Basin Peak sits just north of Interstate 80 in the northern portion of the Sierra Nevada range and in close proximity to Lake Tahoe and Truckee. A ridge connects it to Castle Peak forming a bowl know as Round Valley. This area is very popular but unlike its neighbor to the south does not see as much traffic. In the winter this whole area is very popular with skiers and boarders because of the reletively flat, easy approach and the gentle wide open bowl of Round Valley.
There is no technical climbing needed as all sides of this peak are of low angle.
Take Interstate 80 to the Castle Peak/Boreal Ridge exit. In the winter it is often necesary to park at either the Sno-Park or the Boreal Ridge parking lot. Both are on the south side of the freeway. Otherwise everyone just parks on the road to the north of the freeway exit where it is paved, free and often crowded.
For information on Sno-Park fees and permits:
The most popular route starts at the road just north of I-80 at the Castle Peak/Boreal Ridge exit. The road is paved for an eighth of a mile or so up to the gate where it turns into a dirt road and heads north. Where the road terminates (after about one mile) head north to the saddle and continue north into and directly across Round Valley. The southern slope/ridge of Basin Peak can then be climbed or one can continue along the PCT and head east up the west slope. An alternat route is to follow the gentle and obvious ridge from the saddle of Andesite Peak and Castle Peak right on up to just below the false summit of Castle Peak and then continue north along the obvious ridge to Basin Peak.
When To Climb
Any time of year this peak can be climbed.
Typical Sierra winter weather patterns are encountered here and the summers are usually mild to warm.
This is such a short endeavor that camping is just not necessary except perhaps in the winter when you may like to make a weekend out of it skiing. In that case the famous Peter Grubb Hut is an excellent option. For a nominal fee you and several others can stay in this rustic hut, which is right smack in the middle of Round Valley. Its location facilitates making laps from Castle Peak to the east, Basin Peak to the north and everywhere in between. The hut is available through the Sierra Club:
By virtue of its location and orientation, the Sierra Nevada mountain range is the first area that receives significant precipitation in the form of snow. Many tales of people at odds with extraordinary winter weather originate from the area of Donner Pass including the famous Donner party. Weather data has been gathered here for over 130 years and can be accessed online. Please take a look at weather historian Mark McLaughlins home page:
Considering how much snow this area receives it should come as no surprise that the ridge between Castle and Basin Peak and a portion of the north ridge of Basin Peak usually become corniced in the winter. So, here is a link to the local avy report:
Local weather report:
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