RSS Subscribe 866.891.9177

TMS Blog


November 23rd, 2015 By   

Part 2 of Avalanche Education Series set for Dec. 9 with final installment Jan. 27


TRUCKEE — Tahoe Mountain Sports hosted a full house on Nov. 18 for the first installment of its 2015-16 Avalanche Education Series.

With a lineup of experts that included NOAA meteorologist Zach Tolby, Don Triplat from the Sierra Avalanche Center and Steve Reynaud from the Tahoe Mountain School, attendees of the first-of-three avy ed sessions were briefed on what El Niño could mean for the Sierra as well as avalanche basics.

KTVN out of Reno was in the house with a live shoot for the evening’s broadcast. Check out the station’s recap of the event.

The free, three-part series presented by Ortovox continues on Dec. 9 with the “Beacons and Beers” session. For more information about part 2, check out the TMS Facebook pageExperts will go over basic transceiver and shovel use and group-rescue strategies. Attendees will break into small groups for outdoor beacon practice including burial scenarios. In addition to in-store discounts, TMS can update Ortovox, Mammut, Barryvox and Pieps transceivers for $5 on event night.

Part 3 of the series takes place on Jan. 27. For more information about part 3, check out the TMS Facebook page. The evening will focus on the physics behind avalanche airbag packs and understanding the differences between passive and active backcountry safety gear. TMS will offer free exchanges of all air or gas cylinders on event night only to practice and to test systems. A season-ending raffle supporting Sierra Avalanche Center will follow with the grand prize of a Mammut airbag pack ($900 value) highlighting the evening.

While the series is not intended to be an end-all education on avalanche safety, it is an exceptional opportunity to learn directly from Truckee-Tahoe’s resident mountain guides, avalanche safety instructors, meteorologists and local non-profits, such as the Sierra Avalanche Center.


November 16th, 2015 By   

pz transparent

Project Zero is a collaborative effort striving to change perceptions of avalanche risk and shift the goal toward zero deaths.

By Shaun Nauman

The experience of backcountry skiing and snowboarding in the alpine is bliss beyond words. Snow carpets the alpine landscape and shimmers like diamonds when the first light hits. On the approach through snow covered spruce trees, humanity is left behind. It has a peaceful resonance, and tranquility that no words or pictures can truly capture. As you break tree line you are beckoned by a landscape bigger than the mind can comprehend. Rocky crags paint the landscape in an ocean of winter bliss as you work your way to the summit. Within the blink of an eye all that can change. A large persistent slab can shatter across the slope like a windowpane of glass, and the tranquility is suddenly changed in to in to a surreal nightmare.

pz_pres3In the past few years we have lost many legends, and, on a personal level, a few friends. The fact is, if you spend enough time in the backcountry you are eventually going to know someone that has died in an avalanche. If you don’t already, you will. At some point it becomes personal, for all of us. The sobering fact is that the more we read through avalanche incident reports, we see a recurring theme – same avalanche – different face. It has forced many of us to step back and evaluate why this is often happening to people with avalanche training.

The power of avalanche education is the industry-based framework that places everyone on the same page, with the same terminology and understanding. This process forms stronger communication of group dynamics while evaluating avalanche hazards, snow stability and terrain choices. However, it seems that even when armed with these skills we do not see a reduction in accidents and fatalities.

As educators, instructors and industry leaders we realized a need to look beyond teaching just the techniques of avalanche safety. Is the message telling people to get a beacon, shovel, probe and take an avalanche course fragmented? Is there a deeper layer that needs to be addressed? Avalanche safety and rescue techniques are a critical component, but not the entire picture. There is mounting evidence that a pattern of human factors is emerging. People tend to get pulled in to presumptuous and general rule-of-thumb behaviors, often referred to as heuristic traps. The common denominator lies not in the training but in the patterns of evaluating avalanche hazards.

pz_presHow do we address the bigger picture? Project Zero was launched as a collaborative effort with the mission to shift the perception of avalanche risk and to move the goal toward zero deaths. It is a ground-breaking unity of avalanche forecast centers, educators, equipment manufacturers and industry associations across North America.

