Castle Peak – Tahoe National Forest

Basics: Castle Peak (9104′) is a prominent mountain close to Donner Pass on I-80. It’s a popular destination for summer hiking and winter snowshoeing or backcountry skiing. The summit is about 3 miles (and 1800′) from the trailhead. In the winter, much of the trail is well graded and easy to follow. The last half mile or so up to the summit is pretty steep. Most people we saw were using snowshoes, but if conditions were really icy, crampons and an ice axe might be a bit easier. Continue reading “Castle Peak – Tahoe National Forest”

Mount Saint Helens

Basics: This is a challenging winter climb to the summit of an active volcano in the Cascade Range.  The weather is unpredictable, but on a clear day the views are well worth the effort.  The hike from this particular route is approximately 12 miles roundtrip with an elevation gain of over 5700 feet.  There is one other trail (with less elevation gain) to the summit, but it can only be accessed when the road to Climber’s Bivouac is free of snow.  Parking is free but permits are required anywhere above 4800 ft. Continue reading “Mount Saint Helens”

Mount Judah at Sugar Bowl

Basics: If you have been to Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, you may have already been to the top of Mt. Judah – the Summit Chair above Mt. Judah Express takes you nearly to the top. Unfortunately this isn’t Switzerland, and they don’t run the chairs year-round, so if you want to get to the top in early June when there’s crazy amounts of snow still on the mountain, you’ve got to get up there yourself. The route we took was about 4 miles round trip, with about 1200 feet of elevation gain – sounds easy but walking side-slope on snow at elevation adds some difficulty. Continue reading “Mount Judah at Sugar Bowl”