Save Donner Summit

The Truckee Donner Land Trust and the Access Fund, a national climbing advocacy organization, have signed an agreement with a private landowner to purchase a significant climbing area on Donner Summit.

The 10-acre property features some of the most dramatic terrain in the Truckee-Tahoe region, with stunning vistas and world-class climbing on finely textured granite. The acquisition will protect the popular and historic Black Wall, Peanut Gallery, and Road Cut climbing areas, as well as the access trail to the popular Space and Stealth walls, all easily accessible from Old Highway 40.

“For years, residents and visitors to Truckee have enjoyed watching climbers ascend the formidable granite landmarks outside of Truckee’s town limits,” says Anne Chadwick, the Land Trust’s Board President. “What many don’t know is that this is a world-class climbing area.”

The climbing routes were established more than 50 years ago and range from deep chimneys and low-angle slabs for beginners, to overhanging test pieces for experts, and splitter cracks and sport routes for all skill levels.

"Next to Yosemite, Donner Summit was home to many of the best rock climbers of the 70s and 80s”, says Gary Allan, a Truckee resident and
long-time climber. “In fact, many national and world-class climbers still use Donner Summit as a training ground.”

The 10-acre property has been privately owned since the mid-1800s, but concerns about liability have led to the current owner’s need to sell the property. The Land Trust and the Access Fund are working with the landowners to protect this superb climbing resource and landmark forever. Truckee Donner Land Trust currently holds a Purchase and Sale Agreement to fundraise and acquire the property by December. Access Fund holds a lease agreement to address liability concerns raised by the private landowners and assist in stewardship.

An adjacent 65-acre parcel owned by the Land Trust will also provide access to Black Wall and adjacent crags as part of the Town of Truckee trail network and as a scenic viewshed from the roadway. The parcel has a creek that flows year-round typically and will be part of a multi-use non-motorized recreational trail from Donner Lake toward the climbing wall and continuing up to the summit area. The acquisition will attract more climbers and visitors to the area to spend money in the local community.

“Access Fund is excited to work alongside the Land Trust and local climbing community to protect this iconic and important climbing resource,” says Brady Robinson, Access Fund Executive Director. “This is a unique opportunity to pair our resources for the benefit of future generations.”

With support from the Access Fund and local climbers, the Land Trust will steward and provide public access to the property, minimize environmental and visual impacts from climbers, build new trails and trailheads, provide informative signage, and protect nesting peregrine falcons in the area.

The Land Trust and the Access Fund will work with the local climbing community to create a volunteer climber coalition that will help implement a recreation and stewardship management plan for the greater Donner Summit area to ensure best practices.

The Land Trust has currently raised $50,000 towards the total fundraising goal of $280,000 and is now calling on the community to donate by December 1, 2015 towards the acquisition, stewardship, and additional trailhead improvements on the 10-acre property and adjacent Land Trust land. Visit www.savedonnerclimbing.org to learn more and make a secure online donation.

Standing guard above Donner Lake lies the some of the highest concentration of the best traditional climbing in the country,” says Jim Zellers, a long-time climber of Donner Summit. “It’s the reason climbers have it on their obligatory road trip stop, the reason many move here, and the reason I will never leave.”