When I first learned of Project Zero, the message struck me on a personal level. I sought a way to become a part of the initiative and was invited to take a role as a Project Zero Ambassador. I gave a presentation at the 2015 Silverton Splitfest in Silverton, Colorado under the current campaign, The Backcountry Starts Here. At the core of the campaign are the “Backcountry Basics” one should follow before entering backcountry terrain. These are five call-to-action pieces that serve to reinforce the baseline of a positive backcountry experience.

Backcountry Basics • Get the Gear• Get the

The first three call-to-action pieces are relatively self explanatory. (1) Get the Gear: Includes a beacon, shovel, and probe. (2) Get the Training: By taking an avalanche course, it puts you on the same sheet of music, same terminology and same understanding as others in your group. (3) Get the Forecast: Check weather and avalanche forecasts before deciding on an objective.

The next two call-to-action pieces are more complex and are the key components I elaborate on to streamline the complexity of “Get the Picture,” which is the importance of a routine. Backcountry users need to have a rigid, rule-based routine much like any other high-stakes industry. The analogy, as Bruce Tremper of the Utah Avalanche Center puts it, “is much like that of a commercial aviation pilot, performing pre-flight checklists.” The use of a method-based routine prevents us from making assumptions and rule of thumb shortcuts.

alptruthTo fully grasp this concept, people need to put their mind in an analytical mode that seeks and filters facts and look for clues. The clues are everywhere, and are often referred to as nature’s billboards. Systems that are employed for environmental traps such as ALPTRUTH, originally developed by avalanche researcher Ian McCammon, is an acronym used to stay on course and give you mental clues during pre-planning and while you are out. From a practical perspective, when ALPTRUTH is employed as an obvious clues system, it can help us gauge the bigger picture. As McCammon put it, “If I run through this checklist and notice one or two clues it gives me a gauge. If I start to see three or more of the ALPTRUTH clues, I know I am getting pretty far from shore and it’s time to reassess my goals.”

The amount of information, data and resources available today can be overwhelming. In order to make good decisions we need to be able to sort and prioritize information and filter these facts. The mountains are not static. A complex understanding of terrain and snow science is essential to make fluid decisions. When making key decisions in avalanche terrain I always ask myself how I could be wrong. I emphasize to others to always be willing to reevaluate and change their plan based on new information. Employing a method such as ALPTRUTH can help keep you on track identifying environmental traps.

facetsThe final call to action – Get out of Harm’s Way: Daily, we make hundreds of decisions both large and small and we must make them efficiently. We are largely unaware of making them, even when they are critical decisions. Our decision-making is heavily affected by our biases and reliance on success of habits. Intuitive decisions are made on almost an unconscious level whereas analytical thinking is systematic. These intuitive decisions, or rules of thumb become “heuristic traps” when they are applied unconsciously and can be deadly when we use them in avalanche terrain unconsciously. McCammon also developed an acronym for basing decisions on familiar but inappropriate cues known as FACETS. Like facets in the snowpack, we want to avoid them. Heuristic traps account for the lion’s share of avalanche incidents. Basing our decisions on familiar, but inappropriate clues.

Employing system acronyms such as APLTRUTH for environmental factors and FACETS for human factors are a few tools for developing a routine and helping us stay on track. Consistent use of such routines and changing the mindset of backcountry recreationalists may help evolve the patterns of avalanche accidents and, ultimately, that is the goal of Project Zero. These are practical tools that can help novices recognize the conditions and events that have taken lives in the past and start them on an advanced routine in the backcountry.

This post comes from Shaun Nauman, a blogger ( and Boulder, CO resident. When Shaun isn’t studying snow hydrology and forecasting avalanches, the AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Instructor is finding new adventures in the backcountry on his splitboard. Watch for more adventures, gear reviews and fun reading from Shaun and other Ambassadors of Tahoe Mountain Sports.


