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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

This is easier
Better Still
This is so easy now

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

So blue!
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.

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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