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Polar Opposites: A photo journey of Antarctica in Truckee

Monday, October 5th, 2015

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

Friday, September 25th, 2015

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

Monday, September 21st, 2015

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.


Sunday, September 13th, 2015
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.

Castle Peak 100K Runners Go Big

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015
Chris Cloyd, TMS ambassador and Truckee local, placed third overall in his Salomon Running kit at the inaugural Castle Peak 100K.

Chris Cloyd, TMS ambassador and Truckee local, placed third overall in his Salomon Running kit at the inaugural Castle Peak 100K.

By all accounts the inaugural Castle Peak 100K trail race on Aug. 29 was a success, but by no means easy.

Of the 55 runners who started the race at 5 a.m. Saturday at Stampede Reservoir, 48 crossed the finish line at Donner Memorial State Park — the majority in the dark.

Shout out to Tahoe Mountain Sports ambassador and Truckee resident Chris Cloyd, who finished third overall. Cloyd covered the 62.5 miles and 11,000 feet of elevation in 12 hours 42 mins. Jace Ives, of Ashland, OR, hammered the course finishing first at 10 hrs 53 mins. The first woman was Roxanne Woodhouse of Weaverville, CA at 13 hrs 02 mins.

Congratulations to all who took on the Castle Peak 100K challenge. TMS looks forward to Chris’ recap of the event, next year’s race and what race organizers — Donner Party Mountain Runners — have in store for the future from racing to group runs.

And while Donner Party Mountain Runners is a great place to connect about the trail running scene, TMS has all your trail-running gear needs covered. Whether you’re gearing up for an ultra-running event or just hitting the area’s amazing trail offerings for your own running adventure, TMS has you covered from head to toe.


Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 11.32.00 AM

Salomon’s S Lab XT 6

If running 100k wasn’t challenging enough, the Castle Peak 100k threw in another surprise at mile 49 — ascending a steep, exposed cliff band in the Palisades between Mt. Disney and Mt. Lincoln. How steep? Steep enough that runners tackled the ascent assisted by ropes.

OK, not everyone is hitting rated pitches on their trail runs, but wearing shoes designed for mixed trail types will cover most situations. Salomon’s S-Lab XT 6 Trail Racing Shoes offer the company’s Contragrip, which features outsole hardness combinations for a blend of grip and durability.

The shoe company that’s taken the trail-running world by storm the last few years is Hoka. You’ve undoubtedly seen the unique shoes on the feet of your hardcore running friends. Hoka’s thick, rolling rocker and midsole geometry features a high volume, soft density rebounding foam that scores of runners swear by.


Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 12.05.29 PM

Ultimate Direction’s SJ Ultra Hydration Vest

The distance of your run will dictate your hydration needs. Will a hydration pack, vest or hand-held water bottle do the job? Whatever your needs, TMS has it all. For those long runs the Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Hydration Vest allows for plenty of water with two 20oz bottle holders and space to accommodate a 70 oz. bladder. Another cool feature is the stretchy pockets so the vest expands as you need it.

If you’re heading out for a shorter run or just don’t like wearing a vest or pack, a hand-held water bottle may be your best option. The Salomon Park Hydro Handset  features an innovative 16-ounce flask that compresses as you drink and eliminates annoying sloshing as you deplete your liquids nearer the end of a run.

For more on the Salomon Park Hydro Handset checkout this TMS review.

Footwear and hydration are just two aspects of what will help you out on the trail. Find everything for your trail running needs from technical apparel, nutrition, headlamps and more at Tahoe Mountain Sports.

Running a Remote Aid Station at One of the Toughest Ultra-Marathons: Hardrock 100.

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

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.

1 Hardrock100

The Hardock 100 is a mountain run that passes through some of the most beautiful and rugged mountains in the world. The Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run is an ultra-marathon of 100.5 miles in length, plus 33,992 feet of climb and 33,992 feet of descent for a total elevation change of 67,984 feet, at an average elevation of over 11,000 feet. The race is held on a loop course on 4WD roads, dirt trails, and cross country in Southern Colorado’s San Juan Mountains.