November 13th, 2015 By   


: Ladies Night shopping & screening of Pretty Faces, an all-female ski film
WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 3 2015 — 6:30 p.m./TMS Facebook Event Info
WHERE: Tahoe Mountain Sports, 11200 Donner Pass Rd. E5 Truckee 530-536-5200
WHY: Get stoked for a snowy winter, shop great holiday deals and support the Tahoe Food Hub

TRUCKEE, CA — Tahoe Mountain Sports continues its Ladies Night sessions on Dec. 3 with a free screening of Pretty Faces, an all-female ski and adventure sport film that will fan Sierra snow fever in all who attend.

The evening is presented by Patagonia and TMS with all raffle proceeds and a portion of event-night store specials going to the Tahoe Food Hub, a non-profit organization working to build a regional food system for North Lake Tahoe.

On event night attendees will not only enjoy the film, snacks and drinks, there will be storewide savings and special deals on women’s specific apparel, footwear and gear. With the holidays approaching this is a great evening to take care of gifts for the adventure-minded people on your gift list.

Free and open to the public, the Pretty Faces film was created by professional skier Lynsey Dyer to offer young girls role models and inspiration to explore the outdoors. The film also highlights the pioneer athletes of women’s adventure sport while showcasing Mother Nature in all her glory.

The screening of the film is another event where TMS, Patagonia and the Tahoe Food Hub have partnered to further each other’s missions of engaging the local community and to give back during this holiday season.

“Tahoe Mountain Sports was our first community partner when we launched in November 2012,” said Susie Sutphin, director of Tahoe Food Hub. “Each year we look forward to partnering with them on a community event to help share our mission with more people and engage them in our service work to build a sustainable foodshed for North Lake Tahoe.”

The Tahoe Food Hub works to increase access to nutritious, ecologically grown food by creating a network of regional farms within 100-miles of North Lake Tahoe and connecting them to restaurants, small grocers, schools and hospitals. The organization is also exploring ways to grow food locally using four-season growing techniques at its Sierra Agroecology Center in Truckee. For more information check out


October 31st, 2015 By   



With forecasts of El Niño ushering a potentially epic winter into the Sierra, Tahoe Mountain Sports’ upcoming Avalanche Education Series will help ensure the safety of you and your backcountry partners.

Tahoe Mountain Sports’ 2015-16 Avy Education Series presented by Ortovox is a free, three-part opportunity to learn practices that can keep you safe while participating in backcountry snow sports.

In addition to free, hands-on activities aimed at learning rescue techniques and how to use and service beacons and avalanche airbag packs, TMS will offer special, in-store deals each night during the series and raffles benefiting the Sierra Avalanche Center.

While the series is not intended to be an end-all education on avalanche safety, it is an exceptional opportunity to learn directly from Truckee-Tahoe’s resident mountain guides, avalanche safety instructors, meteorologists and local non-profits, such as the Sierra Avalanche Center.

All events are free and held at Tahoe Mountain Sports; 11200 Donner Pass Rd. in Truckee. Doors open at 6 p.m. Programs start at 6:30 p.m. For more information contact TMS at 530-536-5200 or

Part I – Reading Avalanche Reports, Understand Mountain Forecasts & Making Good Decisions
Weds. Nov. 18 – 6:30 p.m.
Zach Tolby, a NOAA meteorologist, will discuss mountain-specific forecasts and what a strong El Niño means for the Sierra. Don Triplat from the Sierra Avalanche Center and Steve Reynaud from the Tahoe Mountain School will discuss problem solving in winter scenarios and safe backcountry movement. Interactive weather and decision-making scenarios will follow in a small group setting. Great raffle will cap it all off. Ortovox presents this event with additional support from The North Face and Black Diamond.

Part 2 – Beacons and Beers
Weds. Dec. 9 – 6:30 p.m.
Learn the basics of avalanche rescue including proper transceiver and shovel use and group-rescue strategies. Jared Rodriguez of Ortovox and Steve Reynaud of Tahoe Mountain School will discuss the history and tech behind avalanche transceivers. Attendees will break into small groups for outdoor beacon practice including burial scenarios. TMS will offer discounts on products in the store this night only. TMS can update Ortovox, Mammut, Barryvox and Pieps transceivers for $5 this night only. Ortovox presents this event with additional support from The North Face and Arva Equipment.

