North American Ski Training and Climbing School invites climbers to get out on the granite |

North American Ski Training and Climbing School invites climbers to get out on the granite

NASTC reminds locals why fall is the best time to climb.
Courtesy of Chris Bartkowski |

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The North American Ski Training Center and Rock Climbing School was founded in 1994 as a unique performance ski school offering multi-day, full immersion and adventure ski training clinics for intermediate through expert skiers taught by members of the PSIA National Demonstration Team and AMGA certified guides.

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Often referred to as the “secret season,” fall in North Lake Tahoe is all about the locals and according to Jenny Fellows, director of the North American Ski Training and Climbing (NASTC) School; fall is all about rock climbing.

“Unlike summer, when Donner Pass is pretty impacted by crowds, there’s almost no one up there now and you can have the pick of the bunch for where you want to climb,” Fellows said.

“The leaves are changing, the pass is empty and the granite warms up nicely with the higher temperatures in mid-afternoon. It’s just beautiful,” she added.

NASTC operates their climbing programming until it’s simply too cold to get out and climb. They offer one-on-one, as well as small and large group instruction and provide all of the necessary equipment climbers will need for a day on the granite.

“It’s funny because I do have a ski camp Dec. 3-4; but we basically climb until it snows,” Fellows laughed.

She suggests guests dress in a layering system, including a polypro layer and maybe a windbreaker, but to be prepared to strip down for the hot afternoon temps.

NASTC climbing guide Pete Fasoldt explained why fall is such a great time to get in your last climbing lines.

“With the fall comes cooler temperatures and lower humidity levels. The combination promotes more friction while climbing, say when compared to the warmer temps experienced in the summer. Many top tier climbers patiently wait out the hot summer season by training for prime sending temps of the fall,” he said.

Fasoldt added that beginner climbers can also find value in the fall season for learning to climb outdoors.

“Fall is a great time for climbers of all ability levels to get out and play, especially those novice to the sport. With kids back in school the crags are often times less busy than in the summer, which makes for a more peaceful introduction and experience,” he said.

Additionally, crags in and around the Sierra Nevada often seep with water through the spring and into the summer, which makes autumn more of a preferred climbing season.

Whether a newbie or a seasoned pro, be sure to get fall climbing in with the pros at NASTC before it’s too cold.

“Fall is perhaps the best time for a climbing-based road trip. From the Gunks in New York to Donner Summit in California, most crags throughout the U.S. are in the perfect condition. And it being school season many areas tend to be less crowded. As such, it’s a great time for rock climbers to go and experience areas new to them,” Fasoldt said.

After they hang up the rock climbing ropes, NASTC turns their attention back to adventure skiing camps in Tahoe and around the world.

Cassandra Walker is a features and entertainment reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at, 530-550-2654 or @snow1cass.

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