10,049′ Stevens Peak, CA Backcountry Trip Report + Photo Tour: As Smooth As It Gets…

Miles Clark | | Trip ReportTrip Report
Katy & Rick eyeing Hope Valley. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Katy & Rick eyeing Hope Valley. photo: miles clark/snowbrains

Katy, Rick, and I rallied down to 10,049′ Stevens Peak near Kirkwood, CA to visit an old friend today.  When I first moved to Tahoe right after college, I lived in South Lake Tahoe, skied Kirkwood, and spent Springs kooking it up in the Carson Pass backcountry in alpine ski boots, no skins, and no clues.  Stevens Peak and Red Lake Peak were favorites of ours back then and it was great to be back with solid gear and a few more clues.

Right off highway 88, we walked snow patch to snow patch for about 15 minutes before hitting solid snow coverage.  The skin up to the shoulder was smooth sailing with a bit of sliding out near the crest in steeper spots due to slushy snow.

Katy and bizarre rock formations today. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Katy showing some leg and bizarre rock formations today. photo: miles clark/snowbrains

Once on the ridge, an east wind cooled things off and kept the snow crisp.  Views of Lake Tahoe, bizarre rock formations, and Desolation Wilderness pumped us up on the final pitch.

We dropped into the Comma Couloir at 11:45am and the snow was perfect.  Soft, smooth, responsive, and fun.  The first few turns were steep and puckery before giving way to wide open glory turns on the apron below.  We traversed hard right at the bottom of the apron to get to the treeless, rolling east ridge-line that skied like a dream.

Katy being smooth. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Katy being smooth. photo: miles clark/snowbrains

The perfectly smooth, 2-3″ deep, well-manicured corn on the rolling terrain gave a sensation of surfing and flying at the same time.

Once in the forest, we planned on following our skin track down but missed it and ended up following a snow finger fall-line as far as it would take us.  As we delved deeper into the rabbit hole, I began to worry about our positioning as I knew we were way east of the car.  It accidentally worked out splendiferously as this magical snow finger led us to within 100-yards of highway 88.

Stevens Peak today. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Stevens Peak today. photo: miles clark/snowbrains

Flips flops on, a 0.3 mile walk back to the car along the highway, high fives, and a burrito in South Lake Tahoe capped the day off nicely.  

It’s good to meet up with old friends.

PHOTO TOUR:

Rick slush spray today. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Rick slush spray today. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Rick dropping into the Comma Couloir today. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Rick dropping into the Comma Couloir today. photo: miles clark/snowbrains

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Fannette Island, Lake Tahoe's only Isle. Today. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Fannette Island, Lake Tahoe’s only Isle. Today. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Far Gnar looking south from the summit of Stevens Peak today. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Far Gnar looking south from the summit of Stevens Peak today. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Post ski stoke. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Post ski stoke. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Katy & Stevens. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Katy & Stevens. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
The crew, minus Rick's head. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
The crew, minus Rick’s head. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, CA today. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, CA today. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Rick in perfect corn today. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Rick in perfect corn today. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Stevens Peak today. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Stevens Peak today. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, CA this morning. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, CA this morning. photo: miles clark/snowbrains

 

Kirkwood's Cirque is looking good and is open daily the rest of the season.
Kirkwood’s Cirque is looking good and is open daily the rest of the season.
Rick on the final approach today. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Rick on the final approach today. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Red Lake Peak looked prime today. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Red Lake Peak looked prime today. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
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Cool rock formations on Stevens. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Walking out today. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Walking out today. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Highway ramblin'. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Highway ramblin’. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Looking back to Stevens. photo: miles clark/snowbrains
Looking back to Stevens. photo: miles clark/snowbrains

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3 thoughts on “10,049′ Stevens Peak, CA Backcountry Trip Report + Photo Tour: As Smooth As It Gets…

  1. Looking good, guys!

    When are you taking a trip to rip up Mammoth? Do I hear “lazy river”!!???

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