Bouldering Lake Tahoe: North/West Edition

Hiking for the Goods

Dave Hatchett may be best known as one of the godfathers of modern day snowboarding. With his brother Mike, the two helped grow Standard Films to be at the forefront of progressive snowboarding for the past 20+ years. While Dave still rides his passion has shifted, namely to the sport of bouldering. As a rock climber, Dave has put up hundreds of roped rock climbing routes throughout the state of California. But if you ask him what he’s been most stoked on lately, he’ll quickly tell you bouldering in the greater Lake Tahoe area.

Dave’s recently published guidebook-Bouldering Lake Tahoe: North/West Shore Editionis a testament to his and his amazing crews stoke. I took the photos that accompany this piece climbing with Dave and some of his crew members in the fall of 2011 and 2012. The  exact locations are diverse, but all were shot in the amazing Sugar Pine area, which is at the core of Dave’s new publication.

Jimmy Sending

Bouldering is a minimalist sport when compared to modern day rock climbing. Forget the rope and copious amounts of gear. Instead, get yourself a pair of shoes, some chalk with a bag, and if you’re smart a pad for protection. That’s all you really need. Arm yourself with a guidebook like Dave’s and you’re good-to-go. Add in a few friends and your day’s even better.

While this particular book is grounded in detailing the Donner Summit area down to D.L. Bliss State Park on Tahoe’s famed West Shore, the sheer amount of information contained in the 540 pages is astounding. Over 3,000 problems are listed spread out over 25 unique places. Although finding some of these gems are still not “easy”, Dave meticulously undertook great effort to track GPS coordinates for boulder locations, as well provide sharp detail for trailhead information and driving directions. It’s all in there.


Dave’s crew is given credit for their work in the beginning of the book, and I must say that these folks throw down! If you head out and catch a crew sending problem after problem, feeding off of high energy in a positive manner they’re probably some of the crew that helped establish a bunch of the problems listed in the book. The way Dave and his crew climbs is commendable. They’re always scoping for new potential problems, scrubbing faces and holds, being as light on the land as possible.

Getting to explore and boulder with Dave and crew was a treat. They all climb hard, but are not only open to welcoming others of lesser ability, they’re equally stoked to share their work and pursuits with others. Keeping these places-especially Sugar Pine- a secret was not something the greater community wanted, so Dave pursued the book intensely, and the end result is a beautifully crafted guide that’ll get you more than stoked to explore Tahoe’s North and West Shores.

DH Sending

Although the collective of resources available in the book-from where to eat and camp, to the high quality photos-are of great worth, it’s the information shared on Sugar Pine State Park that’s of the greatest interest to locals and international boulderers alike. The area is huge, boasts high quality differing forms of granite, and is the perfect place for the boulderer with an adventerous spirit. Some long approaches are involved and some are easier to get to with a mountain bike or 4wd vehicle. However, just being in the place where these boulders sit is breathtaking, never mind that you’re there to climb.

DH warmup

“I couldn’t believe the amount of insane boulders we found at Sugar Pine,” Dave seen climbing in the above two photos recently shared. “We’ve spent the last four years developing one after the other of totally rad problems out there. I’m really excited to finally share all our work with other climbers.”

You can check out a preview of the book and Dave’s plans for future guidebooks here. Buy the book online at CleanSnipe and get 3% cash back.