Ascent of Basin Peak on 2019-03-10

Climber: Rafee Memon

Others in Party:Jeff Fisher
Yogi Djb
Greg D
Alex Sapozhnikov
Date:Sunday, March 10, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Basin Peak
    Elevation:9017 ft / 2748 m

Ascent Trip Report

This was a private outing to Basin Peak with the Sierra Club Peak Climbing Section led by Jeff Fisher. I stayed at Jeff's place in Gardnerville after climbing Ralston Peak the day before. We initially planned to start at 8:30am, but, since this was the first day of Daylight Savings, decided to push it back an hour to give us some more sleep and wait for the day's warmth. The Sno-Park wasn't plowed, so we parked at Boreal just across the freeway. For some reason, Subarus were allowed to park for free, but we needed to pay $20. Since we were going to the backcountry and not the resort, the attendant asked us to be out by 4pm for a special event in the evening. We weren't very optimistic about making it in time, but we knew that they wouldn't bother enforcing the restriction.

After getting our group together, we started up the road around 10am. At the Sno-Park, we put on our snowshoes and skis and pressed on. We reached Castle Pass, continued up the ridge for a short distance, and then took a cutoff trail that descended down to the Peter Grubb Hut, where we arrived at 11:45am. A large group of skiers and boarders (12?) were heading out as we arrived, and they left two yapping dogs behind in the hut. We took photos as we marveled at the hut being just about completely submerged in snow except for a path leading to the second level entrance. Inside, I got out a snack as others prepared more elaborate meals. As we climbed down a ladder to the lower level, it was strangely quiet, and I realized that the dogs must have escaped as we were entering. Growing impatient after my snack, I decided to look for the dogs, figuring that the group wouldn't be too happy with us if we ran into them again. Luckily, the dogs were waiting close by and came back in with only a little coaxing. Frustratingly, they escaped again as the rest of our group came back outside, but we managed to corral them. We were off again at 12:30pm.

We initially planned to wrap around Basin Peak to the northwest ridge, which we supposed may have the least avalanche danger due to the shallow slope. However, we elected to following the trail already broken up the southwest slope, most likely a couple days before us. My knowledge of avalanches was very minimal, but I didn't see any warning signs and pressed upward. On the shoulder just below the summit, we met the large group from earlier, who were preparing for a descent back to the hut. I finished the climb and arrived at the summit at 1:52pm. Jeff and Greg arrived shortly thereafter, where we contemplated waiting for the rest of the group in the blizzard. We decided against it and descended back to the shoulder where we sought refuge behind a snow bank. Jolly and Alex arrived a couple minutes later, and Jeff helped them to the summit.

After what seemed like an excruciatingly long time in the wind and cold, we started back down at 2:15pm. Upon reaching Castle Pass, Jeff decided to wait for Alex, who was skinning, while Greg, Jolly, and I finished the hike. I took Jeff's keys and made haste on the very remote chance that Boreal had a tow truck waiting. I got back to the car exactly at 4:00pm, and, seeing that the coast was clear, went into the lodge to buy an overpriced hot chocolate while I waited for the rest of the group. Jeff reported that there was no sign of Alex after he saw him at the top of Castle Pass. We drove back to the Sno-Park and waited. Eventually, a couple reported that they helped him navigate after he mistakenly skinned up to Andesite Peak from the pass. He showed up a few minutes later, and we gave him and the couple a ride back to their cars at Boreal. Jeff, Jolly, and I went to Truckee and had dinner at a "taco bistro."
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2325 ft / 707 m
    Extra Gain:242 ft / 73 m
    Round-Trip Distance:8.2 mi / 13.2 km
    Route:SW slope
    Trailhead:Boreal Parking Lot  7176 ft / 2187 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Weather:Snowing, Cold, Windy, White-out
Ascent Statistics
    Time:3 Hours 56 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 47 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. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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