2 Hardrock100
The San Juan mountains are home to some of the most rugged mountains in Colorado. The run starts and ends in Silverton, Colorado and travels through the towns of Telluride, Ouray, and the ghost town of Sherman, crossing thirteen major passes in the 12,000′ to 13,000′ range. Runners must travel above 12,000 feet (3,700 m) of elevation a total of 13 times, with the highest point on the course being the 14,048′ summit of Handies Peak. This is a test of runners against the mountains. The course is on trails as much as possible. There are 13 aid stations; major aid stations are located in the towns and a few remote aid stations throughout the course. The run is a salute to the toughness and perseverance of the hardrock miners who lived and worked in the area.

For the past five years, I have been part of a team who runs a remote aid station at roughly 12,200’ elevation just below Engineer Pass, known properly as Engineer Aid Station. The logistics and planning that go in to running a remote aid station begin several weeks, if not months, before we even arrive in Silverton, CO. To start, last year the design and engineering of new lightweight canopy shelters would replace the tarp shelter we have used for many years, it was enough to make even the most weight consciences backpacker jealous. Several boxes of gear are inventoried and packed away for the trip to Silverton. Once in Silverton we draw even more equipment from Hardrock 100 (food, beverages, emergency bags, and all the fill-in items that complete an aid station). We then attend general, medical, and radio communication briefings. Once the briefings are complete, equipment is loaded and the last few things are gathered to fill empty spots, and the pilgrimage to Engineer Pass begins.

4 Hardrock100

We typically arrive at the top of Engineer Pass via a four-wheel drive road late Thursday afternoon the night prior to the race start. From there we load up packs and descend in to the Bear Creek valley right at tree line below Engineer Pass. Wildflowers and snowfields fill this valley, and when the light is right, it is a natural spectacle beyond words.

5 Hardrock100

It takes a full day to get the aid station setup. The Hardrock 100 begins the next morning (Friday) at 6 a.m., at the same time we are setting up our station. Engineer Aid Station is right at about the 50 mile mark. Each year the race is run in a reverse direction, but since we are in the middle, it has little bearing on us. The logistics of bringing in food, beverages, tables, and cooking supplies are calculated almost to the pound. Water has to be filtered from a nearby stream, roughly 75 gallons of it. 15 gallons of broth will be prepared, and over 200 pounds of food and beverages will be packed in. Two large wing canopies, four ultra-light tables, lights, a stove, fuel, and emergency supplies are also packed in. All of this is just for the runners and their pacers. Volunteers at the aid station are responsible for packing in their own food and supplies beyond what they are hauling on behalf of the aid station.

3 Hardrock100

The canopies were made using aerodynamic wing designs reminiscent of that seen in MSR Wing or Kelty Noah Tarps and designed from lightweight Tyvek, shock cord, and high tensile strength aluminum. They proved to stand up to all the elements this year, which in a 24 hour period included rain, snow, lightning, wind, sunshine…you name it. While the wing canopies each cover an area of 24’ x 30’, they weigh less than 8lbs apiece!

6 Hardrock100

Once the amenities of the aid station are set up, a radio base station is established between aid stations and with Silverton headquarters some 15 miles away over mountainous terrain. The radio communications are critical, and the use HAM radios and creative uses of radio equipment are employed. Often times we can hit a radio repeater on Engineer Mountain at 13,200’, but not always. At times it is a matter of aiming a lightweight yagi antenna at a cliff wall and bouncing the signal down Bear Creek Canyon to Ouray. Other times it might include a cross-band repeater set up in a vehicle parked several miles away on Engineer Pass. In many instances, our communications have to be intermittently shut down due to electric storms. We stay busy, to say the least.

