A Short Ski Tour in the Upper Truckee Basin- Trip Report

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.
User avatar
Harlen
Topix Expert
Posts: 736
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:13 am
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: California

A Short Ski Tour in the Upper Truckee Basin- Trip Report

Post by Harlen » Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:26 pm

Just returned from the Upper Truckee Basin. Frank, Bear and I skied in from the Meiss Lake Snow Park, which is a mile or so west of Carson Pass, on Hwy 88. We snuck in just before some real weather hits, and had a fine time for 4 days and 3 nights in fairly clear weather. We had some dicey ice on the ascent up to the ridge that led us out to the summit of Little Round Top, but none of the snow that had been predicted came down on us. I will create a proper Trip Report with photos soon, but in the meantime I want to share the snowfall numbers I have just put together:

[Totaling the averages between the forecast ranges for Friday (2/1) through Sunday night (2/3) I get ~5 feet of new snow, and if I total the high end of the forecast ranges, the total is ~6 feet! As this new snow is landing on a layer of icy crust, and then being wind-deposited on lee slopes, it is a recipe for avalanche city! Take care.

I hope some of you are well placed to enjoy this storm from a warm and safe place- Tahoe Jeff? ... Do you like to shovel? I really envy you all who live in the mountains. Best of luck.]


A SHORT SKI TOUR IN THE UPPER TRUCKEE BASIN- TRIP REPORT

I now have the photos chosen to improve the Trip Report for our short ski tour around the Upper Truckee Basin, so I will tack the report on here. As I said above, we got in and out before the current storm hit, and had very fine weather throughout our trip. We put together a new set of "pulks" (i.e. sleds) before leaving for the mountains on 1/28. I measured my gear, and had 27 pounds on the sled, and just 17 lbs. on my back. My newest pulk is the lightest yet, made of doubled bamboo poles attached simply by drilling paired holes through a thin plywood support piece,and then tied with para. cord. It weighs 5 pounds unladen.

Bearzy got off scot free since I used the sled, and so he was able to roll around and cavort in the snow as he pleased- sans pack. Snow was likely, so Frank and I both brought 3 and 4 season tents. I brought Bearzy his own long pad, plus a kid's down jacket to lie on, and finally, one of those lightweight airplane sort of blankets... and he ended up with my big puffy down jacket too in the end. Our loads were heavy because we brought 2 old MSR stoves to be sure one worked, and a lot of fuel assuming that we would be melting snow for water. The pulks made this load a laugh, and they tracked along behind us just fine.

There is no quota and no Wilderness permit required for the area north of Hwy 88. I am not sure how far that area extends, but we used the Meiss Lake lot for our trailhead. In about 1.4 miles we crossed the low pass that separates the Silver Fork of the American from the Upper Truckee, and I'll tell the rest of story along with photos.

100_0795.jpg
If there was a caption bubble here, I would be quietly cursing my decision to take the dowhill tele set up- giant plastic boots, and short heavy BD skis with stiff Hammerhead bindings. This gear I use in my ongoing attempt to master- read: learn the tele turn. It is an uncomfortable process on many levels, and I really should have followed Frank in taking my lightweight 3 pin half-skinny skis. Curses!


100_0802.jpg
Wise friend Frank in comfortable NNNBC boots, on old waxless "Lookout" skis, plus kicker-skins. That's the Carson Pass area in the background, with "Elephant Back" here, and Round Top and the Sisters behind me above.


100_0805.jpg
One nice thing about these mid 8,000' elevation tours is the diversity of the forest. We skied around Sierra juniper, hemlock, my personal favorite- red fir, western white pine and some aspen- along with the ubiquitous lodgepole-whitebark pines.


100_0807.jpg
Looked like stormy weather coming the first day. It built and built, barely snowed, and then made for some beautiful light.


100_0943.jpg
The main mountain in these photos is Red Lake Peak, on the eastern side of the basin; it's just over 10,000 feet.


100_0808.jpg



100_0812.jpg
Our camp was tucked into the edge of the forest on the west side of the basin, about a half mile from Meiss Lake. This ridge leads out to Little Round Top; seen here in the distance is its false summit.




