Over the course of the past several summers I have devoted considerable resources to exploring Mt. Lola and the surrounding area. The spot, which is north of Truckee, has become one of my favorite places to find late season swatches of snow. While I have my “sure thing” goto spot (Mt. Lola proper), I’ve spent a fair amount of time poking around the other peaks and valleys nearby, and have been rewarded with some pretty decent additional patch skiing options as a result.
Over Memorial Day weekend I hit up several such options in the form of some chutes located on FSR 86 (aka Meadow Lake Road). While I was enjoying these caches of late spring snow, I couldn’t help but notice the snow caked ridgeline of Webber Peak. Naturally, I was compelled to do a little bit of recon in that area.
Based on the results of my exploration it was not terribly hard to convince Stev, the man who sucked me into the whole “turns all year” concept and introduced me to the allure of patch-skiing, to embark on a Webber Peak/Ridge adventure.
The route to Webber Peak is pretty well defined, at least if you’re savvy about Forest Service Roads and have a pretty decent natural sense of direction. We headed out Hwy 89 to Jackson Meadows, then jumped on FSR 86, then swerved off onto FSR 86/40 and drove up the “No Cordobas” 4x4 road until we came to a saddle with a well-used camping area/turn-around.
DESTINATION: WEBBER RIDGE AND SNOW
We parked my Taco Mama in the shade, loaded up our gear and, surprise! surprise!, found ourselves a bonafide trail. Given the condition of the trail (incredibly well-maintained), we were a bit perplexed by the lack of any signage (i.e. no trailhead markers, etc.). That didn’t deter us from our goal, as Webber Ridge was directly in our sights, to our left, and the trail strode well, at least until it became covered in snow. When we lost sight of the trail proper, we merely tree-and-snowwhacked our way up the ridgeline to our destination.
Webber Peak itself was holding a number of enticing lines, except for the fact that every single one of them dead-ended in a cliff drop requiring James Bond aerial tactics (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzA5R9aSFCI) to survive. Webber Ridge, however, held some nice lines that ended peacefully in shrouds of pine. Having left our parachutes at home, we opted for the latter.
The view from atop Webber Peak is pretty sweet. It allows one to see pretty much all the options that the Mt. Lola area has to offer, from Lola herself across Perazzo Meadows and all the way around to Fordyce and Meadow Lakes and the surrounding peaks and mountains, including the Sierra Buttes (not to mention a great view of the backside of Castle Peak).
STEV SURVEYING THE SCENE (WEBBER LAKE IN THE DISTANCE)
The runs off of Webber Ridge had looked rather short and mellow from afar, but up close they revealed themselves to go from an open bowl and then taper into tree-lined chutes; they were much longer than we originally thought, and the snow wasn’t half bad. We knocked out two of the better looking chutes (quite a bit of the ridge was sun-cupped something fierce), boot-packing back up to the top each time.
DOOKEY SLIDES INTO ONE OF THE CHUTES
VETS GETTIN' SOME MORE
For our third run we banged out a steep 3-turn number that allowed us to traverse over to another longer run. Our fourth run, while decent, was nowhere near as long as the first two. And our fifth, and final, lap for the day was more or less an afterthought: it was there, so we skied it. All 5 turns of it.
DOOKEY MILKS THAT LAST RUN
The hike out was a breeze as by this time we had skied our way back to the base of the ridge, which we followed down until we came across the trail. From there it was a no-brainer back to the truck.
Yet another new spot was ticked off and subsequently added to our regular summer rotation.