August Aggression Session on The Sisters – Tahoe, CA

Casey Cane | BackcountryBackcountry | Trip ReportTrip Report

The 17/18 season is about to begin with snow starting to fall…

…the perfect time to recount some Summer stoke in Tahoe!

Was there really ski turns still to be had in late August???


Tahoe: August 20th – 25th 2017



How big was winter 2016/17 in the Tahoe region? The answer: humans skiing non-glaciated terrain at the end of August!

At around 6AM of August 24th, Joe Stewart and I ventured out on HWY 88 from South Lake Tahoe en route to Woods Lake. By just before 7AM, we were on the trail up towards The Sisters to find some late August turns. The Sisters are a few tall peaks (just above 10,000 feet) located due East of Kirkwood that hold north facing pockets of snow well into late Summer.

We knew there would be snow, however, the big question for late Summer skiing is the state of the suncups. Massive suncups equate to the worst possible skiing surface known to man. Luckily, with the sun shining and a relatively easy hike up to the ski boot transition zone, we were greeted by a long steep slope with minimal suncups. Yippie!

With crampons in tow, I was able to climb up to the top of the snowfield with relative ease. After making a nice platform to step into my bindings, it was time to slay some August snow. Better than expected? Yes. Still a bit frozen in the morning? Well, that too. We ended doing two laps down to Roundtop Lake with a little detour on my second lap to air over a bergschrund.

Why not? Its late August!


Summer in Lake Tahoe is hard to beat with plenty of options to keep you busy…

Mt. Tallac – South Lake Tahoe, CA

Boating is obviously a scenic way to enjoy the lake…

Vintage boating – West Shore – Lake Tahoe, CA

That sun is strong, so better where that pair of original Oakleys…

Grom wearing the classics…

I prefer boating to Rubicon Bay, bringing some lunch, enjoying some crisp white wine and then going for a even crispier swim…

Rubicon Point, CA

The water is refreshingly cool and clear…

Taking a dip into Lake Tahoe…

Even the kids will do some underwater photography…

Underwater greetings – Lake Tahoe

However, be prepared as afternoon thunderstorms are always a possibility…

Looming thunderheads above Lake Tahoe…

Obexers is a great place to tie up the boat, grab supplies, fuel and be on your way…

‘Dad, you should be watching me!’

Another place to visit by boat is the West Shore Cafe for dinner…

West Shore Cafe – Homewood, CA

The sunsets are unreal and the boat ride back home is generally much calmer after dinner…

West Shore Cafe – Homewood, CA

The sunsets can provide a perfect end to an already awesome day…

Stunning sunset – South Lake Tahoe, CA

Just 30 mins after leaving South Lake Tahoe its Time to go skiing??????

Woods Lake Campground, CA

From Woods Lake, just jump on this trail and follow the signs to Winnemucca Lake…

Trail to summer skiing…

When you get to Winnemucca Lake, just follow the trail up toward Round Top Peak…

Joe under Round Top Peak…

Joe stumbles upon our first sight of our line…

The Sisters – Carson Pass, CA

The landscape had signs of the big winter everywhere…

Carson Pass snow bridge – August 24th, 2017

I’ve been coming to this area since I was a kid and its still just as fun as it was 300 years ago…

Casey Cane under The Sisters – August 24th, 2017

From this point, you can see The Sisters down to Caples Lake and beyond…

Summer skier on the Sisters

Blue skies, no wind, perfect temps and a legitimate ski run for late August? OH BOY!

The Sisters – August 24th, 2017

In the past, you are able to climb up to that top patch and ski right through, so hopefully it will still go..

The Sisters – Carson Pass, CA

However, we still need to get a lot before we transition into our ski gear…

Joe above Caples Lake, CA

I’m pretty sure that this snow will be here until next Summer…

New Sierra glacier? – Carson Pass, CA

The approach was starting to get a bit steeper…

Summer ski touring in California…

As it turned out, we were able to wear hiking shoes almost to the top…

Hiking with skis and boots attached to a a backpack…

Just a few more steps and I’ll be able to throw on some plastic ski boots!!!!

Casey Cane showing proper traversing technique…

There’s a nice shelf right here next to the ski line to put on your gear…

Joe takes a breather…

And just like that Joe is making some steep turns…

Summer skiing slayage on The Sisters…

Now it was my turn to reach the summit of the snowfield…

Spiderman begins to scale the chute…

View from the top of the line and its not shabby given the time of the year…

Casey Cane in the ‘Moment’ before dropping in…

To my surprise, the skiing exceeded all reasonable expectations…

Casey Cane skiing The Sisters – August 24th, 2017

The top of the line was perfectly smooth…

POV of the chute from the first turns…

The crux required a bit of maneuvering but manageable…

Skiing in late August? Yup.

Ok, the snow got a bit firm down below but its ALMOST SEPTEMBER!

Skier skiing above Round Top Lake – August 24th, 2017

I searched for powder but this was the closest thing I found…

Summer skiing near Tahoe…

I stumbled upon this bergschrund and figured I should jump it…why not?

Bergschrund above Round Top Lake, CA

The turns above the gap were pleasantly steep…

Skier gets extreme in late August…

After two laps, our day was done…

The Sisters, CA – August 24th, 2017

Heading back to Woods Lake, the snow bridges above the creeks were still amazing…

Carson Pass snow bridge – August 24th, 2017

The next couple of days were spent near or on the lake…

Morning beach coffee vibes – South Lake Tahoe, CA

People around here are skiers and it shows…

Can you really go off-piste on a lake? Hmmmmm…

Time to take out the Sea Doo for a leisurely ride before heading back to San Francisco…



TIME TO TAKE THE BOAT OUT OF THE WATER…



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4 thoughts on “August Aggression Session on The Sisters – Tahoe, CA

  1. Brutal sun cups! Ran into fins and sun cups after summiting Mt Shasta. Skiing off the summit was awesome corn, but the mountain changed the stoke to survival skiing once the cups took over.

      1. Cheers to that! Yeah, the 8 hour Shasta climb sapped my legs quite a bit. Hoping to avoid the cups next year and hit it a little earlier season. Just praying for another good season…

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