Part 3 – Avalanche Airbag Sessions – Rep War & Party
Weds Jan. 27, 2016 6:30 p.m.
Learn the physics behind avalanche airbag packs and understand the differences between passive and active backcountry safety gear. The night’s highlight will be the “Rep War,” where representatives from major airbag companies debate each other on who makes superior airbag systems. TMS will offer free exchanges of all air or gas cylinders this night only in an effort to practice and to test your system. A season-ending raffle supporting Sierra Avalanche Center will follow with the grand prize of a Mammut airbag pack ($900 value) highlighting the evening. Ortovox presents this event with additional support from The North Face, Black Diamond, Mammut and Backcountry Access (BCA).



Leave No Trace: Adventure Dining Guide

October 29th, 2015 By   

By Michelle Shea

Who: Sam and Jenna, the Subaru Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers. Michelle Shea (host), Skyler Mullings (cameraman), Connor Stohlgren (sound)
What: Paleo car camping meal and Leave No Trace cooking methods
Where: North Lake Tahoe
When: August 2015

Click on the photo to learn more about leave-no-trace cooking techniques.

Click on the photo to learn more about leave-no-trace cooking techniques.

Spending time with Leave No Trace experts Sam Ovett and Jenna Hanger during their visit to Tahoe emphasized the importance of taking care of all the little details when cooking outdoors. By planning ahead and paying attention to what we might be leaving behind, we can all do our part to keep the wilderness pristine.

Sam and Jenna are ambassadors of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. The duo live, work and travel out of a brand new Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid. Sam and Jenna came to Lake Tahoe in August to work several events and were kind enough to sneak in an afternoon of hanging out on the beach, stand up paddle boarding and Paleo car cooking with the Adventure Dining Guide team.

This is an episode you don’t want to miss! Click the “view recipe” to get some more Leave No Trace tips and learn how you can prepare this healthy Paleo meal on your next camping excursion:

Check out Tahoe Mountain Sports for your outdoor culinary needs:

I hope that this episode of Adventure Dining Guide encourages you to always be responsible and to always Leave No Trace!

This post comes from Guest Blogger Michelle Shea. Michelle lives at Lake Tahoe and is the host/creator of the outdoor series Adventure Dining Guide. She created Adventure Dining Guide because “food is the unrecognized hero of our journeys, and it’s about time backcountry meals get the recognition they deserve”. Learn more at


Still Time to ‘Fall’ into Your 2015 Sierra Adventure Bucket List

October 20th, 2015 By   

Autumn is making its presence felt over the Sierra, but Tahoe Mountain Sports ambassador Coral Rose Taylor says there still is time to do many of those summer-like adventures before the snow flies.

So with fall here, Coral is re-evaluating those activities and checking her gear bag to see what she can check off her 2015 Bucket List.

Hiking in Yosmite.

Hiking in Yosmite.

Hiking: Being lucky enough to live in the mountains, I sometimes take these geographic formations for granted. However, any time I’m lucky enough to get on the trail for a hike, I re-connect with myself, with nature, with a different perspective on time.

Here are some of the hikes I would love to do this autumn:

Tallac – An iconic Lake Tahoe hike, which I am embarrassed to admit I have not yet done, even though I’ve lived in Truckee/Tahoe for 13 years now. The challenge will be to do this before the snow flies.

Rose – Another local favorite that I haven’t yet put foot on. I’ve hiked parts of it, and around the Mt. Rose meadows, but haven’t made it to the summit proper yet.

Boundary Peak – As a native Nevadan, I feel like I owe it to myself to summit the Silver State’s highest peak. If the weather holds, I’m thinking it would be fitting to do this on Nevada Day, observed on October 30, aka Halloween Eve. This will require an extra day; with a timeline that will account for driving down 395, camping at the trailhead, hiking up, then camping another night.

