If you’re wondering about current hiking trail conditions, such as the Glenn Alpine Trailhead that leads into Desolation Wilderness, want to see some local Tahoe couloir stoke from June 17th, or are in the mood for a crotch grab, you should keep reading.
Cracked Crag and Cracked Crag Jr. are a couple of obscure bumps on the skyline as you drive into Fallen Leaf Lake . Located right in the middle of arguably the radest backcountry skiing in Tahoe these two peaks rarely get more than a glance from local skiers. Makes sense. Usually they’re a slog through rolling terrain to access, they’re not a ton of vert, and the aprons of both peaks slide regularly. I posted several shots of big crowns and slide debris from this area over the course of the winter. However, they each hold a sweet couloir splitting their main faces, respectively, and in Jeff and I’s opinion were worth going out for a check it being June 17th and all.
So for the hikers out there, visitors, or anyone wanting to head into the Fallen leaf Lake area right now, sh*t is going off! When Jeff and I showed up there was no one. When we got back to the car there were people and cars everywhere. And why not? It feels like summer and the waterfalls are raging! Here’s Jeff hiking past one,
and a huge one raging way out in the middle of Desolation Wilderness.
While not impassable, the crux for you hikers and sightseers out there (beyond the many feet of snow found above 8k feet) may be the many sections of trail completely covered with running water. These pools are just a few hundred yards from the trailhead.
They’re really not all that bad, and actually it’s pretty fun to check them out right now as there’s so much snowmelt there’s literally water running everywhere you look.The other thing to keep in mind right now is depending on where you’re going there are a ton of water-crossings to be negotiated. On the main trail they’re pretty cruiser, but on the way to say Grass Lake they are a little more involved. For example, there’s at least 5+ of these to pass before you get to the lake.
That’s the route Jeff and I took to get out to the Crags. As we kept walking and switched over to skinning we came across the remnants of some major slide activity. I posted some shots similar to these in a post in May while on the backside of Tallac, but to take out trees like these
this thing must have been ridiculously powerful. Check out the origin of the slide path.
As we gained the ridge that leads to the top of Cracked Crag Jr. we got a sweet look into the depths of Desolation Wilderness. Planning to visit Lake Aloha anytime soon? Maybe August?
I mean you can see some of the water starting to show, but it’s just so fat back there, and there’s really no open water and it’s 4 days until the Summer Solstice. Crazy. Here’s a better shot showing Pyramid Peak to Mt. Price with Jeff trying to do his best “Blue Steel” impression.
He did alright, but was no match for this epic alpine pool we passed that made me want to both go swimming and try to skim across it.
Unfortunately we did neither, but we did finally get to drop into one of our intended lines for the day. The definition of short and sweet, this couloir was steep, soft, and skied extremely well for this late in the season. Here’s Jeff contemplating turn1,
and then killing it.
Our next objective, Cracked Crag propers’ couloir, was not so rad. You had to downclimb into the couloir first to even see if it went, which it didn’t, and since we didn’t have the necessary hardware to pass this obstacle, and in all honesty it just didn’t look as cool as our other line, we settled with some smooth corn turns off the shoulder back to Grass Lake.
It was another amazing day out in the Sierra for 2010-2011. Even though the sun cups are coming and yeah, it is getting really late in the “season”, there’s still a bunch of good snow out there for anyone wanting to go shred something. Halls is even still skiable if you’re feeling it.
And, we even found some time to practice our jibbing to try and keep up with all the groms ripping up Squaw (for the record, the grab is with whippet in hand).