As some of you know I was invited down to the Tahoe area last weekend by lifelong friend Greg Olsen to do some XC skiing. It was a GREAT experience. We did three day-trips in the Kit Carson Pass area. Although we got late starts,we squeezed every inch of time/adventure and did a Grand Tour of this area.
For you SAC'sters out there, I would highly recommend this area for ski mountaineering, especially in the early spring. We just caught the end of the good snow in the higher elevations. This is broad, open territory with great views and large, open bowls.
Our itinerary was as follows:
On Saturday we left the pass at 12:30 and skied into Winnemucca Lake in Mokelumne Wilderness. Then we ascended SW to the 10,000' saddle on the west side of the pinnacle. We experienced all kinds of weather. On the ascent we had thunder and some snow (we learned later they closed Kirkwood ski area, just 2-3 miles away, due to lightning). Immediately upon descending, we were engulfed in a brief whiteout and plunging temperatures. The steep upper slopes turned to ice. Thank goodness for metal edges.
Luckily for us this passed quickly and the clouds left, giving us fantastic alpine glows in the late afternoon. As we descended, the ice to turned to more friendly corn snow and allowed us a safe descent through the bowls and trees to the trailhead, just as it turned dark.