Ascent of Ralston Peak on 2019-03-09
|Other People:||Solo Ascent|
|Date:||Saturday, March 9, 2019|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Motorized Transport to Trailhead:||4x4 Vehicle|
| Elevation:||9235 ft / 2814 m|
Ascent Trip ReportI 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|
| Route Conditions:||Road Hike, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb|
| Gear Used:||Ski Poles, Snowshoes|
| Weather:||Snowing, Cold, Very Windy, White-out|
| 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|
| 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|
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Peaks: climbed and unclimbed by Rafee Memon
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