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Archive for the ‘Adventure of the Week’ Category

TMS Goes to Golden Alpine Holidays (B.C.)

Saturday, March 21st, 2015
Sunrise Hut with the ridge of Melting Faces in the background.

Sunrise Hut with the ridge of Melting Faces in the background.

If you are a backcountry skier or boarder and ever have the chance to travel to Golden, BC…GO! Go NOW!

While Tahoe wallows in the throws of our fourth consecutive dry winter, one can only hope that by going North, you will eventually find what you are looking for. This year was no different because even though it hadn’t snowed much in the two weeks before we arrived, the temps stay crispy cold and the sun is low keeping all the but the most southern faces in prime skiing condition.

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Earning Turns

This year’s plan was for 2 days at Roger’s Pass and then a rare, partial week at the Sunrise Hut operated by Golden Alpine Holidays. We arrived to sunny, bluebird skies and that is what would persist our entire time. It felt like we were back in California, but the mountains were blanketed in white, the temps never got higher than -10C and instead of Snickers bars we ate EAT-MORE bars!

Zack and his old school Iron Cross move!

Zack and his old school Iron Cross move!

The first two days we spent touring on Roger’s Pass from the two most popular and centrally located trail heads. Day ONE took us to Balu Pass with some great North facing pow on the way and Day TWO took us on the Young’s Peak traverse for our longest day of the trip.


Check out the Suunto Movescount video below for a quick glimpse:

(Utilize the Suunto Movescount App on your laptop, tablet or phone to make it work its magic.)

On Day THREE, a quick eight minute Heli ride from the staging area took us to the Sunrise Hut at around 7,000 ft. We got in, ate our first of the most awesome lunches and hauled water as fast as we could, so we could get out and get skiing. The terrain around the Sunrise Hut is pretty perfect for all day ski touring. We were able to ski about 600-1,100 ft runs all around the hut and in most cases, up into the alpine.

Asst guide Hayden grabbing some pillow action

Assistant guide Hayden grabbing some pillow action

We were particularly fond of hitting the Ridge of Melting Faces for our first few runs everyday as it was the only time the sun was on it. When we arrived at the hut, the faces were clean and void of any ski lines so this made them extra tasty. Even after day FOUR, we still weren’t crossing even our own tracks and that is one of the best parts of a trip like this.

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Admiring our brush strokes on a previously blank canvas

Thanks to our guide/cook team of Julie and Rich Marshall we were incredibly well nourished and well guided throughout. We even got to celebrate Zack’s leap year birthday with some sparkler magic!

Zack's Leap year birthday party!

Zack’s Leap year birthday party!

Sara enjoying her Tele turns

Sara enjoying her Tele turns







Facebook Photo Album:

Tahoe Mountain Sports’ Mountaineering Move #SuuntoClimb #Suunto #Ambit3Peak.

Learn more about Golden Alpine Holidays and book a trip of your lifetime:

Learn more about Golden Alpine Holidays and book a trip of your lifetime:



Adventurous Dining at the Peter Grubb Hut

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

This post comes from Guest Blogger Michelle Shea. Michelle lives in 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 its about time backcountry meals get the recognition they deserve”. Learn  more at

Who: Chef Brian Robinson from the Clair Tappaan Lodge, cameraman Calvin Scibilla, dogs Bella and Shogun, and myself
What: Hike to Sierra Club’s Peter Grub Hut and cook lunch in the hut
Where: Tahoe National Forrest and the Clair Tappaan Lodge
When: November, 2014

This was the first official episode that I filmed for Adventure Dining Guide with a cameraman, a script and an experienced chef. I was both nervous and excited for this adventure and spent weeks making sure everything turned out as planned.


Calvin and I arrived in the morning to the Clair Tappaan Lodge to be greeted by Chef Brian and the friendly staff and volunteers who were at the lodge. We all sat down to enjoy a family style breakfast, where Calvin and I were able to hear some great stories about the lodge and its long history.


