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Happy New Year Friends!

First we would like to thank everyone with their calls, emails, gifts, and support during the scary time of the Caldor fire.  Here in Strawberry, we had a mandatory evacuation that lasted 32 days.  With the hard work of the first responders our little town was spared.  Unfortunately some of our friends further up the canyon weren’t so lucky.  After the fire passed Strawberry, the winds increased and over two hundred homes and cabins were lost around Echo Summit.  The Caldor fire then continued on towards Lake Tahoe.  Crews again were able to save all the structures in Tahoe.

 

Lover’s Leap Conditions

Lover’s Leap with the Caldor Fire Approaching. Photo Brad Leavers

Reports that we have received about Lover’s Leap are that the fire was on top of the Pinnacles and Buttress area.  The fire then split.  In one direction it continued towards the summit of the Leap and the other crawled down Lover’s Chute, just on the west side of Dear John Buttress.  Reaching the Pony Express trail, just east of the Boulders, it raged up the canyon and burned all the vegetation and most of the trees.   Somehow the trees next to the Lower Buttress and Dear John went untouched and looks the same.  Main ledge also only saw a little burning and the rock is fine!  At the East Wall, all the bushes have been burned.  The rock here also seems to be undamaged with the low intensity heat of only bushes burning.  The fire also burned towards the Hogsback, somehow stopping just before the ridge.  Most of the old and beautiful Sierra Junipers on the ridge of Hogsback survived!  The North side of Hogsback went untouched and still looks the same.  Probably the most damaged area is the descent trail coming off the side of the East Wall.  Unfortunately some of our favorite trees were destroyed.  If you have climbed with us, I’m sure we have pointed these trees out to you.

Black Oaks already growing back

Ferns Growing out of the Ashes

 
Moving Forward
 

A burned Leap.

Currently the El Dorado National Forest has all areas closed that were in the Caldor Fire perimeter.  This includes Lover’s Leap and the Phantom Spires.  This order is set to Expire in March 2022 and you can read the order here.
Once Lover’s Leap Guides are allowed back in we will be working hard with the Access Fund, Crags, Tahoe Climbing Coalition and You to reestablish trails.  We believe with a focused plan, we can help make Lover’s Leap even better.
Winter Climbing!

Sunny Sugarloaf as seen from Kyburz

 
We are now running trips just down the hill from Lover’s Leap at Sugarloaf.  Sugarloaf is located in the small town of Kyburz and at an elevation around 4,000 feet.  With good southern exposure, this area is climbable throughout the winter.  If you have never climbed Sugarloaf, you should!  It offers high quality granite which is similar to the Lower Merced Canyon of Yosemite.  Classic crack climbs up to 400 feet long, face climbing on knobs and edges, and old school chimney routes describe the climbing at the “Loaf”. Scheister, 5.7 4 pitches, Harding’s Chimney 5.8 5 pitches, Farley 5.9 3 pitches, Bolee Gold 10c 3 pitches, Pony Express 5.8 2 pitches, and Dominion are some of the classics we could be climbing together.

Carleen on the Classic route Dominion 10a!

Dave on Farley 5.9

 
We are also offering Learn to Lead classes at Sugarloaf.  With the variety of cracks found at Sugarloaf, this is a great place to get your Trad skills dialed in.  You will be ready to start leading by the time Spring comes around!

Chris belaying Rebecca up his first Trad lead at Sugarloaf!

Sugarloaf Trip reports
Here’s a couple of short reads with more information and pictures of winter climbing at Sugarloaf.

Farley January 16 2022!

Hope to share a rope with you soon!
Petch

Petch has been climbing since 1989 and has passion teaching and guiding as much as he does for climbing. At the end of an eight month climbing trip that took him and his partner from Joshua Tree in Southern California to Devils Tower in the eastern part of Wyoming, and everything in between, the final stop turned out to be Lover’s Leap. The right turn towards Lover’s Leap landed Petch in the campground in 1993. Climbing for eight months and a bank account of zero, he quickly found a job at the Strawberry Lodge. Falling in love with Lover’s Leap and Strawberry he found making a home easy. A guiding job opened in 1996 with teaching youth backpacking and rock climbing. The exciting future of guiding as a full time profession led to the opening of Lover’s Leap Guides in 2003. With his enthusiasm and knowledge of Lover’s Leap, Lover’s Leap Guides has become the most popular and busiest service to climb at Lover’s Leap. He has spent countless hours working with the Access Fund, CRAGS, and the Forest Service to maintain trails, protect nesting raptors, and community outreach. Climbing most of the routes at Lover’s Leap, he has also added numerous routes of his own. From 5.5 to 5.12D, some of his first ascents have become modern day classics. A good chance you will probably climb one of his routes when you climb with Lover’s Leap Guides. Petch is certified by the AMGA as a Rock Instructor and holds his certification as a Wilderness First Responder and CPR.