Snowshoeing to the Peter Grubb Hut

April 1st marks the average maximum snowpack date for most years in the Sierra. In other words, if you want to see the most possible snow on the ground in California, early April is probably a good time to head to the mountains. The Peter Grubb hut is one of several old Sierra Club huts around the Tahoe region. It’s a relatively easy hike and in winter, it makes for a great ski or snowshoe trek. Continue reading “Snowshoeing to the Peter Grubb Hut”

Death Valley: Charcoal Kilns to Bennett Peak

Camping in the winter? Yes! Death Valley National Park is the hottest and driest place in North America, making winter an ideal time to visit. While Bennett Peak (9980′) can be hiked year round, it is especially impressive on a clear winter day when there is snow on the ground. From the top, one can see the highest and lowest points in the contiguous United States. Continue reading “Death Valley: Charcoal Kilns to Bennett Peak”

Tinker Knob in the Winter

When our friends booked out the Lost Trail Lodge for a weekend, we jumped at the opportunity to explore some new terrain. Apparently it’s called the Lost Trail because nobody goes there. I can confirm that very few people venture back in Coldstream Canyon, compared to other places in the Tahoe area. The only tracks we followed all day were from snowmobiles. Continue reading “Tinker Knob in the Winter”

Snow Mountain

Last week, as I was making plans to visit the Snow Mountain Wilderness, I discovered that the vast majority of people I talked to had never heard of Snow Mountain. This is too bad because efforts are underway to create a Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. This would protect the land for future generations while improving coordination between the agencies who plan for fires, manage recreation and clear out invasive species and/or marijuana grow sites. There is already a lot of support for the proposed National Monument, but if more people knew about the area, there might be greater momentum behind the cause. Continue reading “Snow Mountain”

Red Lake Peak

On this day in 1844, John C. Fremont and Charles Preuss summited Red Lake Peak. It wasn’t a particularly impressive climb, or circumstance; it was however the first documentation of an identifiable peak climbed in the Sierra. Surely many people climbed peaks before this, but since this blog is a place where we document climbs of peaks (and other hikes), the 171st anniversary of the first documented peak climb seems significant.  In any case, repeating this climb seemed like the best possible way to spend a Valentine’s Day. Continue reading “Red Lake Peak”

Pyramid Peak via Rocky Canyon

We’ve attempted and failed to hike Pyramid Peak more times than I’d like to admit. Poor planning, late starts and crappy weather have all thwarted past attempts. Our friend Nolan has had a similar experience. After climbing far more challenging peaks, we (jokingly) began to wonder if we’d ever make it to the top of “the elusive Pyramid Peak.”

Finally, this past weekend we made it happen. The weather was looking to be perfect. We chose the most direct route – Rocky Canyon from Highway 50. We were determined to finally knock this one off our list. Continue reading “Pyramid Peak via Rocky Canyon”

White Mountain Peak

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At 14,252-ft, White Mountain Peak is the third tallest peak in California.  It is located in the White Mountain range, east of the Sierra Nevada in Mono County.  The peak is often considered California’s easiest 14er.  A dirt road goes all the way to the summit.  Some people reach the top on mountain bikes.  The hike is a long one though – 14 miles roundtrip with approximately 2000-ft of elevation gain.  Hikers are often defeated and turned back by extreme winds or the high altitude.  It is by no means an easy walk. Continue reading “White Mountain Peak”

Schulman Grove Loop – Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

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This 4 mile loop snakes through one of several bristlecone pine groves in the White Mountains of California.  The bristlecones are the oldest living trees (and the oldest living anything) on earth!  This trail is pretty far “out there,” but these trees are incredible and definitely worth a visit.  The hike itself is at 9,500 to 10,500-ft elevation and has several hundred feet of up and down.  There is a visitor center at the trailhead.  There is also an option for a shorter 1 mile loop with equally spectacular views of the ancient bristlecones. Continue reading “Schulman Grove Loop – Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest”