RUBICON PEAK (9,183') January 19, 1986
Two other tourers joined me for this regularly scheduled ski tour. We drove up U.S. 50 and passed Emerald Bay on Highway 89. Driving up to the roadhead at the highest street in Rubicon Estates, a subdivision on the west shore of Lake Tahoe, we parked and readied for the ski.
I hadn't really determined the skill level of these two, but they said that they could ski. Sadly, for them, they really couldn't. I broke trail up the northern slopes of this peak. I had skied around this area in April 1981, with another local chapter group. The north slope has the right angle for some good telemark skiing. The trees were spread out, with plenty of room between them to turn and traverse.
I led the way up, having to slow down to watch these other two. They came up eventually, then we reached the top. They clambered around to the class 2 route, skis off. We enjoyed the view of Lake Tahoe right below us. There wasn't much snow yet, but it was good weather.
As we prepared to ski down, another two tourers came up. They said they lived in Tahoe City, CA, and that these were the worse snow conditions they had ever seen in many, many tours up here. It was somewhat icy and crusty.
I obliged one with a ski turn for his camera, with the Lake in the background. With my funny hat, sunglasses, strange clothes, and backpack, it might have been a interesting shot of a backcountry skier. It would have been nice to be published in a Patagonia catalog.
The others didn't do as well. I did a few more telemark turns, then waited as they tried, and fell, then started the kick-turn and traverse method. It looked like real Hell for one of them. Luckily, it isn't a long way down. I shepherded the skiers down, and we came back to the car at a decent hour.
I had scheduled this easy peak tour, thinking that I would attract some good skiers for later ski mountaineering. These two were never to go with me again, being more flat terrain skiers, apparently. Their equipment showed that.
I don't remember much else about this day, except it was to be one of my last ski tours led for the local chapter. The two didn't report any problems to me, although a big complaint might have been discreetly forwarded to this chapter. I have had other skiers grumble that I skied too well. To this particular, past, date, I have had only been doing this for 13 years!
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