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Snow backpacking Tahoe area

Discussion about winter adventure sports in the Sierra Nevada mountains including but not limited to; winter backpacking and camping, mountaineering, downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, etc.

Re: Snow backpacking Tahoe area

Postby Tom_H » Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:21 pm

Harlen wrote:In short, the Crystal Range is at its finest, though Tom_H would be the last word on that. Good Luck Ian.


I wouldn't dare argue with you re. that first part..

Did you ski, snowshoe, boot hike, or what?



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Re: Snow backpacking Tahoe area

Postby Willythedog » Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:33 pm

Good stuff, looking forward to the trip report
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Re: Snow backpacking Tahoe area

Postby Harlen » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:34 pm

Sorry for a delay "Willy," two hours (it was a lot more, but painful to admit it) of a completed TR lost in the nether world of this machine?! I hit "submit, but had been logged out, and nothing left but the cussing. Probably my own damn fault.

I don't know if Eric will be able to recover it, but I haven't the heart to begin again- aaarrrgh! Maybe tomorrow. Blast it all and many worse words that I'll keep to myself. Harlen.

Tom, I envy your many trips into such a wonderful place. To answer your question, I skied in with my dog Bear, pulling a 40lb sled- me that is. My mid-weight ski gear is 175cm Karhu "Pavos," mounted on NNN BC bindings and Merrill boots, which blew up on me, first one, and a mile later- the other, before I had even left Echo Lake! Both soles completely separated from the upper boots- failed glue. No problem- its happened before. just knife a slit into the upper boot just back of the Achilles tendon, missing the tendon itself, and thread a mess of cord in there, and down around the heel. Wrap the dog's leash around the toe area, finish with duct tape, curse your foul luck, and off you go- why am I always cursing?! At least I am now the wiser, and will never trust in $25 dollar Craigslisted boots again.

The boot fix held up fine, with some periodic cord repair work, and I managed a climb up the fine south slope of Jacks Peak. 1700 feet in those shithouse boots! I highly recommend a long tour up under Pyramid Peak, down and around the north end of the lake to Mosquito Pass for a further look down the Crystal Range, which seems to me to be the very last of the mountainous Sierra, i.e., everything to the north looked more like hills.

Lots of interesting , and slightly concerning avalanche signs, the largest- capable of shallowly burying an unwary person, occurring on the south slope of Jacks. A hard slab I believe, perhaps mixed in with soft slab that became entrained after the hard stuff came away from the steep rock wall above. 8-10" fell a week ago Tuesday- 4/18. The conditions now call for early morning starts and finishes for any steep climbing routes. Avalanche signs of different kinds on every aspect- a fascinating study.
Anyhow, it's brilliant shining white up there right now, and will be great in May too "Willy." All the best, Harlen.
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Re: Snow backpacking Tahoe area

Postby Willythedog » Wed May 17, 2017 9:28 am

I keep trying to get up there but other plans keep derailing my weekends.

Talked to the ranger station, a ranger was just out in the area. Said it took him an hour to snowshoe from the sno park to lower echo. Was saying there's a chance of having the road open to the chalet by memorial weekend.

Hoping to get out there soon
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Re: Snow backpacking Tahoe area

Postby Harlen » Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:16 pm

Hey "Willy,"

I'm picking your post back up because I think Lake Aloha may be Lizzie and my first trip this winter/spring. Did you make it up there last spring? How was your trip?
TomH, are you out there? Or "SNOOOOW?" What is the access like prior to the Echo Lakes freezing over? Does one have to wander through all of those cabins? I wonder what that would be like? It was so nice just skiing quickly across, and getting away and into the mountains.

Above, I mentioned my boots blowing out on my trip across those same lakes:
Both soles completely separated from the upper boots- failed glue. No problem- its happened before. just knife a slit into the upper boot just back of the Achilles tendon, missing the tendon itself, and thread a mess of cord in there, and down around the heel. Wrap the dog's leash around the toe area, finish with duct tape,

so below I'll add a couple photos of that fiasco, and my desperation fix.

20 lakes basin 032.JPG
The boot de-lam. and fix.

20 lakes basin 037.JPG
Are they really just glued to the sole? This has happened twice now on ski trips with lightweight NNN BC boots.

Any insights on early winter trips out to Lake Aloha? Might it be better to ski in from Carson Pass for the first trip, and save Echo Summit for later? Thanks, the Harlens.
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Re: Snow backpacking Tahoe area

Postby SNOOOOW » Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:31 am

I personally have not been there except in Summer and Fall but I know they plow that road only partially at best then its a skin/hike in. I can't see why anyone would go before the lakes were frozen and buried as that would probably mean the overall coverage is mediocre. I am putting together a pulk (sled) so I can drag anything and everything out to a nice base camp and Aloha is on the list for late Winter/Spring. Can't wait! :drinkers:
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Re: Snow backpacking Tahoe area

Postby Harlen » Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:21 pm

I think you're right about waiting. The ski in from the road only adding about 1 mile or less, and was painless. Good luck on your pulk. I've made a few, and my ongoing challenge is to reduce the play, i.e., slack at the waist. I've use paired lengths of bamboo, and light weight pvc, with a dowel inside, but prefer the former. I wire small carabiners to the ends of the bamboo, and clip them to rope loops attached to my backpack waist belt, and usually have a small but maddening amount of jerkiness.
Lets keep in touch and try to meet up SNOOOOW.

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