In actuality, the radio network to cover the 100-mile race is quite a marvel. A diagram of the radio schematic from various aid stations would look like a spider web to some. But it all falls in to place. With all the challenges, we make contact and track every single runner and pacer that comes through our station. Our first runner usually comes through at around 4pm on Friday. For the next 16 hours runners will continue to pour in to our station. Our busiest time is between 10pm and 2am, but we will see them well in to the morning hours.

We have seen just about everything imaginable come through our station. Some runners appear as if they are taking a casual stroll through the park, in high spirits. But, with Hardrock, and the elements of the mountains, a pass that is sunny and still one moment can be a whiteout of graupel, rain, and lightning the next. The runners reflect the experiences they encounter on the course. Even though we only see the runners briefly at our aid station, their experiences will be remembered for a lifetime.

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After all runners are accounted for to the next aid station, we get the all-clear to pack up our station. We practice Leave No Trace ethics. In essence, the aid station and any clue of its existence vanish upon our departure. The long hike out of Engineer begins, hopefully getting to the top of Engineer Pass to our vehicles before the afternoon storms hit. This year we encountered a blinding white mix of rain, graupel, and snow ascending to the top of the pass.

In all, it is a tremendous amount of work running this station. But we love doing it and have returned for many years, as a group we have run this station since 2010. The runners in Hardrock are quite honestly some of the most genuine people I have ever had the opportunity to meet. Hardrock is a race like no other, and from a runner’s perspective is a mental challenge as well as a physical one. All of the runners have stories of Hardrock 100 and how they persevered both the external and internal challenges. It’s the inspiration of the runners, and the genuine human spirit that keeps us coming back.

Kelty Noahs Tarp 12
Kelty Noahs Tarp 12
MSRP: $69.95

Sierra Crest 30K/50K – Course Preview

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

This post comes from two Donner Party Mountain Runner members, Lorenzo Wimmer and Jon Murchinson. Both are avid runners and in preparation for the Aug. 8th Sierra Crest 30K/50K Ultra Run, they took to the trails to give us a course preview!

Register TODAY and enjoy these scenic views:

Donner Panorama-600

Donner Ridge (Ph: Lorenzo Wimmer)

Jon Murchinson’s Sierra Crest Preview:

Distance: Approximately 7 miles
Elevation Gain: 2k+ feet


Ph: Jon Murchinson

The Tahoe Donner Equestrian Center is the starting point for the 30k. Runners pass through the corals and head west into the extensive Tahoe Donner trail system. This first section of the course is largely on horse trails (roots and manure are the obstacles to beware of) which winds through the trees. It is largely flat until the course turns up Boot Hill and starts a slight climb on a broad and exposed trail at Marker 37.


Ph: Jon Murchinson

Runners continue on Dogs in Space past Marker 38 and onto Marker 38a. At this point the course turns right and starts up a series of switchbacks. This is the first significant climb of this section of the course. It is exposed so runners will benefit from having a visor, hat or bandana and sunglasses. As the course climbs it provides views of the Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Area, Prosser Creek Reservoir, Martis Valley and Northstar. The climb ends at Marker 17b,and runners turn right onto Crazy Horse. This section is rather flat although it is somewhat rocky.


Ph: Jon Murchinson

Crazy Horse leads down to Marker 17 at which point the course turns left and starts a long climb up Andromeda towards Hawk’s Peak. This is the longest climb in this part of the course although runners will enjoy additional views of Martis Valley and Northstar. Runners will pass the Hawk’s Peak Loop Trail, at approximately 7,600’ the high point of this section, and continue on towards the Drifter Hut and some of the most stunning vistas of this part of the course.


Ph: Jon Murchinson

At Marker 36 the Euer Valley is off to runners’ right and Castle Peak comes into view for the first time. After a brief singletrack uphill, the course continues on towards the Drifter Hut, turns left and starts a welcome downhill towards Marker 18a.


Ph: Jon Murchinson

Runners start the final uphill of this section at Marker 19, which is the bottom of Sunrise Bowl. The climb is undulating and steep in sections, although not as long or taxing as the Andromeda Hill, it could present challenges due to some loose and rocky terrain. Once again views of the Tahoe Donner Ski Area are abundant. At the crest of the hill there is a stand of trees that provides welcome shade. Runners will enjoy a mild downhill that starts at Marker 19.


Ph: Jon Murchinson

The ridge behind Donner Lake is directly ahead and Tinker’s Knob and Mount Judah can be seen off to the right. At Marker 20, the course turns left and runners do an out-and-back section to the Glacier Way Aid Station.

Lorenzo Wimmer’s Sierra Crest Preview:

I began the run from the Glacier Way aid station number two. I bypassed the starting line to Aid Station #1. The Glacier Way Picnic area was quite a beautiful setting!

The course starts off flat, with a series of gentle rollers following the winter cross country ski trails. (It probably would have been more understandable if I had skied or gone out on snowshoes these runs in the wintertime) I didn’t know any of the names or side trails, therefore I was a little uncertain at some trail junctions. I’m confident with trail markers the ambiguity will disappear.


Ph: Lorenzo Wimmer

The trail is in pristine condition, especially from Glacier Way to just below the Donner Ridge, dropping down into Negro Canyon. No obstacles that I could recall, very few tree roots or loose footing to worry about. Only a few areas of vegetation growing over the trail but not enough to make a difference.

One confusing sign was that of the Negro Canyon Overlook near the picnic table, that said the trail was a dead-end, when in fact it was not. Fortunately for me a mountain biker came by and I watched him fade into the distance, asserting that it was not a dead-end. With the mountain bike traffic, one would think that trail may have been torn up a little, but it was fine.


Ph: Lorenzo Wimmer

The switchbacks started down the hill, all footing in good shape. Only slippery areas were under the pine trees that had lost a considerable amount of needles from the recent strong winds, and the green needles over the dry, made for a couple of loose steps. It was a warm day in spite of the wind, and the shade now and then under the pine trees was quite welcome. I was the only runner on the trail, so it felt like Disneyland, and I had it all to myself. Only four mountain bikers total that day, two going up and two going down.

The trail junction for Wendin Way Access Trail splits off to the northeast (left) at the creek with decent flow enough to refill water bottles (with a filter) This was the only water source along the route. (No problem as the Aid Station was close by) There is the possibility of someone turning to the right, but I’m sure with trail markers, everyone will be fine.

Not far after that split, a large sign indicating the new Wendin Way Access Trail goes to the left. It is well marked and in good shape, however more stones to navigate around than the earlier part of the trail. This rerouted trail does have a more convoluted route than the trail indicated on trail maps on iPhone applications.

One different turn I took it would seem, was about 100 meters from the Second waypoint. The route on the website indicates that that the trail turns southeast to join the service road… but I didn’t see any obvious trail showing that direction. As you can see from my tracks, my route was a bit more direct to the open area near the Aid Station.


Ph: Lorenzo Wimmer

That’s about it, it was over too soon for me, I wanted to keep going as I had just finally warmed up enough to run. I was waiting for a girlfriend to come pick me up, so unfortunately that was the end of the line for me today. My friend wants to do this segment with me again sometime, as it is quite easy and with such beautiful views, you can’t pass up an opportunity to see it all again! (Follow Lorenzo at

On Aug. 8, the Auburn Ski Club will host the Inaugural Sierra Crest 30K / 50K which is an exciting point-to-point trail run that takes advantage of some of the Truckee/Donner Summit region’s best single track. The Sierra Crest begins at 6650ft, on trails heading out from Tahoe Donner’s new Adventure Center, joining up with the Donner Lake Rim Trail, and finally ending on the trails at the Auburn Ski Club Training Center at 7200ft. For those new to trail running, the 30K (just 18 miles), is an excellent opportunity to join the sport and push themselves in a beautiful environment!

