OHE May 25, 1998

Date: Mon, 25 May 1998 06:33:31 -1000
Subject: Re: Sierra Nevada Mountains

I finally went out on a hike yesterday. After two weeks of acclimating my body to the altitude of Lake Tahoe (6,300'), I decided to challenge the snow and hike to the the Tahoe Rim Trail. I hope to complete this hike in the next couple of years and just could not wait any longer for summer to arrive. (As I compose, it is now 8:43am PST Monday.) It is also snowing as I look out my basement window. Summer comes late to the mountains according to National Geographic.

I drove five miles up the Mt. Rose Hiway (431) from my place in Incline Village. I parked my car on the side of the rode with other cars whose occupants were primarily tubing on the snow.

The altitude was 8,000' and from a visual it looked as though I would climb another 1,000' or so. (Surprise, surprise. What I was seeing was a false summit and I would actually climb 2,100').

I was wearing my hiking / fishing boots (same thing to me), heavy wool socks, jeans, a long sleeve shirt, light jacket (however with polartec and zipped to the chin), a hat, and sunglasses. Gloves, a wool cap, binoculars, a camera and a quart of water were in my pack. Since I was hiking alone, I left a note on the front seat with my itinerary.

I crossed 431 and began my half mile trudge thru snow. I was sinking about 2 to 3 inches so the going was good. I had a firm footing for most of the hike, only occasionally sinking to my upper thigh.

I hiked straight up the hill...taking no prisoners. When I reached the top of the first hill, I was breathing heavily and my heart was racing. I also realized that it was a false summit and that my twenty minute estimate was correct...but not for reaching the true summit.

At this point I headed for some bare spots of stage brush and began to create my own switchbacks as the angle of ascent increased. The wind was increasing as I reached higher elevations. I also thought of the bears and mountain lions that frequent the Sierra Nevada Range. (Killer rats...come on you guys!)

I summited after 52 minutes of hard hiking. The wind was probably 30 - 40 mph at the summit. The sun had peaked out from behind the gray clouds, but at 5:00 pm did not provide any warmth.

A panoramic view provided a good look at the eastern half of Lake Tahoe, I think Washoe Lake to the north, Mt. Rose Ski Resort (the summit of which I looked straight across to...10,200').

I took some pictures as evidence for my brother and friends (be there any doubting Thomases amongst the group.)

I only stayed at the summit for ten minutes. I started to get cold and my shirt was wet from sweat. (What's the name of that material that draws sweat away from your body?)

I pretty much was able to jog down the mountain, only switching back when it became too steep to go straight down the fall line.

Quick but exhausting hike. Back in Incline Village within 2 1/2 hours of leaving. Got a small taste of the Tahoe Rim Trail (late winter version) and look forward to doing more this summer!

Aloha, Doug

P.S. Fueled by Reece's Peanut Butter Cups!

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