100_0829.jpg
On top of that ridge we looked down on Caples Lake, and behind it are the downhill runs of Kirkwood.




100_0910.jpg
We found open water (with algae) at the base of that group of trees above Bear.



100_0964.jpg
We managed to ski down the slope in the distance on our way back from Little Round Top. The snow was perfect, and deserved better skiers than us, but we had a blast.



100_0826.jpg
The top 100' of the slope up the ridge was very hard-icy- hard enough to forget the skins and balance on our uphill edges. It was the perfect place to have the added security of the whippet that I finally bought- but didn't think to take on this trip. :(
Once on top of the ridge, it was pretty good going till the top of Little Round Top.


100_0827.jpg
As you can see, it was fairly steep in places. That's frozen Meiss Lake below, and Tahoe beyond.
You must be registered and logged in to view the files/photos attached to this post.
Last edited by Harlen on Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:09 pm, edited 19 times in total.








User avatar
TahoeJeff
Topix Expert
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:03 am
Experience: N/A
Location: South Lake Tahoe

Re: A Short Ski Tour in the Upper Truckee Basin

Post by TahoeJeff » Fri Feb 01, 2019 9:30 am

Harlen wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:26 pm
Tahoe Jeff? ... Do you like to shovel?
I have plenty of gas for my 414cc, 30" bucket, Ariens snowblower. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.....
“A decline of public morals in the United States will probably be marked by the abuse of the power of impeachment as a means of crushing political adversaries or ejecting them from office."

Alex de Tocqueville 1835

User avatar
c9h13no3
Topix Expert
Posts: 408
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:19 pm
Experience: Level 1 Hiker
Location: San Mateo, CA

Re: A Short Ski Tour in the Upper Truckee Basin

Post by c9h13no3 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:01 am

Bring the snow! I'm seriously considering calling in sick to work on Mon-Tues and getting up there.

I've been out 9 days so far this year, only 2 outside the resort though.
"Adventure is just bad planning." - Roald Amundsen
Also, I have a blog no one reads. Please do not click here.

User avatar
Harlen
Topix Expert
Posts: 736
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:13 am
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: California

Re: A Short Ski Tour in the Upper Truckee Basin

Post by Harlen » Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:58 pm

Part 2

100_0833.jpg

100_0836.jpg

100_0845.jpg
Bearzy nearly there. Very thin snow cover on the ridge- but that has surely changed by now!


100_0842.jpg
It actually looked like we were going to get caught out in a bit of snow on Tuesday 1/29, so we raced ahead, but for nothing. We just had another nice sunset.


100_0850.jpg
View southeast; Frank walking the summer trail.


100_0857.jpg

100_0903.jpg
Back in camp- one of us never tires.


100_0913.jpg
Our third day we took it easy, and toured across Meiss Lake to have a look at the basalt cliffs.


100_0925.jpg

100_0929.jpg

100_0936.jpg


100_0957.jpg
You must be registered and logged in to view the files/photos attached to this post.
Last edited by Harlen on Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:12 pm, edited 4 times in total.

User avatar
Harlen
Topix Expert
Posts: 736
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:13 am
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: California

Re: A Short Ski Tour in the Upper Truckee Basin

Post by Harlen » Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:11 pm

Part 3


100_0969.jpg


100_0940.jpg

100_0828.jpg

100_0981.jpg


100_0816.jpg


100_0985.jpg
Back down and out- soon to return.
You must be registered and logged in to view the files/photos attached to this post.

User avatar
bobby49
Topix Expert
Posts: 700
Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:17 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: A Short Ski Tour in the Upper Truckee Basin

Post by bobby49 » Sun Feb 03, 2019 9:05 pm

What breed of dog is that? It looks like a good one. Can you train it to push the button on the camera?

I assume that you feed it more when it is out running around in the mountains with you.

I'm starting to get into the market for a good, low-mileage, used one. I can understand letting the pup sleep inside the shelter, and I would bring along an old foam pad for it to sleep on, but I can't figure out how to keep a synthetic blanket on top of the dog. Otherwise, it will burrow into my sleeping bag.

