Stevens Peak, CA
January 13, 2002

A post-holiday warm spell brought high pressure, clear skies, and sunbaked snow to the Tahoe area. A group of TahoeBC listers met for a day trip to Stevens Peak, above Hope Valley east of Kirkwood and Carson Pass. A bit of rain earlier in the week made for less than ideal conditions, but then again, any opportunity to climb in short sleeves during the dark days of January must be utilized.

Spring skiing in January? Yeah, maybe I love California.

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From a pull-out on CA-88, Stevens Peak is a steady climb through sparse woods and open snowfields.

Nate appreciates the ethos of "earn your turns."

Jenn hikes up the steep pitch below the summit. The Sierra Crest rises in the background.

Perfect terrain opens up west of the summit. Our descent route began in the saddle just right of the cornice and dropped straight down into the bowl.

The last pitch is a challenge for ski-bearing humans or their four-legged companions.

From the summit, we sit in the warm California sun and enjoy views of Kirkwood, the Sierra Crest, and Lake Tahoe to the north.

Hope Valley

Just over Carson Pass from Kirkwood.

Paul skins up above treeline toward the summit cone of Stevens.

Carl surveys the fine terrain below the peak.

Above the snow-covered slopes, the rocky summit cone rises for another several hundred feet.

Seriously steep terrain is available on the north-facing slopes. Lake Tahoe appears on the horizon.

The Summit

From here, we enjoyed 2,700' of continous descent, including firm, windpacked snow, refrozen corn, soft corn, slush, sun crush, rain crust, refrozen sludge. It's all about variety.
(photo courtesy Eric Ongerth)

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