The summer months in Las Vegas can be brutal, with temperatures soaring well above 100 degrees. While Red Rock Canyon becomes a virtual oven, there are some excellent higher altitude crags just 30 minutes north of Las Vegas in the Mt. Charleston area of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. The alpine limestone of Mt. Charleston makes for an interesting, and far cooler, option for summer climbing.
The guidebook for this area is a bit on the old side, but Mountain Project has ample beta on all the crags listed below.
As the newest crag on our summer sends list, Starter Crag is also one of the most beginner-friendly areas at Mt. Charleston. Only a few yards from the road, it’s also one of the easiest and fastest to get to. Located just off Hwy 158 (Deer Creek Rd.), which connects Kyle Canyon and Lee Canyon, parking is easily available at turnouts just before and after the crag. With routes from 5.4 to 5.10, there are ample opportunities for warm-ups and first-time leads. Use caution when bringing children and dogs, as this crag is extremely close to the road and traffic is not known for dilly-dallying in this area.
Approach Time: Less than 5 min.
This area, encompassing two impressive walls, is along the wash to the popular Mary Jane Falls area in Kyle Canyon. With routes from 5.8 – 5.12, there is something for virtually everyone in this area. The approach is relaxed, and the location is friendly to both kids and dogs. (Please be respectful of others when deciding to bring either to the crag. Always aim to minimize your impact.)
Approach Time: 20 minutes
Morning– Mid Afternoon Shade
This little gem of a wall is lesser known to most local climbers but offers a variety of fun climbs from 5.7 - 5.10. Located in the Mary Jane Falls area, the approach to this wall is on the longer side, providing an opportunity for a little cardio in your day. Due to its location, rock fall is a possible hazard so bring a helmet.
Approach Time: 35-45 minutes
One of the most iconic spots on Mt. Charleston, this area is popular with both climbers and hikers. Located a few miles north of the Starter Crag along Hwy 158 (Deer Creek Rd), Robber’s Roost is easy to find with a well-marked parking area and trailhead. And while the hike is short, it’s also steep, so be prepared for a bit of a huff. This area is less friendly to beginner climbers, with routes ranging mostly from 5.11 – 5.14.
Approach Time: 5-10 minutes
The main wall is shady in the afternoon; the minor wall is shady all day
Easily the most well-known area for climbing at Mt. Charleston, the Hood has long been loved for it’s high concentration of high-quality hard sport routes. Located in Trail Canyon, the Hood encompasses several caves of varying sizes, and the sections in between, with routes from 5.6 – 5.14. While this area is not known for its easy to moderate routes, they do exist. And the beautiful hike and gorgeous rock formations make for a lovely day regardless of the climbing. And if you’re looking for hard sport routes in the summer, this is the place to be. The approach is simple, with a moderate incline.
Approach: 20-25 minutes
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