It’s been a pretty low snow year, this is not a peak I would have gone after this time of year normally. I would have waited till Feb/March time frame when there is more snow for snowshoeing and the avalanche danger was LOW. I think it’s pretty obvious from the featured image that the snow was pretty much no consequence this trip. In a nutshell, parked at the lower Carson Pass lot and walked the 1.5 miles of the PCT before it starts to drop down into the Meiss Meadow/Showers Lake area, and just hooked up towards the spine that makes up the Alpine/El Dorado county line. One way is 5.8 miles. If you are doing this between November and May and parking at Carson Pass make sure you have a California Sno-Park pass ($96.00 fine). Also if it is a good snow year parking can be tough because you are competing with a lot more backcountry skiers/snowboarders who like to ride the Red Lake Bowl, or if parking at the upper lot is full. There are some closer options too, or you can always backpack into Showers Lake area, but that will be a pretty tough side trip because you have a lot more elevation to climb to get back to the ridge. So the bulk of the elevation is gained in the first 1.5 miles, and once you reach the first high point/unnamed peak and make the spine the elevation gain/drops are all pretty small. I managed to not need my ice axe even though I carried it thru the day.
The top of this peak is a pretty large flat area, and the rock make up is the same as Pyramid peak, the reflection is pretty good. I had 8 QSO on 20m in 12 minutes (most came within the first 5 minutes). Picked up a few new chasers on this trip, W5GAI in Mississippi and KH2TJ for an S2S up by Portola, CA. (I love me some Summit to Summit!!). Also had W7BET who was sitting on a beach in South Tahoe (Beaches On the Air needs to be a thing 🙂 ).
I only found 2 contacts on 40m, and picked up a 2m contact while actually looking for a fellow SLT SOTA activator in the area.
BTW, hiking with the flu in a heavy sustained wind is hard, I think the windburn I had on my nose (wore a balaclava) was more harsh then any sunburn I received this summer. I have had 20 mile day hikes that did not make me feel this rough :D. Oh well stop your bitching, you were outside enjoying the sun and unseasonable warmth! As Todd Offenbacher would say…”Never waste a day!”.
This peak is across the valley from Kirkwood Ski Resort, and has a couple of cell towers available (but you will need to move around for it). Actually Kirkwood’s larger cross country ski area is directly below the ridge crest you walk in. I had contemplated scouting that parking area but .
This is what I have been using for a setup of late. Antenna in an inverted vee off of a 15 foot telescoping Crappie Pole. KX2, 4200mAH battery, and well using the sit pad to keep the radio gear off the snow..(found a nice rock to sit on).
Some other images taken from the summit. It’s definitely got some good views to the North, South and West (blocked on the east by the Stevens/Red Lake peak spine. BTW those are also SOTA summits too. I have yet to get RLK, but have completed Stevens peak.
Interesting view looking north towards big blue and the SLT Airport visible too.