NE Ridge from Dicks Pass

Page Type
California, United States, North America
Route Type:
Hike & Scramble
Time Required:
A long day
Class 2

Route Quality: 4 Votes

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NE Ridge from Dicks Pass
Created On: Feb 3, 2003
Last Edited On: Sep 25, 2003


This description will describe the route from Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe's SW shore. Note that Dicks Pass can also be approached from the south via the PCT, but this is a much longer approach.

From Emerald Bay, there are two main trailheads: (i) the Emerald Bay Trail and (ii) the Bayview Trail. You can take either trail for the approach to Dicks Pass and Dicks Peak. Both trails join up about 2.4 miles from the trailhead. The Bayview Trail is slightly longer (about 0.1 mile) and involves a little bit of elevation loss (about 250 feet), as compared to the Emerald Bay trail. However, I prefer the Bayview trail as it gets high above Lake Tahoe very quickly and generally has better views. Some people may quibble with this.

The Bayview Trail is opposite the Inspiration Point overlook at Emerald Bay. Emerald Bay Trailhead is about 3/4 mile north on highway 89. If you are here in summer, you can't miss the trailheads due to cars.

Route Description

Follow either trail described above until a point about 2.4 miles in, where the trails join at a nearly imperceptible saddle to the north of Azure Lake. The "backside" of Mt. Tallac and the entire Kalmia Ridge will visible from here. This spot makes a nice winter basecamp for skiing the 1,500 shots from Kalmia Ridge to Azure Lake, and for an assault on Dicks Peak.

From the trail junction, continue on the now-merged trail for another half mile, where you will reach another fork. Take the left fork to Dicks Lake (the other fork leads to the justifiably popular Velma Lakes at the foot of Phipps Peak). Hike around the northern offshoot of Kalmia Ridge (Peak 9,190) and then climb up to the saddle above Dicks Lake, where you will join the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and enjoy a nice view of the lake and your goal for the day -- Dicks Peak. Follow the PCT as it climbs steeply above the east shore of Dicks Lake.

Once at the pass, the trail continues down the other side towards Half Moon Lake. Leave the PCT at the pass and follow a well worn use trail down to the saddle below Dicks Pass (the "pass" is actually higher than the actual saddle above Dicks Lake). The use trail may be difficult to find as it contours around the south side of the 9,480'+ peaklet to the east of Dicks Peak. Eventually, you will reach the saddle between this subpeak and Dicks Peak proper. Follow the ridge straight up to the summit, dropping below to climber's left if the difficulty exceeds class 2 (Diggler reports one or two Class 4 moves if you cling religiously to the ridgeline). The most difficult part of the route is probably right above the high saddle, where you have to pick your way up steep chutes filled with loose rock. Once above this, it is an easy rock scramble (class 2) to the summit.

Essential Gear

sturdy shoes, and lots of water

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.