Tahoe snowmobile-powered skiing

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Tahoe snowmobile-powered skiing

by mattyj » Wed Dec 02, 2009 8:46 pm

Ok, so I know they're not widely loved in the mountaineering community, but I recently picked up a pair of snowmobiles for winter climbing and backcountry ski access. Initially I'm just going to use them for access on snow-covered logging roads, but as I get more experience under my belt, I'd like to do ski laps on steeper terrain - towing someone else on the way up, and then switching off who gets to ski/drive on the way down.

Anyone in norcal (and the Tahoe area especially) have experience with this? Areas I'm eyeing are Mt Lola/Carpenter ridge north of Truckee, Blackwood Canyon, accessing the west side of Desolation via Wright's Lake, etc.

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by jibmaster » Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:31 pm

I got a few spots for your machine.
http://www.thebackcountry.net/bb/viewto ... &start=100


If you can brave leaving the Sierra and trading it for some Coast Range skiing.

Coastal Crest Snow Patrol

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by Mountainjeff » Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:03 pm

Spare us the noise pollution. Sell the snowmobiles and learn to telemark. It will get you anywhere in the back country. Randonee would be another option and is a lot easier to learn.

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by mlca » Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:56 pm

There are way more areas to telemark ski than snowmobile so I suggest you get off your tree and learn to share. I'm tired of the argument.

Don't know anyhting about Tahoe but pm me if you make it down to Mammoth. There's plenty of good access here and some that my tele friends enjoy get a lift into.

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by butitsadryheat » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:04 pm

mlca ? or mlc a ? :lol:

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by x15x15 » Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:24 am

Dingus Milktoast wrote:that's hilarious! Driving into Cold Stream to go ice climbing, in that thing? AWESOME!

"Who poached my line? WHO???"


oh i must admit, my dear friend dingus brought me a huge smile, and giggle with that one.

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by mattyj » Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:33 am

Certainly a polarizing topic. Look, I don't want to start a pissing match over the ups and downs of snowmobiles, but I don't see what's so objectionable about using them in the right circumstances.

I've got an AT setup and a lot of experience with it, and there are certainly times where snowmobiles would piss me off - for example, if the USFS ever considered allowing them in the Castle Peak or Mt Rose areas. And I'd certainly support additional well thought out snowmobile-free zones around high-use BC spots.

At the same time, there are a lot of places I'd like to play in, but where the approach makes a casual weekend trip difficult. And where you can drive in the summertime without anyone giving you a second glance. Wright's Lake, where I'd like to get ski access to western Desolation, is an 8 mile approach in heavy snow conditions. Blackwood Canyon to Barker Pass is what, 7 miles? Doesn't leave much room for playtime. And with those kinds of approaches, there tend not to be a lot of other people around to annoy - after all, why spend hours skinning on boring terrain when you can drive a little further south to Tallac, where besides stunning terrain, snowmobiles aren't allowed anyway?

Yeah, it's poor form to go crash a popular BC ski hill with a sled. And surely no matter where I go, someone's going to be pissed off about it. But do you get ticked at people driving the Rubicon Jeep Trail? Riding dirt bikes on logging roads? What would you think if they started plowing logging roads instead of allowing snowmobiles?

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by mattyj » Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:24 am

1000Pks wrote:Please, wilderness has no defense left here. I've seen snowmobile tracks high on Pyramid Peak (9,987') and elsewhere, courtesy, USFS. Don't ruin it forever.

Lets not confuse two different issues. The Desolation Wilderness boundary extends well below Pyramid on all sides, and there's absolutely no excuse for "accidentally" riding into it. People poaching wilderness areas and closed zones deserve to be cited (not that its much of a deterrent . . . I think the max fine is $1000, which given the odds of getting caught, is a joke). I've spent a lot of time in Desolation and have no desire to see it overrun with motorized vehicles.

It's true that you can get anywhere you want in the Sierra on skis, but that's equally true in the summer. Should we permanently close 4, 108, 120, and the massive network of approach roads that are closed in the wintertime? It would certainly preserve the wilderness better, and anyone with enough time and motivation could still hike in to Tuolumne Meadows or Sonora Pass. Climber traffic on Cathedral Peak would certainly drop off.

If you think that snowmobiles should be banned from the state, then I can respect that, although I don't agree. But don't equate legal snowmobile usage - which is actually pretty heavily restricted in popular areas - with highmarking inside a wilderness area.


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