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Ascent of Ralston Peak on 2019-03-09

Climber: Rafee Memon

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Saturday, March 9, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Ralston Peak
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:9235 ft / 2814 m

Ascent Trip Report

I got a somewhat leisurely start from the Bay Area, not hitting the road until a few minutes after 7am. However, after checking the weather, I wasn't too ashamed of waiting for a little bit of warmth. I thought I might pay the price by sitting in traffic as I got closer to South Lake, but the drive went by incredibly smoothly. I wasn't quite sure what to expect at the Ralston Trailhead, and indeed, as I drove by it on the bend on Route 50, a quick glance revealed that it was snowed in (it's also possible I missed the road entirely). I made the next turn that I could into the Sierra Pines Campground, where I drove up a snowy road, past a few cabins, and parked next to what appeared to be the main office. I saw a skin track by the road leading upwards, confirming that this approach would most likely work for my purpose. There were many guests and workers milling about, and I waited for a bit to see if I would be chastised for parking there. Just as I was finally locking up, a young boy came up to me and asked for $5 for a day permit. I obliged and moved my car to a lower parking lot that I had missed. I strapped on my snowshoes and was on my way just before 11am.

My previous two snowshoe peakbagging experiences were miserable, but the snow conditions were perfect on the slopes of Ralston. I cruised upwards at nearly my normal hiking vertical speed. As I cleared the treeline, I got a great view of Pyramid Peak and the Crystal Range to the west, but they shortly became shrouded in clouds as a storm rolled in. The snow and wind picked up as I neared the top of the ridge, and I reached the summit at 12:50pm. The views had deteriorated significantly, and I could barely make out Echo Peak across the valley. I stayed at the top for only enough time to take a few photos before starting back down. This time, the wind was sandblasting snow into my face, but thankfully it relented as I neared the treeline. The soft powder made for a very enjoyable descent. I passed a group of five skiers who had already done one lap to the top and were on their way back up. I got back to my car around 1:50pm where I took an unusually long break to relax, enjoy the heat, and eat my sandwich before continuing the drive to Gardnerville.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2625 ft / 800 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2625 ft / 800 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4.6 mi / 7.4 km
    Grade/Class:Walk-up
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Weather:Snowing, Cold, Very Windy, White-out
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2625 ft / 800 m
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4 km
    Route:South slope
    Start Trailhead:Sierra Pines Camp  6610 ft / 2014 m
    Time:1 Hours 54 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2625 ft / 800 m
    Distance:2.1 mi / 3.4 km
    Route:South slope
    End Trailhead:Sierra Pines Camp  6610 ft / 2014 m
    Time:57 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rafee Memon
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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