Of Tahoe’s backcountry skiing destinations, one stands above the rest- Mt. Tallac.  Backcountry Skiing Mt. Tallac is probably one of the most alluring goals for Tahoe skiers, as the peak rises 3300′ from lake level- not the highest summit in Tahoe, but the most dramatic. I had skied it in mid-winter conditions in early 2011, again in 2013, but snow level shad been too high in the past few years to be able to ski from the trailhead.

Although 2015 is closing out with only slightly more snow than average,  the contrast with the previous years makes the skiers in the basin feel like they’re in heaven. As one of my goals is skiing all of Tallac’s bowls, I’ve been watching the mountain fill in whenever I’m out walking the dog.  And it felt like it was time to go check it out.

Mike Garry and I had been talking about a mid-week afternoon mission, and he was motivated to try out Tallac.  We both wanted to put in a full day of work, so crammed our respective report-writing into a busy morning, and hit the trailhead at 1:30PM.

I hand’t been sure whether people had been skiing Tallac, but we found that the skintrack was practically destroyed by the throngs which had passed by (we saw 12 people on our way up, on a Wednesday afternoon).  Snowshoers had romped over the skintrack, dogs had left their business, and one particularly heinous criminal simply postholed down 2/3 of the skintrack. The backcountry is getting crowded…

Clouds were rolling in as we tagged the summit, blocking views of Desolation Wilderness. As a consolation prize, we gaped down the narrow throat of the Cross Couloir–  I swore that I could see the trace of somebody’s descent in the wind-scoured flutes guarding the entrance…

We side-slipped from the summit into the dust-on-crust Northeast Bowl, and then down into some quality steep tree skiing. A few photos of a breathtaking sunset, then we were racing down to the trees, and trying to get out the road before dark.  I managed to make it to the car without a headlamp, but just barely…

A good way to close out 2015. Strava trace here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.