Skimming some of the web blab, you'd think the west was all about skinning the steeps. And much of it is. But, man, I mean, man, you cannot beat Tahoe for low angle fishscale touring. Yesterday we had a few inches of soft snow (i.e the kind that turns to mush by 4 pm, but it was sweet in the early hours) on top of a firm but compactable base....perfect for a waxless tour.
I met some buds at a trailhead I knew well but had not toured from (Spooner Summit south) and....darn it, this was a nice find. It had been a snowmobile staging base but the base was moved a mile away and most of the sled action in the area is guided tours on quiet (4-stroke) machines, staying to the road, so not a big problem.
The snowshowers were still lingering, so it was a bit wet, but with the anticipation of them leaving, which they did...
Jeff had his sight on South Camp Peak, 4 miles and about 2,000 feet away, but immediately I saw this was a place that begged for more exploration. Our entire tour (we turned around before the final mile ascent cause the clouds overhead were going by almost too fast to see) was contouring around moderate angle slopes and I kept wondering why Jeff was intent on plowing ahead rather than sampling some of the goods.
Around Tahoe, the forest had been big trees with wide open parkland before the 49ers came, and the early Tahoe resort properties, that sucked up all the timber. Now it's growing back and the Forest Service is helping it with extensive but judicious thinning. And the 4-8 foot snow base this year is even covering up their burn piles...just wide open slopes in a forest park setting...everywhere!
Now, I like skinning for steep turns as well, but I have to say, the freedom of putting on some light waxless (BC-125's today, a perfect choice for the mission) and heading up, making a few turns down, heading up somewhere else, making a few turns down, heading over there, doing the climb/ski traverse (climb above the route, ski down, climb above the route, ski down...takes longer but well worth it), such freedom and fun!
There aren't many businesses promoting low angle touring around Tahoe/the Eastside. And you don't see magazine articles about this activity much anymore. But believe me, it is there, and it is awesome and it is well worth a trip.
I'd post pix but don't have a web storage site..can you link to FB or EYT photos or someone want to recommend a really easy solution? (They're also not so great.)
Me skiing upside down. The Pine Nuts across Carson Valley. Clearing storm. Sampling the goods. Open park-like forest. Well, that's not quite perfect, but a start.
Anybody know how to get a a MacBook Air to show you in its list of files you photos in its its photos gallery? I end up having to copy them to a documents folder. Must be a way to find them directly, no?
- XCD KNIGHT
- Posts: 1239
- Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:25 am
- Location: New Hampshire
- Ski style: Bumps, trees, and steeps and long woodsy XC tours
- Favorite Skis: DH: Voile Objective and V6, Altai KOMs, Atomic Vantage 85, XC: Gamme 54, Classy Woodies
- Favorite boots: T4, Alaska
- Occupation: Retro Rager-grouch
It was a great day to be out. I met a split boarder up there whom we had met the day before, he had just moved to Ak. three days ago. We climbed about 600' I put skins on for the last three hundred feet of steeper climbing. The day started with poor visability like on Sunday but we had full sun by the time we started back down. We found the best snow on the north side of a small bump below the spot that we skinned to. We did about short 6 or 7 runs there, I climbed with fishscales and Bob booted up. The ride back to the truck was great too. It was a long moderately steep run where I had the Vectors going faster than ever before. They were really stable but I could have used a longer pair.
It was a great day in parsdise. As nice as the weather was it was the snow conditions that made it such an epic day.