Mountain biking on the Hole in the Ground Trail, with Castle Peak in the background.

Mountain biking on the Hole in the Ground Trail, with Castle Peak in the background.

Mountain Biking: Where do I start? There are so many trails in the Truckee/Tahoe area. If you add in the trails in Reno, Carson, Nevada City, Auburn, etc., you will have your work cut out for you trying to ride all of them. So, I’m putting some of my top hit-list trails on here and will see what happens. I love mountain biking in the cooler weather; the temperature is that much more conducive to longer days in the saddle without running out of water or overheating.

Flume Trail: Another Tahoe icon I have not yet been on. I’ve heard all the hype about the epic views and a few exposed sections; which I’m sure are true, I just need to get in the saddle for myself to check out.

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride: Living in North Lake Tahoe/Truckee over the years, I have not explored the trails of South Lake very much at all. In fact, I only rode Anderson, Anderson Connector and the Corral trails for the first time this July. This sounds like an all-day adventure, but the opportunity to check out some South Lake Tahoe restaurants after a day’s hard work will make me proud to earn my turns.

Ash Canyon: This new trail has been getting rave reviews by local mountain bike groups, but I was leery of riding in the high desert on an exposed trail during the heat of the summer. I think this autumn will be the perfect time to finally ride here.

Staying warm in the Sierra.

Staying warm in the Sierra.

Camping / Backpacking: Sleeping outside, even in a tent, is such a different experience than in the comfort of my own bed. During a recent camping trip to June Lake, I was woken throughout the night by a pack of coyotes; listening to their vocalizations was so interesting and entertaining – who needs Netflix? Although the cooler weather is a challenge for me, I hope to get another night or four in a tent.

Pyramid Lake: The terminus of the Truckee River, this desert lake’s austere beauty appeals to me; even more so without the brutal heat of the high summer. The lack of trees makes for great stargazing and the salinity of the lake improves my rudimentary swimming skills! This is an easy spot for car camping, so it makes for a quick overnight.

Lola: Practically in Truckee’s backyard, there is a year-round trail here, with ample backpack camping sites near White Rock Lake or along Cold Stream.

Lake Aloha: Yes, I know that the trail out here can be as busy as Disneyland, but there’s a reason Lake Aloha is so popular – it is gorgeous and accessible. I was able to meet my sister and her boyfriend while they were through-hiking the PCT earlier this summer, but I didn’t get to spend the night there, so it’s on my hit list.

Filtering water along the trail.

Filtering water along the trail.

Gear Needed: General gear for this time of year includes the following: map (or competent guide friend), compass, cell phone (in airplane mode to disconnect from modernity and connect to self and nature), headlamp (shorter days mean this is even more important), extra layers (light windbreaker, puffy coat, beanie, gloves, emergency rain poncho), sunscreen (the Joshua Tree sunscreen smells delicious, is made in the USA, and free of nasty chemicals), electrolytes, food and water are critical.

This past year, I have been making more of my own food to bring on the trail, in lieu of bars and gels, and am really fond of the baked rice balls in the Feed Zone Portables cookbook. The date/almond rice balls are super easy and the sweet potato/bacon are a delicious savory flavor.

I love that hiking is one of the least gear-heavy activities we can do around here, but a good pair of hiking shoes (I really like my Merrell Capras – the sticky soles offer great traction, and the wider toe box is really comfortable), and a daypack (I prefer a hydration pack so I can have my hands free) are necessary. Bonus items are trekking poles, a fancy watch, a Spot (just in case), and a GoPro to capture those epic summit pics.

Besides the obvious mountain bike, helmet and gloves, some bonus items to bring are a cyclometer (if it’s not on Strava, it didn’t happen), a camera, and a cold beer/cider waiting for you at the car. Depending on the temperature, I may also wear pants or knee/leg warmers.

Camping and backpacking require the typical tent, sleeping bag, and pad, as well as a backpacking pack. Depending where you go, a bear canister is necessary. Trekking poles help, especially on descents, and I really like the MPOWERD inflatable solar lanterns for lightweight disco-fun illumination. A water filter, spork, mess kit, Jetboil, AeroPress, coffee and cup are needed as well.

I love the change of seasons and the crispness in the air, but I plan to clutch onto the last vestiges of summer as long as possible by doing as many of these adventures as I can. If you want to join me, let me know!

“Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” — John Muir

Namaste, Coral

Coral Taylor is an avid mountain biker, yogi, snowboarder and outdoor enthusiast living in Truckee, CA. Follow @c_ros on Instagram for rad photos of her adventures around Lake Tahoe and beyond. In addition to getting after it on the snow, Coral is also a Team LUNAChix Tahoe Mountain Bike Team Ambassador!

Polar Opposites: A photo journey of Antarctica in Truckee

October 5th, 2015 By   

Todd Offenbacher and Tahoe Mountain Sports host an early season pow wow for pow featuring Todd O’s slideshow from Antarctica.

Who: Todd Offenbacher – Mammut athlete, mountaineer and Tahoe local
What: Polar Opposites: A photographic journey of ski mountaineering in Antarctica and Svalbard
When: Oct. 21 | Doors-shopping specials: 6 p.m. | Program: 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Where: Tahoe Mountain Sports; 11200 Donner Pass Rd. Truckee
Why: Get stoked for snow and raffle benefiting Sierra Avalanche Center

Truckee, CA — Join Tahoe Mountain Sports on Oct. 21 to get psyched for snow with Todd O and his Polar Opposites slideshow.

TMS will host its free, all-ages, in-store season kick-off with adventure skier and climber Todd Offenbacher (Todd O) as he takes us on a photographic journey of ski mountaineering in Antarctica and Svalbard. Along with Todd O’s stunning photography, Tahoe Mountain Sports will feature a raffle to benefit the Sierra Avalanche Center, of which Todd O is a board member.

“Penguins in the south and polar bears in the north,” Todd O says about Polar Opposites. “With a little bit of big wall climbing thrown in for fun.”

From 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., TMS will be offering shopping specials for those stocking up on their stoke due to Todd O’s adventures.

“It is a funny and inspiring show,” he says. “I try to explain how to get invited, or invited back, to the best trips in the world.”

The South Lake Tahoe resident and Mammut athlete is also a guide for Ice Axe Expeditions, the host for Outside TV Lake Tahoe and the creator of Tahoe Adventure Film Festival, which will premier this year on Dec. 11 at the MontBleu in South Lake Tahoe.

Tahoe Mountain Sports – 536-5200

A Sky Island Kuna Crest in Yosemite

September 25th, 2015 By   

Time lapse of the recent Walker Fire outside Yosemite.

Who: Rachel McCullough
What: Hiking and climbing
Tuolumne/Yosemite National Park
August 2015

It was a surprisingly warm morning last month in Yosemite National Park, which was nice because our destination for the day was more than 12,000 feet in elevation.

A week before the trip my hiking partner, Tom, and I studied the Yosemite map and bemoaned that we’d done nearly all the established trails close to the road.

So, we set our sights on a high-elevation hike with no established trail. This hike would take us to the top of Mammoth Peak at 12,117 feet and then south along the Kuna Crest, which rose and fell above and below 12,000 feet.

Mammoth Peak, our first destination.

Mammoth Peak, our first destination.

If you’ve read any of my other posts that involved Tom and Theresa (Hiking Yosemite’s Bermuda Triangle: Tenaya Canyon or Gorgeous Day Hike from Lukens Lake to Tenaya Lake in Tuolomne), you know that while we always intend to get an early start, it doesn’t actually ever happen.

We left the trailhead at 8:45 a.m. and immediately stepped off the trail and into the conifer forest, our objective coming in and out of view to the southwest.

Abandoning our usual fast clip we settled into a one-mile per hour kind of pace that involved frequently looking for the easiest route to the summit and agreeing upon our path. We went from a pond to forest to meadow to forest and then to the craggy upper reaches of Mammoth Peak.

Throughout our journey we spotted sheep poop and hoped to spot a bighorn sheep, which were rumored to be in the Mono Pass area just to our east.

We gained the ridge to the west and followed it to the summit, but not before I called a “food emergency.” Some in our group are known to realize they are absolutely starving just before the “hangry” phase sets in. Instead of the usual summit food and water break, we stopped just below the top of Mammoth Peak, with expansive views to the west, north and south.

Summit bound.

Summit bound.

This is where you can really see the difference between areas in Tuolumne that were glaciated and those that rose above the glacier. The Tuolumne domes that many are familiar with, such as DAFF, Fairview, Medlicott, and Lembert, were smoothed over into their dome shapes as the glaciers ran over them. The taller jagged peaks, such as Cathedral and Unicorn, stood above the glaciers.

We summited Mammoth Peak about four hours in, after a little more than 3.5 miles of off-trail hiking and scrambling. And that’s when we saw that the small wisps of smoke we’d spotted earlier that morning were now billowing. In those few hours, what we would later learn was the Walker Fire expanded quickly, and even closed Highway 120, which is the nearest park exit.

We signed the summit register and saw that the last party to sign had been up three days prior. We had the top to ourselves, but didn’t linger long. We headed south along the Kuna Crest.


Walking along the Kuna Crest.

Walking along the Kuna Crest.

Kuna Crest is a sky island, which is one of the reasons Tom and I (the planners for this hike) were interested to check it out. We were drawn to it after watching the Yosemite Nature Notes Sky Island video, which explains that sky islands are isolated high elevation places with unique plant species that don’t grow anywhere else. There are a few of these sky islands in the Park and Kuna Crest happened to be relatively easy to access.

Although we didn’t see the famed blue sky pilots (you can see them in the Nature Notes video), we saw many of the other plants known to grow in the sky islands, such as alpine gold, Sierra columbine, lupine and buckwheat. From afar, you’d never guess that, such as rocky place, was full of so many plants.

We followed the Kuna Crest up and down, stopping along the way to take a time-lapse of the growing Walker Fire, which started billowing white smoke at the top of the plume partway through the day.

The nice thing about our plan was that we could find a place to come down off the crest whenever we felt like it and pick up the Mono Pass trail to walk back to the car. There was a short section of talus to get off the Crest to reach the lakes below, but after that, it was easy walking back to the trail.

We timed it well and were back to the car well before dark, and were eating our pasta dinner in no time. The only thing we didn’t time well was the line at the Tuolumne store, where we stopped to get typical camping essentials, like chips and our ice cream appetizer.

This post comes from Rachel McCullough, an avid hiker, mountain biker, rock climber, yogi, skier and photographer living in Truckee, CA. Follow @rachelmcphotos on Instagram for stunning images of beautiful Sierra scenery. When Rachel isn’t enjoying her free time in the outdoors, she’s teaching skiing at Northstar California or building and marketing websites for her clients at McCullough Web Services.

Peak Baggin’ the Eastern Sierra Nevada

September 21st, 2015 By   

Who: Chris Cloyd
What: Trail Running/Peak Baggin’
Where: Banner Peak and Mt. Ritter
When: Sept. 12, 2015

In mid-September Tahoe Mountain Sports Ambassador Chris Cloyd set out from the Rush Creek trailhead (37.78227°N/119.09786°W) off the June Lake Loop on the eastside of the Sierra with Bill Clements and Luke Garten for a dayshot effort on Banner Peak and Mount Ritter. Check out their day in the high Sierra!
And check out the huge selection of topo maps and guide books at Tahoe Mountain Sports for your next adventure…

Using the Rush Creek trailhead for an approach of Banner Peak and Mt. Ritter isn’t the most economical (it’s closer to start at Agnew Meadows trailhead  37.68296°N/119.09263°W out of Mammoth), but Bill, Luke and I had run the River Trail before and wanted to explore a new zone. Seeing the cable tramway up from Silver Lake, the dam at Agnew Lake and new trails was well worth the extra work.

