RUBICON PEAK (9,183') 4X July 28, 2001
We wanted an easy day after the weekend before. I motored up U.S. 50 with my buddy Rex, again, and we thought on what peak(s) to do today. Some good ones I planned to do with the Great Basin Group, Sierra Club, in the following months. I pondered over new peaks not on any list, such as McKinstry Peak, or Deadwood Peak. They seemed too banal and unworthy, as we list-baggers tend to see.
So we took Highway 89 along the west shore of Lake Tahoe to drive past beautiful Emerald Bay to the subdivision roads that lead to the start point for Rubicon Peak.
I had last done this in 1992, with Rex and another compadre. Nine years sure flies by! I didn't expect anything new for the peaks guide, so simply noted by memory what might be new. Hundreds of hikers must have climbed up this trail, as now it was a very good use trail marked by many, many ducks.
We began hiking at 11:05 a.m., after a couple food and rest stops enroute. The trail was unmarked, but seemed suspiciously good. We delighted in the easy walking, and soon gained altitude rapidly. I remembered the trail ran out after awhile, but as we climbed, it continued steeply upward. This should be made an official, posted, climbers trail!
We ascended through tall forests, to follow this steep use trail to new heights. It was now to run almost to the top! There are a few places it forks, but all goes to the same spot ahead. I had to stop Rex for rests, as we were going up too fast for the time we had. I plan these days to maximize our stay up here in the Tahoe Basin, with the cleanest air and the most gorgeous scenery for Northern California. I wore my polyester top with jeans, proving cool enough with the refreshing mountain breezes.
After maybe our fourth good break, I shortly came upon the sight of our summit pinnacle, only a few hundred feet above us. The use trail led upward to the base of the rock, and I scouted about for the easy way up. Hmm--my memory is always funny. Was it this hard when we did this before? I rate this climb as class 2, but everything looked like low three. I followed the use trail southward till it came to a drop-off. Not this way! Going back a bit, I remembered that the route did go up about this way, just south of the highest point.
The rock was solid granite, so made for good scrambling. Beginner peak climbers might turn back! I reached the airy ridge, and the strong, sudden gusts of wind could cause someone to lose their balance, and be propelled over the edge! Keeping my center of gravity low by crouching, I made my way to the highpoint by 1:40 p.m. I looked, and we never found my old register from 1992. Nuts! I had materials for a good new one, but the policy of the USFS on Desolation Wilderness says a big NO to summit registers. I was so tempted, but refrained. So many people would come up here, and thus wish to record their names for the best vista of the Lake from any peak on its rim. I guess we'll leave it as wilderness.
We found a wide ledge to rest, but the wind made us uncomfortable. Rex was dismayed at the suddenness of the gusts that could topple one over the edge, which could mean a fall of a hundred feet! I persisted in my old register search, but found nothing. Rex had some food and water, and I shot plenty of photos and later, movies.
We stayed on top about an hour, then started down at 2:34 p.m. Rex was rejuvenated. We made good time heading down, and to try something new, I shot plenty of hiking movies. The auto-focus or something makes the screen scene zoom slightly in and out, and I tried settings to stop that. These movies are so low res, and compressed, they are a novelty, fun to play with, but of little value but curiosity, compared with, say, a professional movie film camera.
I took a few shots of Rex hiking downward with the Lake as backdrop. With a large memory card, I can shoot plenty of "footage."
We came back to the car at 4:12 p.m., and I tried to kill time. I would get back home too early. We shortly took off, and pondered what to do. After a short photo stop at Emerald Bay (Eagle Falls was hardly running, but the lake steamer made for a good shot), I drove east on 50 into Stateline, but Rex is not interested much in casinos. I had just been here a couple weeks ago. We weren't hungry enough for the Saturday night $12 buffets, so motored back west and home.
We hiked some 2,300' gain with 4 miles round trip. I shot some 56 still images, with twelve movie clips (320 x 240 pixels, 8.7 MB, 1:27).
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