I reluctantly left the powder in Utah for the sunny sierras on Thursday 4-29. After a stop over in beautiful Battle Mountain, NV. I arrived in South Lake Tahoe on Friday afternoon. My excuse is to see my Mom on Mothers Day & my nieces graduation on the 15th. In the meantime I am trying to get some Alpine Touring in. So far my timing has been pretty good, & I've gotten some great skiing & spectacular views. Everywhere I have been are places that I have skied before, but haven't been out here much for the past 10 years. One thing that has changed is that there are a lot more skiers/riders visiting the backcountry.
Today 5-6-10 on Mt. Tallac:
I arrived in Lake Tahoe last night, & conditions seemed right for a little trek this morning.
Lake Tahoe in the background, looking north from ridge on Stevens Peak:
Some wind blown crust up high, but consistent snow mid mountain. Not quite corn yet but close on the lower angles:
A northern aspect toward the bottom was almost powder:
Looking back at the peak on the way back to town:
Back for more today. Same location, but went up a different ridge where the wind was 50mph. This pinnacle was my protection. Once I was off the ridge the wind was nil & the corn was sweeter than yesterday.
Red Lake peak, which was my original plan today, but it looked like a lot of tracks already & didn't look like the snow had transitioned yet.
The pinnacle, looking from the top of my second run.
SE aspects where revealing perfect corn from 9000' to 7000'.
Today was Jake's Peak above the west shore of Lake Tahoe, & Emerald Bay.
North Bowl of Mt. Tallac:
South shore of Lake Tahoe, Freel Peak & Monument Peak in the background:
My feet & the mouth of Emerald Bay:
Freel Peak, at just under 11000' the tallest in the area:
Corn Tracks, E-SE aspect. Done by 9:30 & would've been too soft by 10. The past two days I was able to have good skiing till 12:30, but I was a1000' higher. The less sun exposed aspects have yet to corn up.
Today my decision was Mt. Ralston. Mt. Ralston borders the Desolation Valley Wilderness area. I approached from Highway 50, directly across the road from the turn off to Sierra-at-Tahoe resort. The temps didn't quite cooperate like they did on Sunday, as it was barely a re-freeze & I almost abandoned after the first hour. My Ipod started playing some song about not giving up, so I kept going, & the snow got better as I got higher.
Had to boot up the final pitches like yesterday, it was pretty steep:
Sierra-at-Tahoe as seen from my perch:
There are Golden Trout down in that little lake:
Another gratuitous self portrait:
My route down is marked with the red line (I just discovered this cool feature):
The bottom section was totally rotten snow, but I was lucky to find it. Had I gone down the way I went up, it would have been alot of bushwhacking, skis on & off, & creek crossings. As it turned out I was able to ski all the way to the car, always a bonus!
Today was a bit of a bust with gail force winds & not very cold temps overnight. I started out from the south end of Fallen leaf like with this slope in mind:
I have skied it before, by following the stream up the valley & crossing on a footbridge for the ascent. Either the bridge is gone, or I couldn't find it. "WHERE'S THAT CONFOUNDED BRIDGE?"
After 2 hours of climbing I got to spend an hour retracing my route by skiing downhill with my skins on which was kinda fun.
Anyway here are a few scenic shots:
Mt. Tallac sits just above the SW corner of Lake Tahoe. I started skiing up there 35 yrs. ago when I was a teen. Not many folks went up there back then, as it is a long grueling 3400' staircase to the summit. I have skied almost every imaginable line up there from mellow wide open slopes to narrow steep chutes, great mountain!
Over the years it has kinda become the Tuckerman's of the Sierras. There are always people up there. I rode my bike out Saturday & again on Sunday just to take a look. There were no less than 25 cars parked at the access, & this was at 2 or 3 in the afternoon... NUTS! Anyway, I thought I would wait till midweek & get an early start for my best chances of finding a smooth run & the optimum snow. When we were kids, it was a given that you got yourself onto the summit between 9:30 & 10 AM, & never without a solid freeze the night before (This is springtime I'm talking about). I know I'm getting old, but it seems like some people just don't have a clue nowadays. Okay, done with my rant!
It turned out to be the perfect day, & my best skiing so far. I met up with Stewart toward the top & did a 1/2 a lap with him before booting back up (no skinning today). He shot the video for me.
Here are the pics:
Jakes Peak, which I skied the other day:
Stewart making the boot pack:
Mount Rose across the lake:
Some of the ridges of Desolation Wilderness, beyond Tallac:
We will see what tomorrow brings.