Most of the time on the east side I find myself constantly moving, either pushing desperately for a summit or descending eagerly back to safety, but in that moment I found peace and happiness and the ability to bask unconcerned.
As I rounded the lake, a striking peak near its outlet came into view and I knew immediately that the plan was kaput. I didn’t care if this peak would even count for a bonus on the Challenge, or if I’d have enough energy to continue on to the Challenge Peak; I had to climb this peak!
The views in all directions were spectacular and for the first time, I was able to identify all of the major summits (as well as a few minor summits in the Cathedral Crest)!
This was much more technical than I’d expected. Secor’s description indicated that there was a small amount of class 4 climbing but I found that nearly 90% of the 300 ft from the couloir was high consequence, fairly technical climbing!
Now that we were off the steepest snow and there were fewer consequences, we took a raucous descent of the snowfield. I was surprised by how much fun glissading was!
Kevin eyed the gully for a second before deciding he didn’t want any of it and he too turned around to take a mellower route. I decided to take my chances but soon found my tails sliding out from under me and next thing I knew I was sliding downhill head first. Casey rounded the corner just in time to see me carom past a large pine at the outlet of the gully.
I don’t even recall meeting a significant stream crossing when I’d taken the trail in October. Now, it seemed like at least two feet of water buried a fifteen foot stretch of trail.
After talking a big game all season, Rafee finally found himself a ski touring setup and was looking to break in his new equipment.
After climbing one particular waterfall, the entire forest suddenly transitioned to zombie cedars and the sunlight filtered through the toothpicks providing a magical light. Rafee and I agreed that it felt as if we’d just stumbled into Rivendell!
To follow a long day of hiking with mediocre skiing, I wanted to give Zach a more standard Tahoe backcountry experience: good snow, challenging terrain, and exceptional views!