Tokopah Falls, Sequoia National Park

Tokopah Falls, Sequoia National Park

Page Type Page Type: Route
Additional Information Route Type: Ice Climbing
Seasons Season: Winter
Additional Information Time Required: Less than two hours
Additional Information Difficulty: WI1-5
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 1
Additional Information Grade: II
Sign the Climber's Log


Start from the Lodgepole campground in Sequoia National Park (elevation approx. 6700'). Cross the bridge over the Marble Fork of the Keawah River, and turn right onto the signed Tokopah Valley trail, following the creek upstream. Skis or snowshoes may be helpful.

At around 1 mile you will cross a series of wooden bridges, and catch your first glimpse of The Watchtower (note that this page also has some ice climbing info and pictures). Moonage Daydream (WI4, 6-7 pitches) can be seen in a north gully on the Watchtower from near here, if formed.

Continue up the creek to Tokopah Falls. At about 1.5 miles, elevation approx. 7200' you will see the cliffs which form the main climbing area. Cross the creek to access the cliffs, taking care to avoid thin snow bridges, as the water here can be deep.

Route Description

Routes range in difficulty from WI1-2 / bouldering on the right up to a WI4+/5 pillar on the left. Climbs may be walked off to the climber's right - this may also be used to access the top of the climbs for setting topropes.

Note that ice on the west slope of the Sierra Nevada can be inconsistent in quality, though this area has a reputation for forming up in late season. Be prepared for thin conditions, running water, and detached ice in places. Climb safe.

See also this route topo by Alois Smrz

Essential Gear

50m rope for leading, or two for toproping; screws and rock gear as needed. Anchors will be limited to trees and ice screws, though a pair of bolts can now be found on a large boulder to the climber's right of the pillar.

Route beta

The best bet is knowing someone local - park rangers and other employees have been known to climb here. Recent temperature trends are also charted on the Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park webcam site, located in the Giant Forest at 6400'.

Another alternative is to call the Wuksachi Lodge (just up the road from Lodgepole) at 1.559.565.4070 and ask about recent temperatures.

The National Weather Service also issues a forecast for the southern Sierra national parks here. The Sequoia National Park forecast for Lodgepole is probably worth a look for trip planning.

Avalanche Danger

Wet Slide AvalancheWet slide avalanche
The bowl surrounding the cliffs can be prone to avalanche. Definitely avoid the area if snow conditions are unstable.