Black Wall, acquired by the Truckee Donner Land Trust in 2015 with incredible support from the climbing community, is the largest rock formation on Donner Summit.
The large east-facing wall is the first rock formation you encounter on the right as you drive up Old Highway 40 from Donner Lake. Totalling 11.9 acres, this acquisition includes some of the most dramatic terrain in the region. The property includes climbing areas including Black Wall, Peanut Gallery and Road Cut, while also giving access to Space Wall, Shark Wall and Grouse Slabs. Many of these climbing routes were established more than 50 years ago, serving climbers from beginner to expert.
Black Wall also offers spectacular views of Donner Lake, Truckee and surrounding granite formations on Donner Summit, making it a great destination for hikers as well. Building off user trails established by climbers, the Truckee Donner Land Trust, working with the Access Fund Conservation Team West, the American Conservation Experience and other volunteers, has finalized a u-shaped trail that starts on Old Highway 40, runs along the foot of the wall, then returns to the road. Significant rockwork shored up the trail to reduce erosion in the face of winter weather and increasing numbers of visitors.
With climbing's booming popularity as a sport, building sustainable trails to mimimize the impact of access is more important now than ever. The new trails are rugged, retaining an alpine feel.
Photo: Sam Okamoto