User avatar
Harlen
Topix Expert
Posts: 736
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:13 am
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: California

Re: A Short Ski Tour in the Upper Truckee Basin

Post by Harlen » Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:15 am

Yes "Bearzy/Bear" is a truly great dog, and came to us after a early life in a shelter. Several dog-people have noted his resemblance to a Korean breed called the "Jindo." The pictures online of Jindos do remind us of Bearzy. I had guessed some Aussie cattle dog mixed with something bigger- like a lab, as he weighs in at 58 pounds. We don't care, and just daily count our blessings to have run into such a fine dog. Interestingly, Bear was so "sheltered" in his early life that when we got him, he was frightened of everything- the water, sand, strangers... all new noises, and on irregular ground he crept about on very uncertain feet. But now, (at 5 years) he is fearless, and bounds through boulder fields with the greatest of ease, and and descends cliffy ground with an over-confidence that scares us!

Regarding food in the mountains, dogs seem quite variable, much like humans. Bear will eat twice as much as usual, including my spicy ramen dinners, and tiger's milk bars- things he wouldn't touch at home... but Frank's dog could barely be coaxed into eating even cheese and salami- her usual favorites?? Our concern, especially in winter, is more with fluids- Bear seems to drink almost nothing, and often won't drink even after I have led him to open water. Russ told us not to worry, but I know he is thirsty, because first thing out of the mountains he drinks up every puddle. Might it be something about the cold temperature that keeps him from drinking? Daisy, you must have had dogs in cold country Wyoming- did your dogs drink much? Anyhow, sorry for going on- I can discuss dogs... well- till the dogs come home; and then I shut up and play with them.

We wish you all the best of luck when you find a new dog friend. Hobbes once sent us a beautiful quote about dogs by E.B. White- I'll find it and include it shortly. .... Here it is:

Hobbes wrote:
a good dog is a true gift. EB White summed it up quite nicely when he wrote:
"A really companionable and indispensable dog is an accident of nature. You can't get it by breeding for it, and you can't buy it with money. It just happens along."

Thanks for your comments bobby49. Ian and Bear.
100_0932.jpg
I like the way Bear's muzzle mirrors the shadowed branch
You must be registered and logged in to view the files/photos attached to this post.
Last edited by Harlen on Fri Feb 08, 2019 2:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
wildhiker
Topix Expert
Posts: 578
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:44 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: Palo Alto, CA

Re: A Short Ski Tour in the Upper Truckee Basin- Trip Report

Post by wildhiker » Tue Feb 05, 2019 12:02 am

Great pictures! Looks like you had a wonderful time. Any idea what your low temperatures were? I've only been in that area in the summer, so it was nice to see it covered in snow in your photos.
-Phil

User avatar
Harlen
Topix Expert
Posts: 736
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:13 am
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: California

Re: A Short Ski Tour in the Upper Truckee Basin- Trip Report

Post by Harlen » Tue Feb 05, 2019 5:08 pm

Thanks for the comments. I am not good with high technology, but Frank had a tiny thermometer attached to his jacket. It seemed to be stuck on 25 degrees. So either it stayed exactly 25 day and night, or his thermometer is crap, and I must return to my own system. My system includes the the following data collection and hypothesizing: Night- Bearzy began shivering about 2 AM, and ended up first with my down jacket, then under my sleeping bag- turned quilt... must have been in the teens at least. Daytime- hands uncomfortable without finger gloves, but never needed mittens... ergo, around 35 or 40 during the day.

Now that I have shared my system, I reckon you owe me an explanation of wind chill Phil. I'm baffled- for instance tonight the forecast says:
temp. will be 2 degrees / wind 5 mph / and wind chill may be -15. Then for tomorrow, it says: temp. 23 degrees / wind 5 mph / wind chill -15?
How is wind chill calculated?! Is it some hard and fast rule, or somewhat subjective? Who knows the answer?

User avatar
DAVELA
Topix Regular
Posts: 282
Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:23 am
Experience: N/A
Location: los angeles

Re: A Short Ski Tour in the Upper Truckee Basin- Trip Report

Post by DAVELA » Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:16 pm

Great tr....thx for sharing!
http://www.suwa.org/protect-greater-canyonlands" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests