Dicks Peak, Pyramid Peak #2, Mount Tallac
By: Larry Tidball
Seven of us from Southern California caravaned in two vehicles to the Tahoe Area to meet up with 4 Climbers from Northern California who joined us on this SPS trip. We were able to get away from the LA. Basin by 3:00PM on Friday, so we managed to get to the trailhead and crash by 12:30. In the morning, we started out from the Glen Alpine trailhead and headed up the trail for Tallac. Barbee's sister and another Bay Area climber had not been at the trailhead, so Barbee stayed back to locate them. (They were located a short ways away, and after 80 minute delay, they headed for Dicks Pass to meet us as arranged.)
The main group followed the trail to the top of Mt. Tallac where we enjoyed the view of Lake Tahoe & Fallen Leaf Lake. Although this is a very heavily used wilderness area, we did not see another hiker on our way up to the peak. The registers from the peaks in the Desolation Wilderness have been removed by the Forest Service with the support of the Peak and Gorge climbing section of the Mother Load Chapter of the Sierra Club. Apparently these peaks see too much traffic, with up to 100 to 200 summiters per summer weekend. With this much pressure, the books are soon filled, scraps of paper are left, end the canisters vandalized.
After leaving the summit of Tallac, we followed the west to Dicks Pass, and on to Dicks Peak. This traverse was on very easy terrain, and went very easily. As we arrived at Dicks Pass, we saw the others on their way up Dicks Peak. We stopped for lunch at the pass before heading on up to join them on the summit. After a short stay on top the peak we headed back on down the trail to the cars. On the way back we met a few hikers and backpackers, but not the hordes that can be expected in mid-summer. Fall was in the air, and color was in the leaves.
After arriving back at the cars, we looked for a place to camp. I had originally thought that I could call up and get a reservation far a group campsite. However, all of the campgrounds had closed for the season, even the KOA. We thought about the inexpensive motels in South Lake Tahoe, but they wouldn't work well with our planned Halloween festivities. As it got dark, and we still hadn't located a camp, one of the Northern California contingent offered the use of the grounds around his family's summer cabin in the area. We unanimously and graciously agreed to accept. The festivities included a pot luck dinner, Halloween costumes, and a Jack-O-Lantern. It was the evening to "Fall Back", but we all agreed to delay the start up of standard time until after the hike the next day.
Up early the next morning, we drove down Highway 50 just past Twin Bridges. We parked near some summer cabins just off the highway and SW of Rocky Creek. We hiked to the creek and up the hill about 100 feet before crossing the creek and following a path up to gain a use trail on the east bank of the creek. The creek down at the highway is in heavy brush, and I don't know where the use trail actually starts. Heading on up Rocky Canyon, the trail is well maintained but steep as it climbs up through the forest. This trail does not show up on even the 7-1/2 map. The angle eases off at a meadow, and the trail crosses the creek. A little fainter in places, the trail follows the creek up to its head at about 8400'. Form here we wandered up through the woods before heading west up to gain the South Ridge of Pyramid Peak at the 8800' level. Following the ridge was easy on sandy slopes with scattered trees until we reached the talus blocks just below the summit. We had left the can at 7:45 PDT end left the summit after doing 4000' of gain at 11.15 PST. We returned to our can the same way we had come, and were and the way home by 1:30. Even with the long drive, we were home by 10:30 PM PST.
This was a great fall weekend, and we got 3 peaks to end the season. The weather was great, cool with some clouds on Sunday. It had snowed a couple of weeks before, but the good weather since then had melted it off the South facing slopes that contained our routes, The north faces of the peaks still had a lot of snow, but we did not encounter any on our hiking routes.
The Southern California group included: Greg & Mirna Roach, Erik Siering, Anne Kramer, & Barbara Cohen. Joining us from Northern California were: Janet Hoffmann, Cindy Tracey, Rich Gnagy, Pete Yamagata & John Dodds.
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