Ascent of Snow Mountain on 2013-05-18

Climber: Daryn Dodge

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Saturday, May 18, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Snow Mountain
    Elevation:8014 ft / 2442 m

Ascent Trip Report

This peak is on the Tahoe-OGUL list. I picked up Devil's Peak along the way to Snow Mtn which is also on the list. The trailhead for both peaks is the Palisade Creek trailhead at Cascade Lakes. To get there, I took the Soda Springs exit of I-80 and turned south on Soda Springs road a little less than a mile after the highway exit. Turn right (west) onto Pahatsi Road after about a mile. Pavement ends in 0.4 mile near the entrance to Kirkwood Ski Lodge. Follow main dirt road 3.8 mi. from end of pavement to the trailhead. About 0.3 mile before reaching the trailhead, the impressive looking Devil's Peak comes into view. Lots of side roads along the way but most of these were signed as private roads or were gated in some way. The dirt road is bumpy in places but is passable to most passenger cars. High clearance is recommended.

I followed the trail only a third of a mile before heading SW cross-country staying north of Devil's Pk. A bit brushy in places. Hiking to the NW side of Devil's Peak, I was surprised to run down to a paved road. Turns out this is someone's private road that was gated a little to the north of where I hit it, but appears to pass through the edge of the Kirkwood Ski area. I followed this road to the SW side of Devils Peak and headed up to the south ridge. At the base of the rock was a use trail that swung around to the SW side of the peak. This trail almost immediately led to the class 3 rock section going up to the south peak labeled as 7704 ft on the topo map. The highpoint is the north summit still 200 hundred feet away. A class 2-3 ridge-run leads to the this highpoint. I could find no register on the summit.

To get to Snow Mtn., I retraced my steps off Devil's Peak and followed the connecting ridge south towards Snow Mtn. Staying below the ridgeline on the west side, the cross-country travel through the forest was easy and pleasant. A little over a mile along this ridge I came to a saddle at elev. 7160+ and dropped a little to an old logging road. Continuing south on the road for slightly less than 1 mile, the road started descending. I left it here and kept following the broad ridge towards Snow Mtn through forest, patchy snow. Snow travel was easy due to a low snow year and mostly low angle snow.

At the top of Snow Mtn is a small plateau with several rock outcroppings, two or three of which were near-equal in height. I visited all three. The southern rock group had a benchmark with the elevation marked as 8007 ft. However, this peak is labeled on the topo map as 8014 ft in height for a middle rock group that actually seemed the lowest pile of rocks. It felt like the most northern rock pile was the highest. I could find no register on the summit.

I retraced my step about 1.5 miles, but then picked up a lower logging road that took me back towards Devil's Peak. This road was not on my topo map and stayed high above Huntley Mill Lake. It eventually joins the paved road below Devil's Peak, From here, I mostly retraced my cross-country route back to Cascade Lakes.

Overall a very enjoyable hike and climb with mostly easy cross-country travel.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2014 ft / 613 m
    Extra Gain:300 ft / 91 m
    Distance:12 mi / 19.3 km
    Route:north slopes
    Trailhead:Palisades Creek trailhead  6600 ft / 2011 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:4 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:2 Hours 40 Minutes

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