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Archive for the ‘South Lake Tahoe’ Category

Date: Saturday, March 17, 2018

Location: West Shore Lake Tahoe (Rubicon Peak)

Skiers: Andrew, Alex, Nick and Mike

Photos: Alex, Nick and Mike. A special thanks for Alex to being willing to lug a DSLR and take the vast majority of pictures, all of which turned out amazing.

Synopsis: Words can’t really describe how fun this day was. We were treated to an amazing day of ultra deep, stable snow. At times, it was too deep to even ski, as we focused on a low-angle zone on Rubicon Peak in light of avalanche instabilities. It was great to ski again with Alex, who moved up to Oregon last year.

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TR: Desolation Wilderness

Dates: Saturday, February 6 & Sunday, February 7, 2016

Locations: Desolation Wilderness, South Lake Tahoe (Ralston Peak, Dick’s Peak, Janine’s Peak and Maggie’s Peaks)

Skiers: Saturday: Jon, Andrew, Alex and Nick, and Sunday: Jon, Mike and Nick

Photos: As noted

Synopsis: After a period of heavy wet snow the weekend prior, last week a very strong high pressure moved in over California (and much of the Mountain West), leading to above average temperatures and a quickly solidifying Sierra snowpack. After 4 days of melt/freeze cycles and shifting winds, we settled on heading into Desolation Wilderness for a couple of bigger days alpine terrain. With above average forecasted temps, we new going in that working the compass dial and time of day would dictate quality of snow conditions, and in retrospect I think we nailed it both days.

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Date: Sunday, January 10, 2015

Location: Mount Tallac, South Lake Tahoe

Skiers: Jon, Mike & Nick

Photos: As Noted

Synopsis: While every day out in the mountains with friends is a day well spent, every once in a while a day will come across that literally just makes you stop, look around and deeply appreciate your surroundings. Sunday was one of those days for me.

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Dates: Saturday, December 5 & Sunday, December 6, 2015

Location: South Lake Tahoe

Skiers: Sat: Andrew, Alex, Noah and Nick; Sun: Andrew, Mike and Nick

Photos: As Noted

Synopsis: Last Thursday, another small storm fell dropping between 5-12 inches of snow across the Lake Tahoe basin, depending on aspect and elevation. Saturday was largely a warming trend and rather mild weather, while Sunday brought very intense, gale-force winds (with gusts of near 90 mph on higher elevation ridge tops late Sunday afternoon).

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Date: Saturday, July 5, 2014

Location: Desolation Wilderness, South Lake Tahoe Basin

Hikers: Sarah & Nick

Photos: Nick & Sarah

Synopsis: Sarah and I decided to go for a nice half-day hike on Saturday, July 5th through the Desolation Wilderness in the South Lake Tahoe Basin. We decided to head down to the Emerald Bay area and hike up the Eagle Falls trailhead to Eagle Lake and then continue on up towards the ridgeline between Janine’s Ridge and Maggies Peaks. Once at that intersection with great view of Azure Lake, we would then continue up towards the saddle between North and South Maggies Peaks and head up to the summit of South Maggies Peak. Lastly, we would head down towards Granite Lake for a quick swim and exit at the Bayview trailhead.

This nice day hike offers a good loop through the very edge of Desolation Wilderness with approximately 6 miles and 2,000 or so feet of elevation gain and loss.

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Skiers: Alex, Andrew & Nick

Date: Sunday, March 21st

Photos: Andrew (edited by Nick in Lightroom)

Synopsis: Alex, Andrew and I headed out Sunday to a higher elevation zone around Tahoe to try and take advantage of a couple of inches of fresh snow that fell over the weekend. Below 8,500 ft, the approach conditions are getting rough and involve quite a lot of patch to patch skinning and indirect routes. Up above 8,500 ft however, there is still good enough coverage for some good turns.

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Skiers: Pat, Alexis, Alex, Andrew, Jakob & Nick

Photos: Alex & Nick (as noted)

Synopsis: While we have received very little snow since early January, I have actually be having a great time in Tahoe out in the mountains. The days are getting longer, with great weather, great views and good friends. Below is a collection of photos from a number of days out in the Tahoe Basin backcountry (as well as some Big Basin shots thrown in). Intermixed with all of this has been a number of days at the resorts just ripping groomers with Sarah, which has been a lot of fun.

