Mount Tallac - NE Ridge
Location: South Lake Tahoe, California
Team: Joe (josephg) and myself
Roughly 6.5 miles and 3400+ ft
I know this is a 9er and in California so it may not be to everyone's liking but I thought I'd share a trip report because it was a pretty cool mountain and a nearly perfect day out.
I agreed to spend a weekend in Tahoe with my girlfriend and a bunch of her friends. They all board - I don't. I decided to ask a few climbing friends of mine if they wanted to come out and save me from a day of embarrassing myself on the slopes and try to climb a mountain. Fortunately the combination of mountain and beers was enough to convince Joe to book a flight and gamble on the winter weather to give Tallac a go.
I focused my research on Tallac because it came highly recommended from a partner on a summer hike in Squaw (a Lake Tahoe area resort). After checking out the basic info on summitpost it became evident that this would be a relatively nice, avy safe ridge hike that was close to our cabin - it's also on the SPS Peak list (but that's not super important at this point). The week before the hike it was brought to my attention that Mount Tallac dominates the views from South Lake Tahoe and that we'd be able to see the mountain from our deck and living room. That was a major added bonus.
We set the alarm for 6:00am Saturday morning. It was a pleasant change of pace to be so close to the mountain the morning of the hike without having to spend the night in a sleeping bag. We arrived at the th and started hiking a little after 7. The first mile was on a private road that was completely iced over. Then we hiked through snow and trees to gain the ridge. Once we climbed up to the ridge it was a matter of simply following it to the summit.
We decided to leave the snowshoes at home and were very nervous all morning because we thought we'd be swimming back to the car. Fortunately the snow stayed firm enough to encourage plunge stepping but not post-holing on the return. We even managed to get in a glissade or 2. One additional note - we didn't see anyone on the mountain until 11 or so at which point we saw roughly 12 people in 4 groups (most planning to ride the mountain).
View of Tallac after leaving the road and hiking through the forest
Mountain to the North of Tallac topped with clouds
Terrain to get up on the ridge
Me checking out the mountain
Some wind formed snow
Tallac's early cloud covering
The clouds burning off
Image #9 (not yet uploaded)
Crossing the high snow slope to gain access to the summit ridge
Near Tallac's summit looking West
Me as I approach the summit
Joe atop Tallac with Tahoe as a backdrop
Checking out the views
The upper mountain looking sharp
The next picture was taken from our cabin. If you'd like to follow our descent you can. From the summit we dropped down and to the right plunge stepping down the snow field and regaining the ridge. We stayed atop the ridge through that heavily treed section and then did a descending traverse down to the rib. We followed the rib down to the bottom of that bowl and then back to the forested section just before we rejoined the road.
Tallac from out deck - our whole route is visible
All told we were back at the cabin with a beer in hand by 1:30 or so. Great weather + fun mountain + good people = a great weekend in Tahoe. Joe thanks again for coming out. We'll have to do it again some time (and fear not I'll be in Colorado at least once this summer).