Prepping the taco meat ingredients in the Clair Tappaan kitchen


Redemption Song: Old Man, Take Two

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Chris Cloyd is a TMS ambassador athlete based out of Truckee, CA. He and Steven Benesi, a distance runner and mountain athlete from Truckee, are attempting to run and climb all of the peak on the Western States Climbers’ OGUL List by the end of 2016. Their successes and shortcomings will be recounted in this space – subscribe to the TMS blog RSS feed to follow their story!


Old Man Mountain, as seen from Interstate 80 Eastbound. Photo: Chris Cloyd

After a failed attempt earlier this year, Steven and I decided to celebrate his birthday with another attempt at Old Man Mountain. It seemed a fitting tribute, celebrating getting older with a summit bearing such a name. Learning from our previous mistakes, we chose attempt a new route to Old Man this time – instead of starting from Lake Spaulding, we would start from Cisco Grove and try and gain the summit via the Fordyce Summit ridgeline. This route put us a bit closer, to start, and seemed to remove much of the cross country travel that slowed us down last time.


No Snow Doesn’t Mean No Fun!

Monday, March 16th, 2015

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.

Who: Rachel and Garrett McCullough, and lots of family and friends
What: Skiing and hiking
Where: Park City, Utah
When: March 2015

This is the fourth year of drought in Truckee/Tahoe. We could all sit around and complain, and many of us do, as do some of our visitors. There’s no snow, no powder, it’s too warm, it’s too muddy, etc. Please pinch yourselves! Somehow it is easy to forget that we are at Lake Tahoe – one of the most gorgeous lakes in the Sierra, surrounded by incredible and yes, still snow-capped mountains.

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The recent inversions mean lots of fog in the Martis Valley, taken at Northstar California. Photo: Rachel McCullough


Thin Tahoe Winter Provides Us With Multi-Sport Paradise

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

TMS Ambassador Mike Tebbutt outlines all there is to do and be active in Tahoe during another low-snow winter. The following is his report on this re-imagined winter pastimes. Follow Mike on Instagram at @irontebby

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On top of Mt Baldy with Donner Party Mountain Runners for some off-trail running.

As I wrote this, Tahoe and Truckee were getting some much deserved snow!

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed with the lack of snowfall this winter, and scared for what this means for all of California as we are forced to fully embrace this severe drought we are in. However, the Lake Tahoe/Truckee region always provides us with the goods by which to enjoy this world-class destination. And in my 26 years of living in the area, I have seen many drought years that leave the “experts” telling you it will take several years of big winters to bring the Lake back up to capacity, only to have them contradicted by one winter with the HUGE precipitation that the Sierras are so famous for.

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Skiing at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe with my wife, Liz

This year has been an exceptional winter in that we have been able to enjoy Mt. Biking, Hiking and Trail Running all winter on the trails down low and still get some great skiing in up high. With these unique conditions, I have made it a point on several occasions to get in multi-sport days, even a couple of what I like to call “Tahoe Triathlons”. These triathlons consist of heading out early with my dog, Loosey, for a run on frozen dirt trails before the lifts open, then making my way up to Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe (which has been surprisingly good ALL winter) after breakfast for a few hours of skiing, then coming home to take Loosey out for round two and some quality “brown pow” mountain biking. I have also enjoyed some great off-piste running on the firm snow up high, as well as a handful of lift served and backcountry powder days.

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Stormy backcountry skiing with Sam Skrocke and Loosey on Mt Rose

I’ve seen many others taking advantage of the warm and calm days out on Tahoe and Donner lakes stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking, even a few brave swimmers. Others have also enjoyed some epic surf and kite surfing conditions this winter with the couple big storms that packed strong winds along with the snow.

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Mt Biking the February “brown pow”

I know we are all dreaming of bluebird and waist deep powder days, but until Mother Nature decides to bless us with those conditions, life is always good in Tahoe! While it hasn’t be waist deep this winter, we’ve still been having fun!

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Pond ice skating in Tahoe Vista!

