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Snow Shoe Tour to the Backcountry Ritz Carlton

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.

Snow Shoe Tour to the Backcountry Ritz Carlton

Postby Vaca Russ » Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:22 am

My GF and I have logged hundreds of thousands of vertical feet down hill skiing this year. We thought we would mix things up a bit and do some backcountry skiing. Unfortunately there is no business establishment between home and our destination renting out backcountry skis. So we went to see Lloyd at the Sports Cove in Vacaville to rent snowshoes.

Imagine you discovered a lake a short distance into the backcountry that produces 20” goldens on a regular basis. You would want to share this location with your friends, but you would avoid posting the name on the internet where search bots can lead the masses to your post thus causing spot burn.

Our destination had a logbook detailing the adventures of many travelers. Often one would read the comment, “Please only share this destination with your best friends.”

I would like to share our adventure with my friends at HST but please don’t post the name of this “backcountry Ritz Carlton”.

We knew the weather would be sketchy so we agreed to take this journey in stages. If at any time either of us wanted to back out we would. The drive in showed that there was plenty new snow. Her 4 WD did an excellent job of getting us to the trailhead.

Sport Going In.JPG

After a grueling climb busting trail uphill we reached the storm shelter.

Storm Shelter.JPG

This storm shelter proved to be a cozy place to eat lunch.

Cozy Storm Shelter.JPG

Then it was back to busting trail. Eventually we reached the weather station.
Weather Station.JPG

The snow had been coming down hard all day but we were just over a mile from our destination so we trudged on.

After 8 hours of travel we finally reached our destination.

Ritz Carlton.JPG

We lit up the gas stove and began to warm ourselves.


We failed to get the water running so we spent quite a bit of time melting snow. Darkness soon fell over the valley. We then ate our dinner and went to bed.

We were scheduled to leave the following day, Friday the 13th. The weather forecast had called for Friday to be clear. The snow continued to fall. Sometimes the accumulation was over 3” an hour. We decided to do the prudent thing and stay put.

Sport climb up the hill and got half a bar (I wouldn’t know what that meant 10 years ago). She texted her girl who called the USFS and informed them of our decision to stay put. They told her another couple may be arriving that afternoon.

We prepared for guests but they never arrived. I told Sport they probably were not as crazy as us. :)

The next morning the skies partially cleared and the snow had stopped falling.

Meadow 4-14.JPG

It was time to hit the trail. It was quite a work out busting trail uphill.

Busting Trail Out.JPG

We met the other couple as we approached the storm shelter. They said it took them hours and hours to reach the shelter so they decided to spend the night there. It turns out they were two crazy college aged kids.

We finally reach the Rubicon which had also been snowed over.

Frozen Rubicon.JPG

Sport’s car was covered from the storm.

Buried Auto.JPG

All in all we had a blast!

I hope you enjoyed my post.

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"...Or have you only comfort, and the lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house a guest, and then becomes a host and then a master?"

Kahil Gibran.

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Re: Snow Shoe Tour to the Backcountry Ritz Carlton

Postby gary c. » Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:37 am

How cool is that! thanks for the report and pictures.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
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Re: Snow Shoe Tour to the Backcountry Ritz Carlton

Postby oldranger » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:23 am


Thanks for sharing!


Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Snow Shoe Tour to the Backcountry Ritz Carlton

Postby maverick » Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:00 pm

Thanks for the TR Russ. Love that view from the porch!
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member:
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