Friday, January 4, 2013

Relay to Rose Traverse

I can't say I regret moving to Bend: I have glaciated mountains on my doorstep, great access to ski touring, and world class rock climbing just down the road. That said, part of me always misses Reno and the Sierra Nevada: the solid granite rock and easy access to steep, high mountains is really amazing. So being home for the holidays I was very excited for the possibilities.

Overlooking Tahoe from a ski tour two years ago in Mt. Rose Wilderness.
The snow is deep in the Sierra for this early in the season and the snow storms have just kept coming. A window of sunny weather finally showed up on the forecast and I started planning what to do. Having no partner for ice climbing or steep skiing I set my sights on an overnight ski tour traversing the Carson Range (a sub range of the Sierra NE of Tahoe) from north to south. Unfortunately the next storm pushed in sooner than expected and I settled for a single day tour instead.

Tahoe in Sunny weather as I head into the mountains.
I drove to the south end of the range, parking in Mt. Rose Meadows at 8500'. I skied north up the valley, gaining a ridge that took me to the summit of Relay Peak (10,338'). From there I traversed a long ridge to Mt. Houghton (10,490') and skied down a short but steep couloir to the saddle beneath Mt. Rose (10,776' highest in the Carson Range). I skied up the ridge towards Rose, eventually stashing my skies due to exposed rock and rime ice, and continuing on foot to the summit. High winds on the ridge gave way to relative calm, allowing me to take some photos before my regluar NiMH batteries succumbed to the cold. I descended to my skis, skied to the saddle, ascended a skin track over the south ridge of Houghton and traversed west and down a creek bed to the meadow and my car. Total time was a little over 6 hours.

Heading up toward Relay Peak, the summit in the upper right.
No Bikes doesn't quite pertain to this season. My tracks coming along the ridge from Relay Peak.
Mt. Rose in the distance while skinning up to Relay.
The summit of Mt. Houghton looking west. Relay Peak on the left.

The couloir descending Houghton to the saddle beneath Mt. Rose is left of the towers.
Self photo on Mt. Rose summit with Lake Tahoe in the background.
Snowing and cloudy as I ski back to the car. So much for a full day of sun.

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