The CrewThe crew from "Snowboarding Bums in Dharma Land" were back, ready to ride something delicious after a year of resort riding, job schedules, relationships, and school had kept us apart. Hippy had moved onto San Francisco for school, but Manbeast, Old Man and I have held down the fort in Tahoe, training at Alpine Meadows & Northstar for the epic lines we pictured when spring touring season rolled around.
(From the left: Old Man, Me, Hippy, and Manbeast)
Messing AroundIn strict Tahoe-time style, we left Truckee around midnight and didn't start skinning up from just east of Emerald bay until 1 AM, burping up two extra-large Jiffy's pizzas as we fought our way up the ridge. It was pitch dark (duh), but with the help of the GPS Manbeast finally remembered to pack, we found our way to the frozen Granite Lake, set up camp, and slept like we had never slept before.
We had hoped for an early start. The plan was to conquer Dick's peak that day. But I woke up at 10 AM... and I'm the early riser of the pack. By the time I had coffee going and a water hole chopped out on the lake, it was verging on afternoon, and my hard-core touring parters were still snoring in their tents. So much for Dicks that day.
From Granite Lake, we climbed the ridge to Maggie's saddle, cruised southwest along Maggie's arm, and shimmied down to the cirque of nameless 9000'. The west side of Tallac proved a tempting sight, looming in the distance.
A little too far in the distance for my lazy bones. We quickly made our way up the nearest unnamed peak, which I named after myself (sorry if anyone else had dibs already). By this time, we had gotten so distracted with the potential lines on our 9000' cirque of fun, we had basically forgotten about Dicks. But as we came to the summit of my peak, Dicks bobbed its wide, friendly head just a mile or so to the south of us. It had to be conquered. But not today.
After dropping the deep, lovely corn down to our camp, the boys built a sweet little jib while I curled up in my sleeping bag and took a cozy nap in the afternoon sun.
As evening fell, Hippy asked what we thought our totem animals were. He was some sort of wild cat, he said, because he's stealthy. Old Man thought he was a frog, but I vetoed that and designated him as a goat -- kind of ugly, scruffy and lonesome. Manbeast was a wolf -- instinctive and loyal. I got unanimously voted a marmot -- altitude worshiping, social, kind of fluffy, and territorial.
Conquering DicksI woke up at 6:30 AM Sunday morning, just in time to catch a deep red sunrise coming over Tallac. It lit up our cirque with Alpenglow. I banged around pots as best as I could until the boys, snarling and groaning, crawled out of their sleeping bags at 7 AM. I was impressed. Two hours later we had breakfasted and were cruising around the base of my peak towards Dicks Lake and Dicks. The approach was shorter and the summit more easily gained than we had expected, and we were treated with a panoramic view of Tahoe, the Desolation, and Pyramid peak off in the distance.
The snow had been been rather hard on the climb up, so we had expected to hang out on the sunny summit for an hour or so to wait for the potatoes to stew for a bit. We had eyed a chute directly to looker's right of the summit as our descent... a short, steep and narrow line that opened straight up into the open bowl. We scampered down to the drop-in point. To test it, Old Man chucked a snow ball. The noise it made sent happy shivers down all of our spines. We rock-paper-scissored our drop-in order, which Hippy won. Though we couldn't see him as soon as he crossed the roll-over, we could hear his joyful turns on perfect corn. Manbeast didn't wait long to strap in and follow, then Old Man, then me.
The snow was perfect. We found several little cliff-drops, especially as we came down to Dicks Lake. We dropped our packs on the lake and turned around to revel in our fun, braided lines.
The only thing ruining our perfect day was the sound of snowmobiles in the Desolation Wilderness. I'm all about snowmobiles... in the areas they belong. Hearing those suckers tracing your tracks when you've worked all day to earn your turns in a pristine area was not cool.
After picking up our gear, we had one last summit to get in that day: the north peak of Maggie's. Hippy deftly led the descent through a maze of fun drops, chutes and cliffs.
We ended the fantastic trip with a overwhelming meal at Tacos Jaliscos in Truckee, where our poor server had to scootch over an extra table to accommodate our endless orders of nachos, burritos, fajitas, soups and Mexican goodness.