This unique race offers spectacular views of the Sierra Crest and some of the Northern Sierras most spectacular mountain peaks (including, Euer Valley, Frog Lake Cliffs, Donner Lake, Summit Lake, Castle Peak and the many other mountain peaks along the Sierra Crest). Fully stocked aid stations along both courses will be in place to keep runners well fueled, 5 stations for the 50k, and 3 stations for the 30K.

The Sierra Crest Trail Run is organized by the Auburn Ski Club as fundraisers to help support the work the Club does in the Truckee, Tahoe & Foothill regions. Hundreds of local children and teens benefit from the Club’s low cost cross country ski trails, their support of High school skiing and its own quality Nordic, Alpine & Snowboard Teams.

King of the Lake 2015 – A Player’s Retrospective

Friday, July 24th, 2015

This post comes from Amanda Zaccone, a friend of TMS and avid disc golfer (PDGA #59547) residing in Sacramento, CA.  Amanda was a top 10 finisher at the 2015 King of the Lake Tournament! 


Amanda teeing off with great form!

There are a select few disc golf tournaments which I consider to be a must attend every year. The first on this rather short list is the King of the Lake A-Tier event which takes place in Tahoe and Truckee. This tournament features 5 epic North Lake Tahoe courses over 3 days; Bijou Park & Zephyr Cove in South Lake, Sierra College & Truckee River Regional Park in Truckee, and Lake of the Sky in Tahoe Vista, which solidifies this event as the ultimate challenge and test of disc golf endurance I have ever had the privilege to experience.

This was my second year attending King of the Lake and it proved to be just as wonderful both years. Sponsored by several well established and young disc golf companies local businesses, including Tahoe Mountain Sports, competitors receive awesome player’s packs loaded with gear, attire, souvenirs, and snacks for the trail. This years pack had both a DGA disc, (I picked out the new Hellfire) and a dri-fit KOTL shirt which I was ecstatic about! Most tournaments I’ve played have one or the other, so this made it more memorable. I do love my swag. I take home with me these tokens of my experience and wear my shirt with pride. I’ve been asked about it several times and this gives me the opportunity to tell people all about the King of the Lake Tournament in Tahoe!

As for the disc golf portion of the event, King of the Lake really has everything a player could want in a tournament. In addition to the stacked players field, the courses each offered its own set of challenges and features to make this event truly memorable. We started our first day at Bijou Park for the first round and then headed over to Zephyr Cove for round 2. Bijou Park is one of my personal favorite courses to play. With 27 holes there are so many different kinds of shots to take and with it being relatively flat, you are not exhausted after a round there. Bijou has plenty of trees to navigate, and some nice hard ground for your skip game, but you better be careful of the stumps that might just stop you short. Bijou is perfect for your first round, because when you get to Zephyr Cove, you’re going to be hiking up some steep hills and you’ll want that energy to see you through. The challenges at Zephry Cove include more elevation changes than Bijou, which faces you with some strategic decision making when it comes to your game. A player will always feel accomplished after a round of 18 at Zephyr Cove, and those hikes are really worth the effort because when you get to Hole 9 up top, you are treated to one of the most breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe. Zephyr Cove is truly a gem and not only a local favorite, but famous among disc golfers from all over the world.


Is it the socks? Amanda always is on target!

The second day this year and last year were held at the Truckee Courses; Sierra College and Truckee River Regional Park. This would be a day opposite from the first day where the more difficult and challenging course that is Sierra College comes first, and then we finish round two at Truckee Regional, AKA Truckee River, on account it runs right along the banks of the Truckee River. Sierra College offers those changes in elevation which requires some adjustment in a player’s game and also has plenty of trees to throw around. This course has a couple par 4 holes and some ups and downs. Sierra College is definitely a hike, but also has some incredible views of Truckee once you get to the top of Hole 5 and Hole 12. After a round at Sierra College, Truckee Regional feels like a nice walk along the river. Challenging and fun, this course has plenty of birdie opportunities and some really fun shots. Truckee tends to get a bit breezy, so players will now have to play their best wind game.

