Climbers found as sign is posted at Cave Rock |

Climbers found as sign is posted at Cave Rock

Gregory Crofton

By posting a sign in the area, the U.S. Forest Service on Monday ordered Cave Rock closed to climbers to protect historical and cultural resources, which include those of the Washoe Indians, a Native American tribe that considers the site sacred.

There are no immediate plans to remove rock climbing bolts embedded in the old volcano core, which straddles Highway 50 between Zephyr Cove and Glenbrook. The agency will wait to hire an expert to do the job right, said John Maher, heritage resource program manager for the Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.

A regional coordinator for The Access Fund – a rock climbing association that filed a lawsuit against the climbing ban – said he believed the organization still had time to appeal a federal district court judge’s decision last month to support the ban.

“The Access Fund may request a stay on the decision to close (the area),” said Paul Minault, regional coordinator for the climbing group. “The Access Fund’s real concern is removal of the bolts, not closure, at this point.”

The group’s policy director, Jason Keith, could not be reached for comment Monday.

Maher said he encountered two climbers at Cave Rock while out posting the sign. They were under the wrong impression, he said, that the area was to remain open pending The Access Fund’s decision on whether to appeal the judge’s ruling.

With the judge’s ruling, the forest order that closes highly technical climbing routes but still allows public access for things like hiking and picnicking is “immediately implementable,” Maher said.

– Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.