make It.
  • Flake It Till You Make It, 5.10c-- Starts up Relax and Stem and then splits off about halfway up that route.
  • Group Effort, 5.10
  • Spiny Norman, 5.10c
  • First of the Year, 5.10b/c
  • Baby Steps, 5.9-- A couple stout moves for the grade on this but a lot of fun.
  • Outrageous, 5.6
  • Egregious, 5.8-- Not sure how this is 5.8. Feels tougher, and if you check out comments and ticks for the MP page for this route, you'll see I'm not alone in saying that.
  • Ridiculous, 5.4

Red Tape


When to Climb

Spring through fall.


Forest Service campgrounds are nearby; some dispersed camping is available along the drive in.

External Links

Mountain Project page



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.

Charleston PeakMountains & Rocks