Getting Put in Your Place by Old Man Mountain

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

This post comes from Chris Cloyd, 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.

Old Men Are Smarter Than You: Getting Put In Our Place by Old Man Mountain

Wisdom is a hell of a lot harder to come by than “smarts”, as I learned this past weekend. “Smarts” (as far as this writer is concerned) can be learned in a classroom or a library, and are observed fairly easily. Wisdom, in my opinion, needs to be learned the hard way – through experience and shortcomings and successes and failures. The burned hand learns best.

This relentless drought in the Tahoe has brought out some interesting coping mechanisms – some of my friends are taking up new sports, some are catching up on reading, some are going surfing on the coast. My friend Steven Benesi and I have resorted to drinking too much coffee, poring over maps, picking out peaks that look interesting, and figuring out ways to run/climb/scramble/posthole our way up to the summit. It’s a rewarding exercise, keeps us in shape, and (fortunately for us) there is no shortage of awesome mountain terrain around our neck of the woods. This past weekend the object of our desire was Old Man Mountain, down outside of Cisco Grove/Emigrant Gap. Many of you will recognize this peak from your drive up 80 from the Bay:


(Photo: Chris Cloyd)

We decided to start our run from the Lake Spaulding area (off of Highway 20) in an effort to add some good running miles to our approach. The most commonly used approach starts at Eagle Lakes Rd (off of I-80), but that would limit our trail time/running window to just a few miles on a jeep road. Who wants that? Being the extremely intrepid individuals that we are (read: overaggressive and reckless) we added about 7 miles of running to the front and back of our planned route to keep things interesting. For those of you scoring at home, this choice would come back to bite us.

We started out from the trailhead around 9 AM, freshly caffeinated and fueled up. The running was wonderful here, and the singletrack navigated the forest microclimate in style. It’s always so much fun running in the foothills(ish) for a bunch of reasons, but the stark contrast to the granite and alpine terrain up here in the Tahoe Basin is my favorite. We made it to Fordyce Falls with no difficulty – the water is moving down there right now!


Fordyce Falls (Photo: Chris Cloyd)

From here, things got a little sideways. Due in part to a spur trail that was pseudo-marked and then covered in snow (combined with some amateur navigating/map skills on my part) we found ourselves fjording (Oregon Trail shoutout!) Granite Creek and scaling waterfalls in an attempt to get ourselves back on the correct trail. This consumed some time, but it was well worth our detour to find some pretty awesome waterfalls that aren’t on any of our maps:


Flexing at the Falls (Photo: Chris Cloyd)

Upon rediscovering the trail, we had to backtrack a bit to rejoin the trail to Eagle Lakes. Some highly pleasurable running followed, and we arrived at Eagle Lakes just an hour or so behind schedule. Of course, this was where we could have started our day, but we chose to be more awesome and add some more to our adventure. After all, it’s all about time spent in the mountains with friends, isn’t it? We filtered some water at one the Eagle Lakes (never leave home without one – I love my Katadyn MyBottle Water Purifier Water Bottle) and got back to work. The next leg of our approach was all on the Fordyce Jeep Trail, which is technically an OHV route. That being said, I can’t believe people drive this thing. It’s a mangled sliver of boulders and pools and ice floes that’s barely navigable on foot. Steven and I actually caught and passed a guy on a dirt bike (yes, with a motor) – that’s how slow the going is on this route. To our surprise, we came across a few guys out with their trucks (and obligatory guns and beer) about 3 miles into this leg of the trail. We kindly asked them to shoot in the other direction until we returned from the mountain. About 3.5 miles in we hit the Fordyce Creek (read: river) crossing, and were stunned to discover about 75 feet of knee-to-hip deep water running across our route. Undeterred, we scrambled up the southern bank and bushwhacked/postholed our way upriver (not pleasant) for an interminable amount of time before coming across a felled tree that served as a natural bridge across the river. We successfully crossed, but this detour really killed our time. We were about 2 hours behind schedule now, and light was going to prove to be an issue. Consider the going was so easy to this point, we were hesitant to commit to headlamp running for any notable amount of time on the back end of our run. Nevertheless, we pressed on.

