OverviewLocated just south along the ridge from Jakes Peak and overlooking Emerald Bay, Emerald Point is perhaps one of the finest features of the Lake Tahoe Basin. It offers world class skiing, panoramic views, sport climbing below at Mayhem Cove, endless bouldering on spectacular knobby golden granite and even has several fun long adventure traditional climbs along the south buttress. Steep, serrated gendarmes line the ridges amongst wind blasted gnarled junipers and pines. A mountaineer's paradise!
Another 'Emerald Point' can be found on some maps and forms the northern tip of Emerald Bay (Eagle Point is the southern tip). The kayaking in Emerald Bay is spectacular and the tour from Rubicon Point to Emerald Bay is tied with only the tour from Sand Harbor to Secret Harbor as the finest on Lake Tahoe (both are HIGHLY recommended).
Getting ThereFrom Tahoe City, head south on Hwy 89. Once you can see Emerald Bay, look up and right and you will see the golden serrated granite ridges rising to the sky. From South Lake Tahoe, head north on Hwy 89. Similarly, once you round the bend near the Maggie's Peak overlook, set your eyes to the northwest and you will see Emerald Point in all its glory!
Several parking options exist.
1. A large pullout is exists on the west side of Hwy 89 during all seasons adjacent to the USFS parking area.
2. The USFS parking area allows access to the Eagle Lake Trail and the myriad fun activities that exist here. It costs $5 to park here. A fill-out-your-own wilderness permit kiosk can be found here.
3. During the winter, the road can be closed during and after storms due to avalanche hazard to the road. In this case, park at the plow turnaround by the gate on the north end of Emerald Bay. I am unsure as to where to park in this situation if coming from South Lake Tahoe
4. A parking area also exists on the east side of the road 250ft north of 1 and 2. I do not know about parking here for extended periods in the summertime; it is not plowed during winter.
During high season, parking can be tough to find, so start early!
Red TapeDuring summer, a $5 use fee may be assessed if parking in the USFS maintained parking lot.
CampingWithin three or so miles, normal camping can be found at Rubicon, Eagle Point, Vikingsholm, and Bayview. These sites can be very crowded and are probably not cheap, but offer excellent access to activities.
If you prefer to camp on the mountain, bivy sites can be achieved at various points near the summit. The view is worth the heavy backpack if you chose this route.
SkiingSkiing and snowboarding should only be attempted in this region in safe avalanche conditions due to the exposed nature of the approach and descents.
Approach via the large east-facing gully separating Jake's Peak from Emerald Point. Total vertical gain is approximately 2395 feet.
Superb powder and corn skiing exist on this slope and the south aspects of Jake's Peak. The more northerly aspects have steep tree skiing that can offer deep powder skiing even when eastern or south aspects are fantastic corn.
From the summit, the Emerald Chutes offer the most aesthetic and enjoyable descents from Emerald Point.
Emerald Chute 1 is the crown jewel. A steep entrance, dramatic rock walls, sparse but beautiful trees, and a fall line that takes you directly into Emerald Bay make this a descent not to be missed. You will ski through some willows and manzanita unless coverage is very high. Several cliff bands must generally be navigated, but no air is required.
You will have to skin back up along the road, stash a bike, or walk (maybe a 1/4 mile back to car). In spring conditions, one can just bootpack directly up the chute. A frequent avalancher, care must be taken when enjoying this line.
Emerald Chute 2 offers a similar experience to number 1 but is wider and more moderately angled. The apron from this chute connects back to the entrance gully if you cut skiers left at the bottom.
ClimbingSection 20 (III 5.7) (variations up to 5.10 possible) follows the direct south buttress and ends just south of the summit. Depending on the route chosen, the difficulties can vary between easy fifth and 5.10. Ample bouldering can be done along the way and long sections of 4th class will likely be encountered with loose rock and sandy cracks. Start by finding the toe of the buttress after wandering through manzanita. Several options exist, chose whatever looks cleanest and most fun. Plenty of variations exist on this climb. By staying on the arete proper, difficulties will increase but so will rock quality. Several other shorter routes exist near the base of the route. Descend by heading southwest down the 2nd-3rd class rock and manzanita slopes until you reach a creek, then follow this down to the Eagle Lakes Trail. Bring mosquito repellent in the summer!
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