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Locations: Trimmer Peak, Grouse Rock & Munchkins

Dates: Sunday, December 30th & Tuesday, January 1st

Skiers: Tony, Jason, Jon & Nick

Photos: Nick (unless otherwise noted, but with Nick’s camera)

Synopsis: It’s been a while since I posted a full TR, so figured now is as good as a time as any. Conditions around the Tahoe Basin have been great recently, with a dramatic change in snow amounts since December of last year. Although we do have some interesting things going on in our snowpack due to some deeply buried PWLs, which led to a pretty sizeable avalanche cycle just after Christmas. Therefore, we played it pretty conservative in the trees, with great skiing to be had!

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Date: Sunday, July 15, 2012

Location: Lover’s Leap

Climbers: Andrew & Nick

Photos: Andrew & Nick (as noted)

Synopsis: Andrew and I headed up to Lover’s Leap in the South Lake Tahoe area to climb East Wall (5.7) and Haystack (5.8) (both on the actual East Wall face). We were able to get on the route East Wall in the morning, and afterwards we headed to Bear’s Reach (as Haystack had some other groups on it). I had been wanting to climb East Wall for a while, as it is a wandering route with an exposed second pitch that travels almost horizontally across the face of the East Wall. Andrew had never climbed Bear’s Reach – so seeing it was open, we decided to jump on it.

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Date: Saturday, May 5, 2012

Location: Lover’s Leap

Climbers: Jon & Nick

Photos: Jon & Nick (as noted)

Synopsis: Since climbing the Northwest Ridge of Four Gables with Jon in January, I have not posted any trip reports as it has been a non-eventful winter in Tahoe. That is not to say I did not get any skiing in – in fact, I got a handful of great powder days in. However, all of the days I did ski were entirely spent at Alpine Meadows or Squaw Valley. I just never seemed to time it properly for any backcountry touring as the snowpack was either (i) non-existent or (ii) dangerous due to the persistent weak layer we had all winter. Meanwhile, the weather in the Bay Area all “winter” was nothing short of spectacular, and I mostly hung around and did a TON of road biking in the Coast Mountains (and have generally been training for a couple of triathlons this upcoming summer and fall).

The great thing about the lack of snowpack this Spring will be the climbing access it affords. As of this writing, both Tioga Pass and Sonora Pass are open to the Eastside and many High Sierra climbs will have very quick approaches that are otherwise inaccessible without skis/snowshoes for much later in the season. Further, I suspect the alpine ice season this year is going to be nothing short of phenomenal.

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TR: Cascade Falls

Date: Saturday, December 24, 2011

Location: Cascade Falls

Climbers: Jon, Rachel, Tony & Nick

Photos: Nick (unless otherwise noted)

Synopsis: First, let me say that wanted to get this up much sooner to offer some good beta on current Tahoe ice conditions, but a hectic schedule around the holidays prevented that. So unfortunately I can’t attest to whether this is representative of the current conditions at Cascade Falls (e.g., there has been a rain event and general warming spell as of late).

Having said that, although Tahoe (and pretty much all of California, Utah, Wyoming and Colorado) has received little to no snow, December proved to be a very cold month. Consistent cold temperatures and lack of snow make for good ice conditions in Tahoe (as fickle as they can be).

While climbing up at 90-Foot Wall with Brandon the week prior, we spotted Cascade Falls from the road and it looked very thick. After some more research, I got some good beta on conditions, so Jon, Rachel, Tony and I decided to head and check it out.

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Dates: Sunday, December 4, 2011 (Climbing) & Saturday, December 10, 2011 (Lunar Eclipse)

Locations: 90-Foot Cliff, South Lake Tahoe & San Francisco Bay

Climbers: Brandon & Nick

Photos: Nick (unless otherwise noted)

Synopsis: With the severe lack of snow in the Tahoe and High Sierra this early December due to (among other things) a high-pressure ridge sitting off the coast of California, Brandon and I decided to test the weather last Sunday for some winter-cragging in the Tahoe area.

Our original intention was to head to the Leap and test out how cold it really was, but we were quickly dissuaded by the shaded aspects, strong winds and below freezing temps. Therefore, we headed over to 90-Foot Wall in the Emerald Bay area for a good top-roping zone in the sun.