We reached our designated cross-country departure point, about a quarter mile to the southwest of the foot of Old Man and started on a direct route through the swaths of forest and manzanita. For the uninitiated, manzanita is the horrible plant that basically reaches up, grabs your entire body, slows your pace to a crawl, and is entirely unavoidable in certain patches of the Sierra. It’s probably responsible for the drought, and is probably cancerous, too. Weirdly enough, this experience with manzanita was no different, and we got to within throwing distance of the start of the real ascent to Old Man Mountain’s summit before we decided to call off our bid. It was almost 3 pm by this time, and we were sure to lose daylight on the way down if we pushed on to the top. Having made the decision that we weren’t comfortable with our return route in the dark, we did the only prudent thing we could: we stopped on a nice rock outcropping and made some coffee. Rule #1: Never attempt mountain adventure without a Jetboil, French press, and hand-ground coffee. Any time you can stop in the middle of nowhere (not one sign of human development/civilization was visible from our perch) and enjoy a cup of coffee with friends, you’ve got to do it.


Ahh, what a great view to be enjoyed with a great cup of coffee! (Photo: Chris Cloyd)

This brings me to Rule #2: Never attempt mountain adventure without a support team – in this case, our loving girlfriends. We contacted them using my Spot Gen3 GPS tracker (an awesome tool that allows you to send pre-drafted messages to a list of contacts at the push of a button even when you don’t have cell service) and kindly asked (begged) them to meet us at the Eagle Lakes interstate exit at 6 PM. This was our contingency plan, and we were thrilled to have had the forethought to develop a retreat plan and organize logistics for exactly this kind of scenario. We finished our coffee, tipped our hats to Old Man, and retreated back down the Fordyce Jeep Trail all the way back to Eagle Lakes and our predetermined extraction point. Fortunately for Steven and I, our girlfriends are the best in the whole world. Not only were able to pick us up, they brought hot tea and cold beer.

Rule #3: Always have contingency plans in place for your mountain adventures, and prepare: the separation is in the preparation.

Rule #4: ALWAYS take your significant other out to dinner and be liberal with massages after he/she saves you from your own belligerent overestimation of your own ability in the mountains.

All in all, we bit off more than we could chew on this day, but we enjoyed a great day in the mountains, nobody was hurt, and we learned a ton.

We’ll be back for you, Old Man, and we’ll be wiser.


Heading home (Photo: Chris Cloyd)

Après Snow Yoga

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
(Photo: Coral Taylor)

(Photo: Coral Taylor)

This post comes from TMS Ambassador – Coral Taylor, 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!

Winter is here! And even though the snow is not, per se, “epic”, it’s still fun to get out there and enjoy it! Whether your sport is snowboarding, skiing, XC skiing, snowshoeing, or backcountry exploring, your body and mind will appreciate some post-effort recovery.

After a day (or even a couple hours) of playing in the snow, I like to incorporate a little bit of yoga to help my muscles relax and to release any tension I might have (from dodging tourists on mountain run, making backcountry decisions, and driving to and fro).

I have found the following yoga poses to be beneficial in stretching the key muscles engaged, as well as improving strength, coordination and proprioception.

Dancer aka Lord of the Dance, Natarajasana

Dancer (7)

(Photo: Coral Taylor)

A modified version of this pose will allow you to stretch the quadriceps, the psoas, and work on your balance, without putting too much strain on your back. This is fun to try in the parking lot, once you have your snow boots on (ski boots NOT recommended due to their low coefficient of friction).


Windblown in Patagonia

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

Laguna de Los Tres. Photo: Rachel McCullough

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.

Who: Rachel and Garrett McCullough
What: Day Hiking Laguna de Los Tres
Where: Patagonia, Argentina
When: November 2014

I was jolted awake as the bus driver careened around another corner. Baggage fell from the overhead bins and slid across the floor. The driver was probably laughing at the tourists scrambling to right everything for about the 10th time on the trip.