We ascended North Glacier Pass from Thousand Island Lake and refilled our water supply at Lake Catherine. From there, we ascended just north of the glacier via rock and talus to gain the saddle between Banner and Ritter. Ascending Banner was a glorified walk up via the southwest face — and well worth it.

Views of Thousand Island Lake, Mono Lake and Garnet Lake reward your efforts. Retracing our steps to the saddle, our next challenge was the north face of Ritter. Muir waxed poetic on his ascent and our route was every bit as awesome. We utilized a chute rising from the apex of the glacier and gained the summit ridge, summiting our second peak of the day in fine style.

We opted to descend down the SE face of Ritter to Ritter Lakes to take in some new scenery, regrouped at Lake Catherine and then ran back to the trailhead retracing our route. Just under 10 hours!

Chris Cloyd is a TMS Ambassador and lover of endurance sports. When Chris isn’t training for his next big run in the mountains or out exploring the Eastern Sierra on bike, he’s managing the Performance Training Center by Julia Mancuso. Watch for more race reports, gear reviews and fun reading from Chris and other Ambassadors of Tahoe Mountain Sports.


September 13th, 2015 By   
Need a race-day wetsuit or just want to take one for a demo swim? Contact TMS and we’ll get you zipped up.

Need a race-day wetsuit or just want to take one for a demo swim? Contact TMS and we’ll get you zipped up.

Tahoe Mountain Sports can’t do much to lessen the elevation for those taking on Ironman Lake Tahoe on Sept. 20, but TMS can help racers and their support crews handle chilly mountain temperatures and the cold water of the Sierra Nevada.

Whether it’s in the lake, on the bike, out on the run or spectating, Tahoe Mountain Sports has everything to cover the pre-race, post-race and race-day nutrition and gear needs of triathletes and their families.

Starting Monday, Sept. 14, Tahoe Mountain Sports, located just off the bike course in Truckee at 11200 Donner Pass Rd., kicks off its annual Ironman appreciation days with a variety of steals, deals and schwag. Make sure to stop by the store to stock up that transition bag and at the TMS booth in the Ironman Village at Squaw Valley for a chance to win gear.

Forget race-day nutrition? Don’t stress; Tahoe Mountain Sports stocks all the best offerings from Hammer, Clif, Gu, Nuun and Epic Bars.

From goggles and swim caps to wetsuits, Tahoe Mountain Sports boasts Truckee-North Tahoe’s best supply of triathlon-specific gear from Tyr, Nathan and 2XU. Need a race-day wetsuit or just want to take one for a demo swim? Contact TMS and we’ll get you zipped up.

And whether it’s a racer taking on the 26.2-mile run leg of the triathlon or the family exploring the area’s trails, Tahoe Mountain Sports has a top-of-the-line selection of footwear for road and trail running and hiking.

From free wetsuit demos and the chance to win a $100 store gift certificate, Tahoe Mountain Sports welcomes those taking on the challenge of Ironman Lake Tahoe. Good luck!

@ TAHOE MOUNTAIN SPORTS (11200 Donner Pass Rd. in Truckee)

Mon-Weds (9/14-9/16) – Take 20 percent off all nutrition products, compression and warm/cold weather gear. Check out brands like Hammer Nutrition, Gu, Clif, 2XU and CEP compression.

Ironman Week (9/14-9/20) – Free 2XU wetsuit demos all week long. While supplies and sizes last, stop by the store and take a 2XU wetsuit out for a swim in Tahoe or nearby Donner Lake. 24-hour rental rates are free; anything over 24 hours is $25/day. Race day rentals are available for $25. Inquire at the store for available sizes and rental reservations.


Thurs-Sat (9/17-9/20) – Visit Tahoe Mountain Sports and 2XU at the Ironman Village at Squaw Valley. There will be a huge selection of 2XU compression and triathlon gear and clothing. And don’t forget to stop by, say hi and enter to win a $100 gift certificate by signing up at the booth during the expo.

Tahoe Mountain Sports Gift Cards Fast, easy, and one size fits all. Buy Now! Follow us: