Free Climb Mt. Hubris in Castle Crags State Park

Rate this Adventure Lake Tahoe Castle Dome Trailhead

Added by Chaz Shand

Venture off the beaten path to remote areas of the Castle Crags! 

Mt. Hubris is the huge granite spire that opposes Castle Dome at the end of the Crags Trail in Castle Crags State Park. While most people just climb Castle Dome and call it good, enthusiastic climbers may choose bag another peak before descending. The pinnacle on the left hand side of my first picture can be climbed via its south face known as the 'Cosmic Wall' however this post will focus on the pinnacle on the right, as no climbing gear is necessary.

After you've followed the Crags Trail from the main parking area up its roughly two and a half mile path to the base of Castle Dome, follow the cliff edge to the northwest, passing over the large granite slab with an overturned rock as shown in my fifth picture. On the other side of this slab, look for a use trail heading through the dense manzanita bushes from a small sandy spot near the edge of the cliff. Follow the trail to the base of the granite, then continue north as the brush and trees thin out.

As the route steepens and you have to climb with both hands, follow the ridge on the northeast face of the spire where you can see scattered trees growing, as seen in my second picture. Use the tree trunks and branches for grip as you make your way up to the top of the pinnacle, looking down on both the Cosmic Wall and Castle Dome. Now that you've climbed what looked to be one of the tallest pinnacles in sight, it is dwarfed by the structures that are now visible as you gaze further into the pluton.

The bridge-like structure in my third picture leads intrepid climbers further into the labyrinth of exposed granite, and the more flat area seen in my fourth picture is accessible to the west of your current position at the peak of Mt. Hubris. Much more exploring is to be done in these areas as visitors are few and far between, and this way is the deepest you can go into the granite pluton from the south. The descent is the reverse of the ascent, again using the thin trees that line the small northeastern ridge for grip. Navigate the use trail back through the manzanita maze and you're back on the main trail.

Pack List

  • Hubris - Of course you need hubris to climb the aptly named Mt. Hubris! There's no established route and the near vertical face can be intimidating for inexperienced climbers.
  • Good climbing shoes - You definitely need a pair of shoes with some flex as you'll be using your toes on the steepest part of the climb. Running shoes with good tread work fine.
  • Flexible work gloves - You'll be grabbing tree branches, rocks and dirt as you scramble up the face of Mt. Hubris so gloves are a good idea for grip and protection.
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Activities:

Hiking, Rock Climbing

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Spring, Summer

Distance:

3 Miles

Elev. Gain:

3000 Feet

Features:

Forest

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Added by Chaz Shand

Mailman based in the State of Jefferson!

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