On the last day we finish up the tournament at another of my favorite Tahoe courses, Lake of the Sky (in Tahoe Vista, CA). This course has everything. Long holes, short, holes, wide open and tight, technical lines, elevation changes,a little hike here and there, and of course, a fantastic view of Lake Tahoe. I really have a lot of fun at this course.

The stellar design at all five King of the Lake courses along with the wonderful and dedicated disc golf community make King of the Lake a memorable and unrivaled tournament!

Mud Lake: The Journey Was Better than the Destination

Thursday, June 25th, 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
What: Hiking
Where: Tahoe Rim Trail – Brockway to Mt. Rose segment
When: June 2015

Only I could think up a hike where the destination was a muddy lake that would require 23 miles of hiking. And only my husband, Garrett, would think this was a good enough idea to tag along cheerfully. 

So, it really had to be all about the journey; as is my goal of day hiking the entire Tahoe Rim Trail.

The Tahoe Rim Trail has presented a challenge to Garrett and me. Not because of the hiking itself, which seems to be the easy part, but in the logistics. Being a one car family, and the fact that no one has shown too much interest in 20-30 mile day hikes with us, shuttling is a bit difficult.

The Tahoe City to Brockway section took 4 modes of transportation to complete. We drove to Brockway, rode our bikes down to the bus stop in Kings Beach, took the bus to the trailhead in Tahoe City, walked the trail to the car, then drove back to pick up the bikes in Kings Beach! And while that seemed somewhat reasonable (except to anyone we explained this convoluted plan to, planning for the others hasn’t been as easy).

We completed the Brockway to Mt. Rose section a bit differently. Last year, we started at Mt. Rose, with our goal destination being Mud Lake, about halfway between the Brockway and Mt. Rose trailheads. We didn’t quite make it all the way, but we came close. So this particular weekend, we headed out from Brockway to tick off the remaining piece. That made our destination somewhere past Mud Lake.

So as my wise friend, Gretchen, pointed out when I hatched this plan of day-hiking from either trailhead to the middle – when we are done we’ll have hiked nearly the whole trail twice. So here’s to hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail twice, once in each direction!

Our adventure on the Brockway to Mt. Rose section began by loading up with 5 liters of water (each!) and setting out at the not-so-early hour of 8:30 from Brockway towards Martis Peak. Have I mentioned before we are not morning people?! Almost immediately, we were both drenched in sweat. Garrett asked me if the trail seemed harder than usual (we’d done the first part many times). Maybe it was all the water we were carrying to prevent getting overwhelmed by the heat.

This did not seem like the way to start 23 miles. I think the problem was that it was actually warm out. Summer temps plus some morning humidity wasn’t something we’d gotten used to yet.

The lake came in and out of view on our right side for the first several miles, until it eventually opened up so that all you could see was blue. The blue of the sky, the blue of the lake; what a gorgeous color.


One of our earlier views of Lake Tahoe. It just kept getting better.

The trail meandered and switchbacked through the forest, before eventually leading to more open and treeless terrain. We stopped for a break at the last bit of shade, not so much because we were tired, but more because we were scared of the sun-baked terrain in front of us! We might wilt! Luckily as we climbed higher, it cooled down and we got a nice afternoon breeze. Being at over 9,000 feet definitely helps.


Someone needs to go back for this photo in a couple of weeks. The yellow flowers will be gorgeous!

We joked along the way about our goal of Mud Lake. We wondered if there was even going to be water. Garrett still hasn’t let me live it down that I built up our hike to Twin Lakes on the Mt. Rose to Spooner section, only to find no water upon reaching the first lake. He claimed I was leading him on again. I started to wonder myself since we had decided on the route late the previous night and hadn’t asked around.

We agreed this was the best section of the trail so far. Views like on the Flume Trail, but without the bikes or crowds.

