Lost in the Snow

Mount Rose to Marlette Peak Campground
(15 miles, +1,700/-1,600 feet).

Today I started a solo attempt of the Tahoe Rim Trail, 165 miles of beautiful ups and downs that encircle Lake Tahoe.  My plan is to try to finish in about 8 days.

I drove up from San Diego this morning, leaving at 2am (as usual I couldn’t sleep!).  By 11am I was at the Mt. Rose Summit parking area, ready to hit the trail.

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Here we go!

I had been expecting snow, but I wasn’t sure how much.  As soon as I crossed the highway to start the trail, I hit the road to the closed campsite at Mount Rose, which was still covered in a foot or so.

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Snow!

I put on my microspikes and managed no problem, though the drifts sometimes went up and down 5 feet or more making it slow going.  By the time I got to Tahoe Meadows, the snow started to disappear.

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Tahoe Meadows

On the other side of the meadow, there was a bridge across a stream and then the snow started again.  I knew the general direction I needed to head, but there were no trail markers and no footprints.

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Where’s the trail?

I eventually found the trail again and started around a pretty steep and icy traverse.  For the first time ever I had to break out my ice axe!

After about 4 miles, the trail leveled out and the snow disappeared.

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This is easier
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Better Still
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This is so easy now

I started getting some amazing views of Lake Tahoe and Marlette Peak.

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So blue!
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Marlette Peak

The trail winds around the northeast side of the Peak, and soon it was covered in snow again.  I lost the trail and ended up a couple of hundred feet higher than where I should have been.  It was steep, so I broke out my ice axe and tried my first glissade to get back down.  Fun!

I had snow all the way to Marlette Peak Campground, but fortunately several sites were snow free.

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My snowy campground

I was happy to see the water pump at camp since trudging through all this snow is sweaty business!  However, the pump requires one to hold open a valve and pump at the same time—hard to do solo.  And the water had a nice yellowish tinge from excess aluminum (a sign next to the pump said it was okay to drink, though).

I feel pretty exhausted but also exhilarated.  What a day!

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