As a bonus, this past Saturday was a full lunar eclipse that was best viewed in the Western U.S., with the peak occurring at 6:30 A.M. PST. Given that the next full lunar eclipse will not occur until April 2014, I felt the need to get up and combat the light pollution of San Francisco and try and capture the event.

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Date: Sunday, October 23, 2011

Location: Lover’s Leap

Climbers: Alex & Nick

Photos: Alex & Nick (as noted)

Synopsis: With the snow of the early October 6th storm long faded into memory and recent warming temps, I knew Sunday would make for a good day trip to the Leap. After many suggestions by myself and others, Alex has recently taken up climbing, with his first foray into outdoor climbing at Indian Springs and Donner Summit earlier in August.

With the stable weather and Alex fired out to get out of the climbing gym and back outdoors, I knew a Leap trip was in order. And with Corrugation Corner (5.7) and Bear’s Reach (5.7) on the agenda, I would dare to say that is about as good as it gets for a first trip to the leap for Alex! A nice welcoming to the world of exposure…

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Dates: April 9 –10, 2011

Locations: Cross Couloir, Mt. Tallac & Angora Peak

Skiers: Alexis, Clement, Warren & Nick

Photos: Alexis, Warren & Nick (each as noted below)

Synopsis: Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you view it) one of the joys of ski touring is dealing with variable conditions. After amazing corn skiing in Carson Pass Last Sunday, the warm cycle continued for most of the week leading up to a pretty strong re-freeze Wednesday night. A small low-pressure system then moved in, dropping 3-6 inches of fresh snow along the upper elevations of the Sierra Crest on Thursday and Friday. Yes, that is one of the few times this winter we are talking 3-6 inches rather than 3-6 feet.

While we headed out on Saturday to ski steep lines in a bit of powder, what we found was steep lines in quintessential “dust on crust” conditions. While the ski conditions were essentially nothing to write home about, we still had a great day both days.

Pictures to follow. Note that this TR is several pages long, with the Cross Couloir on Page 1 and Angora Peak on Page 2.

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Date: Sunday, April 3, 2011

Skiers & Rider: Andrew, Alex & Nick

Location: Carson Pass

Photos: Andrew, Alex & Nick (as noted)

Weather & Snowpack: This winter in Tahoe has been unreal in the volume of snow, and in some cases, record setting. According to Tahoe Weather Discussion, for the month of March up to and including March 28th, “8-16 feet on the resorts in the last 10 days of non-stop snow, 11-21 feet in the past 2 weeks, and 13-23 feet in the month of March.”

Once the snow stopped on March 28th, that week brought a rapid warming trend. Unfortunately, nights were not refreezing so the snowpack was not transitioning to corn snow. After several days of heavy glop due to the warm days and nights, on Saturday night, April 2nd, we finally received what we had been waiting for – a very strong refreeze of the snowpack due to well-below freezing nighttime temps and a clear night for some radiational cooling of the snowpack.

As a result, Sunday we awoke to a strong refreeze, warming temperatures (capped around 40F) and blue-bird skies – the perfect combination for rapid corn snow growth.

Synopsis: Andrew, Alex and I headed out to Carson Pass in search of corn. Ultimately, our tour ran approximately 9.8 miles on skis, with approximately 4500′ of vertical ascended and 5200′ of vertical descended. Most importantly, this was Alex’s first day back in the backcountry following a full recovery from some spontaneous lung collapses last year. A proud welcome back indeed!

Pictures to follow. Note that this TR is several pages long.

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Date: Sunday, February 27, 2011

Skiers: Jonathan, Rachel, Warren, Alexi & Nick

Weather & Snowpack: Sunday was the perfect combination of bluebird and a relatively cold day for Tahoe. In addition, it was several days after a great Alaska-formed storm delivered 3-4 feet of fresh, light powder along the Sierra Crest in Tahoe. Fortunately, the snowpack stablized very quickly despite the cold temps.

VIDEO TR: A nice video of the tour along the West Shore on Sunday.

Some additional photos from Saturday at Alpine follow.

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Location: Kirkwood Mountain Resort, CA

Date: Sunday, November 28, 2010

Skiers & Boarders: Jon, Alex & Nick

Location: Kirkwood Mountain Resort, CA

Photos: As noted

Synopsis: Quite simply, this was just plainly the most ridiculously awesome opening day to a ski season I have ever experienced. The fact that it took place in November further emphasizes the fact.