As I blinked away the blurriness of 40 hours of travel, I realized it was 9:30pm and still light out. This is November in the southern hemisphere, which is spring! And so my first night in Patagonia began. I say began because 9:30 is dinnertime in Argentina!

As we stepped off the bus, the Andes rose in front of us. They are a sheer wall of rock nested in the snow, rising above the cloudy turquoise river. There stood Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre, as I had seen in so many photos, watching over the small town of El Chaltén. They would be much more elusive over the next few days, shrouded in storm clouds.


Blitzkrieg: An Assault on 4 High Sierra Peaks in One Day

Friday, December 5th, 2014

This post comes from Chris Cloyd, a TMS Ambassador and lover of endurance sports. When Chris isn’t training for his next big race or out exploring the Eastern Sierra on foot or 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.


A perfect day to bag four peaks!

I’ll always remember this past summer fondly, and with great reverence. This was the season that redefined sport and what is possible (for me) in the mountains. It was an exciting season, and one that I look forward to building on in 2015 and beyond. By far the most ambitious day on my calendar was October 19th, 2014 – a planned single-push assault on Mt. Carrillon, Mt. Russell, Mt. Whitney, and Mt. Muir in one day.


Hiking Yosemite’s Bermuda Triangle: Tenaya Canyon

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

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 the outdoors, she’s teaching skiing at Northstar California or building and marketing websites for her clients at McCullough Web Services.

The emerald pools and gigantic boulders of the Inner Gorge

Who: Rachel, Theresa, Tom, Denis, Mat
What: Tenaya Canyon ascent
Where: Yosemite National Park, CA
When: September, 2014
Gear: Sawyer Point Squeeze Filter,  Altra Lone Peak Trail Running ShoesBlack Diamond Primrose Harness

All photos by Rachel McCullough unless captioned otherwise.

Disclaimer: Hiking/Canyoneering in Tenaya Canyon is dangerous. This blog post is not a recommendation for you to try the route.

There were many reasons NOT to go to Tenaya Canyon. For starters, there is its reputation as the Bermuda Triangle of Yosemite. Then there is the curse that Chief Tenaya invoked when white men killed his son. If you don’t believe in that, there is a Google search results page plastered with stories of helicopter ride exits, as some sort of proof. Not even John Muir escaped unscathed on this 10+ mile journey. He found himself slipping, somersaulting, and then losing consciousness, only to be spared by the dense shrubbery on the route. Then there was the forecast: 40% chance of afternoon thunderstorms.

If all that wasn’t enough, closer to home, Alpine Meadows was charging their snowmaking system as the King Fire scorched tens of thousands of acres less than ten miles away. Facebook lit up with talk of being ready to evacuate. The list goes on. So what possessed me to leave a list of what should be saved with my husband in the event of a fire evacuation and make the six-hour journey to Yosemite?  It was the lure of the remote off-trail experience, the promise of emerald pools, glacier-carved canyon walls, unparalleled views, time with good friends, old and new, and the challenge.

And while we didn’t emerge from Tenaya canyon unscathed, we did emerge having had the adventure of a lifetime. Just not one to be repeated in the same fashion, ever again.

Most people approach Tenaya Canyon from the top as a canyoneering route, rappelling through waterfalls and landing in ice cold pools. Seeing as in my ten years at Lake Tahoe, I’ve only swam in the lake once (gasp), a water-logged adventure didn’t sound appealing, and neither did the toe-crushing slab descents. So, with all of us having a rock climbing background, and in true John Muir form, we decided to go up.

The evening before our planned trip, as I arrived at Olmstead Point, which overlooks Tenaya Canyon, I saw, well, nothing. The King Fire smoke had followed me to Yosemite, and was so thick that the normally prominent Half Dome was invisible. We hoped it would clear before morning and we weren’t disappointed.

We started at Mirror Lake at around 7am, only a half hour behind our planned schedule. Our crew is not known for our timely morning departures (more about that here:


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