Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tahoe West Shore Traverse

Oh man, this mission had been on the tick list for a long time and it was fun to finally get it done!  The idea: ski the longest roadless stretch in the Tahoe area, from Echo pass to Donner pass along the crest of the Sierra.  Ski conditions were variable after a long dry spell, but coverage was good and with a forecast for sun the time was ripe!


Jeb was kind enough to wake up while it was still dark outside to drive me down to South Lake.  Thanks, amigo!


It's always good to start a long walk with high fructose corn syrup and saturated fat!  Sadly, Hostess fruit pies have gone the way of the dodo and the generic brand ones get the job done, but they're not quite the same.


Goal for the weekend: keep putting one foot in front of the other . . .


Day one was glorious, the sun was out and Desolation had on its winter coat.  Lake Aloha has always been one of my favorite spots, such a strange barren feel with Pyramid and friends rising up behind it.  The Crystal range was a travel companion for the day, always there on the left, stretching unbroken all the way from Pyramid to Loon Lake.

On the shoulder of Dick's peak, I could see one of the longest glides of the trip.  Long, contouring traverses were the name of the game, trading vert for progress north.  Red X down at Middle Velma Lake is the goal.


BAM, almost 3 miles in 15 minutes!  Back to walking, up and over Phipps peak into the northern reaches of Desolation Wilderness.  


If anyone has ever wondered where helium balloons go to die, I think I might have figured it out.  This is the second one that I've found out in the Velma lakes area.


After a nice dinner of salami and cheese on the top of Lost Corner Mountain, I used the last light of the day to cruise down into the Miller lakes and find a campsite.


Day two dawned windy, not quite the glorious spring weather of the day before but it provided good motivation to keep moving and made it easier to keep cool.


Cresting the first ridge into Blackwood canyon, the order of the day was laid out.  First Twin Peaks, then Granite Chief, and then on out to Donner pass!


Cool rock formations on the way to Tinker's Knob.  At this point, my head was down and I was grinding so I didn't stop for too many pictures, but the Sierra never stopped showing off.


Totally spent on the last high point of the journey, Mt. Lincoln.  
Final stats for two days of adventure were 21 hours on the move, 44 miles and 12,000ft of human-powered skiing.


Recharging the batteries at Burger Me in Truckee.  The milkshake/beer double fist is the newest thing in recovery technology.  Headed to Chamonix in two weeks, gotta keep the legs strong!



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