From Friday, November 19th – Thanksgiving Day, the Tahoe Basin was lucky to receive one of the largest November snow storms on records. Six to eight feet of snow fell depending on the location and altitude – not including wind-loading along the Crest. Then during the late stages of Saturday, November 27th, another 16-24 inches of snow fell in Tahoe. The end result was Jon, Alex and I hoping in the car Sunday morning, and heading to Kirkwood for what we expected to be some ridiculous conditions… in November.

The pictures pretty much tell the tale…

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Location: Crescent Moon Couloir & The Sisters, Carson Pass

Date: Saturday, April 17, 2010

Skiers: Jon & Nick

Photos & Video: Nick (unless otherwise noted as Jon)

Weather: Bluebird and warming – really a perfect day. By 1 PM on the skin back to the car, it was nearing the 60s around 8,000 ft.

Avalanche Conditions: From the Sierra Avalanche Center:

Early this morning, avalanche danger is Low for all elevations and aspects. Pockets of Moderate danger will form at all elevations on E-SE-S-SW-W aspects in response to daytime warming. Very isolated areas of instability may exist on northerly aspects. Normal caution is advised.

During our tour, Jon and I did not encounter any instabilities.

Synopsis: With the call for good weather, stable avalanche conditions and the promise of wintry snow at higher elevations that do not get any sun, Jon and I decided to head to Carson Pass and ski Crescent Moon Couloir as the primary objective. With an abundance of other options and easy access, we intended on skiing other lines in the area as well, but giving ourselves an easy bail if the snow got too warm too quick.

Other than a vital gear mishap in a somewhat exposed spot, the day was awesome.

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Location: Halls of the Gods Couloir, Indian Cliff Chutes (Angora Peak)

Date: Saturday, March 6, 2010

Skiers: Bob & Nick

Photographers: Nick (unless otherwise noted as Bob)

Weather: On Saturday a small Low system was moving through the Tahoe region. Skies were grey-bird, with light winds out of the E/SE. Around mid-afternoon, light snow showers quickly move in and out of the area (with little to no accumulation).

Synopsis:

After hitting Halls of the Gods Couloir last year with Frank and Coling in very good snow conditions TR Here, I knew I had to get back during good snow conditions. Only this time, definitely better to take the appropriate route up the ridge between Angora and Echo Peaks. Shaved off a good amount of time (at least an hour and ½) off the approach time.

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Locations: Dick’s Peak, Janine’s Ridge, Maggie’s Peaks (Desolation Wilderness)

Dates: Saturday, January 30 – Sunday, January 31, 2010

Skiers/Riders: Alex & Nick

Photographers: Nick, unless noted as Alex (although Alex’s shots pretty much blow mine away! Time for me to get a new camera and learn how to use it…)

Weather: Saturday was the tail end of a small Low system that was moving through Tahoe. Skies were grey-bird with intermittent, light snow. Winds started the day slow, but were howling up at Dick’s Peak. Temps at night got to around 10-15 degrees at 9,000 ft. Sunday was blue-bird and generally warm, although once again the ridge top winds at Dick’s Peak were consistent 30 mph. Janine’s and Maggie’s had no wind, fortunately.

Avalanche Conditions:
From the Sierra Avalanche Center:

On Saturday, near and above treeline, pockets of moderate avalanche danger will form in wind loaded areas on NW-N-NE-E aspects, 37 degrees and steeper. Below treeline, avalanche danger is low in wind protected areas.

On Sunday, near and above treeline, pockets of moderate avalanche danger remain on wind-loaded, NW-N-NE-E aspects, 37 degrees and steeper. Below treeline, avalanche danger is low in wind protected areas.

We found the snow to generally be very stable at both Maggie’s and Janine’s. As discussed further below, Dick’s was very wind-effected and in most areas had 6-inch wind-slabs sitting on lower density snow. We were able to ski cut and otherwise trigger some small, very slow moving wind-slabs on Dick’s N face.

Synopsis: With Alex and I both about to turn the dredded 30 (me, well, today actually, and Alex on Friday), we figured a good early present would be to get back into Desolation Wilderness and get in some powder skiing. Nothing better than avoiding the fact you are turning 30 by essentially continuing to “live the dream” so to speak. Was a great trip and a good early present.

Warning: There are a lot of scenic pics in the TR, but some great skiing ones near the end as well.

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