On the way to Mud Lake, there were a couple of tempting diversions. One was a rock outcropping with an easy climb and a lake view. Garrett reminded me that all diversions should be done on the way back. That way you know if you have enough energy to make it to the end. And he’s right! It’s easy to be excited 7 or 8 miles in! We did end up stopping for the short rock climb, but held off on Rifle Peak to see how we felt on the way back.

Then, I spent the next few miles tripping over my own feet as I forgot about the trail and stared at the lake. The most gorgeous part of the hike definitely went by the quickest.

We finally reached Mud Lake, and while it wasn’t as disappointing as one might think, it might not be the destination most people have in mind after hiking 10+ miles. But it did have water and it wasn’t muddy at all! So, we grumbled a bit about carrying a total of 10 liters of water, but oh well.


Mud Lake. It seemed clearer in person, I promise!

At this point, we figured we must be getting close to the spot we’d left off last time. So, we commenced what seemed like the longest part of the hike, which consisted of about a mile, with more uphill than perhaps we had envisioned. I say envisioned because the topo clearly showed the uphill, we just didn’t quite internalize what we saw.

We finally reached a familiar spot and were able to remember where we sat to rest and a trail that could be seen in the distance. Somehow we still questioned ourselves a bit. We couldn’t come all this way and miss a few hundred foot section in the middle! So went just a little bit further until we spotted Ginny Lake. Now we were sure. Ginny Lake is a muddy lake. Strange that the clearest lake in the area is named Mud Lake and the muddy lake is named Ginny Lake. I didn’t take long to ponder that because we started to head back and I had my sights set on Rifle Peak.


Garrett and Ginny Lake (that small puddle in the background). This was our turnaround point.

Rifle Peak is not too far off the trail, but it’s a little steep! We found another hiker at the summit who snapped our photo. Confusion ensued when we told him where we came from and how we got there. And then counted out the miles for him!


Rachel and Garrett on the summit of Rifle Peak.


Rifle Peak summit with clouds building.

We only spent a couple of minutes at the summit, wondering if the building clouds would produce any rain. It wasn’t in the forecast, but they did seem to be staying east.


Garrett descending from Rifle Peak, which is seen in the background.


More descending from Rifle Peak. No complaints about this view. Except that it made me trip over anything in my path. Too distracting!

We took our longest break of the hike right before we lost our most expansive lake view. It was hard to motivate to leave that spot, but after 10 minutes, it was go time.


Panoramic view of North Tahoe from the trail, with Garrett.


There’s me. About to trip on something as I look at Lake Tahoe, I’m sure! Good thing for hiking poles!

The final miles somehow melted away. Good conversation definitely helps. We hit the road at about 5:45pm, ready for some dinner. Our evening plans entailed walking two miles to happy hour at a friends’, putting us at 25 miles for the day. We joked we should make a lap around the neighborhood and make it a full marathon. Oh well, another time!

Tahoe Mountain Sports Gear We Used:


I Found Snow and it Tried to Get Me Lost: Day Hiking From Tahoe to Truckee

Thursday, April 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, Adam
What: Hiking
Where: From Tahoe City to Truckee, along the Tahoe Rim Trail and the 06 Forest Road
When: April 2015

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Photo: Rachel McCullough

“Did you do an idiot check?” I asked Adam as we left our rest spot. [The idiot check is the last glance back to make sure that you actually packed everything that you came with, so you don’t feel like an idiot later when you realize you left your water bottle sitting on a log.] Never having heard that phrase, he asked if I was checking for him since he was an idiot for coming along on one of my crazy hikes! Unfortunately, I am not sure he is the first to have that thought cross his mind while hiking with me. While we had hiked together many times since we met in college, I have pushed myself towards what some would call the extreme, while he has been enjoying hiking like most people, five to ten miles at a time. But, he can out ride me any day, so I figured what’s a few extra miles?


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