Black Wall protected

Black Wall
Climbing routes on Donner Summit offer stunning views of Donner Lake and the Sierra Crest.

The Truckee Donner Land Trust and the Access Fund announce the acquisition and protection of a significant set of climbing areas on Donner Summit. The victory is announced only eight months after going under contract and launching the Save Donner Climbing Forever fundraising campaign.

The acquisition protects the historic 400-foot Black Wall that stands guard on the eastern flanks of Donner Summit, as well as the Peanut Gallery and Road Cut climbing areas. The acquisition of this property also protects the access trails to the popular Space Wall and Stealth Wall.

“Now, residents, visitors, and climbers alike can celebrate knowing this scenic landmark and world-class climbing area are permanently protected,” says Perry Norris, the Land Trust’s executive director, in a press release.

Climbers have been scaling the walls on Donner Summit for 50 years. But in 2013, the private landowners expressed concerns about liability, putting access to the historic climbing area at risk. Local climbers, Access Fund and the Land Trust reached out to the landowners, and after nearly a year of negotiations, they agreed to sell the property.

Truckee Donner Land Trust will hold the 11.9-acre property, adding it via a boundary line adjustment to the neighboring 65 acres of land they already hold in fee. Access Fund will maintain a permanent conservation easement on the Black Wall property to back up the Land Trust’s long-term commitment and ensure climbing access in perpetuity.

With support from local climbers, the Land Trust and Access Fund will steward the area, work to minimize climber impacts, improve trails and trailheads, provide informative signage, and protect nesting peregrine falcons in the area. The Land Trust has further plans to connect a multi-use, non-motorized recreational trail from Donner Lake to the climbing wall and up to the summit area, attracting more visitors to support the local economy. | tdlandtrust.org

Black Wall
Black Wall stands as an impressive sentinel on Donner Summit. | Sam Okamoto Photography
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Katherine Hill
Katherine first moved to Tahoe in 1998 and has been in love with the Tahoe-Truckee region ever since. She has been in the journalism field for more than 25 years and has worked for daily and weekly newspapers and magazines, as well as online publications, as an award-winning writer and editor. In the fall of 2013, Katherine became only the third owner of the 33-year-old publication, and today serves as its Publisher and Editor In Chief. Life in Tahoe is an amazing place to live, and she enjoys hiking and water sports in the summer, and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and sledding with her nephew, Anikin.