Carson City High Point Trip Report

Snow Valley Peak (9,214 ft)

Date: April 10, 2003
Author: Dean Molen

The weather in the Tahoe area was beginning to look like it was going to change so I kind of flipped a coin, will I do Mt. Rose or Snow Valley Peak today? Snow Valley Peak of Carson City County won. I arrived at the Spooner Lake Trailhead and found I was the only person around, and so it was during the whole day. I utilized the Spooner Lake cross country trail (more like a road) that went up north canyon as described by William Everett in his fine trip report. I'm sure that my route was pretty much the same one that he used so I can't offer much in the way of new information in this report other than suggesting that mid-April may be a good time to do this hike.

Spooner Lake had closed on March 27th so there was no fee to be paid at this time of the year. Snow covered the road and was continuous but at no time did I need to put on the snowshoes I was carrying during the whole trip. I did post-hole from time to time but except on the top of Snow Valley Peak, it wasn't a problem. I followed the snow covered road up the north canyon for about 3 1/2 miles until my GPS pointed directly east at the Peak. The elevation I was at registered 8100 feet and I left the road and headed directly up the snow-laden slope. I did notice that there were some sizable bear tracks that I crossed as I started up. As I got higher I noticed that the wind was picking up so I increased my speed as much as I could as I was concerned about the weather. While the slope got considerably steeper, it was always manageable. I hit a snow-covered jeep road and followed it north for a bit north and then went directly up the slope again until I attained the ridge top. It was then that I actually saw the summit area for the first time to the southeast of me. It was here that I should have put snowshoes on as I began to post-hole up past my knees but I could see if I made it to the windswept western ridge line, that I could actually get totally off of the snow for the final bit. From my initial vantage spot, it looked like the highest spot was northeast of the structures. It turned out to be just the opposite, however.

There were three spots that could have actually been the high spot so I went to each one, checked the elevation with my GPS and found the high spot and happily found a sheltered spot near the man made structures to eat some lunch. I took several pictures from the summit area and the views were amazing. I could see low clouds heading my way so it was time to get down. It had taken me three hours to go 4 1/2 miles but I was pleased nevertheless, considering the snow. The wind was constant on the top, gusting I'm sure to 40 to 45 mph. I almost got blown over a couple of times. I descended the way I came, taking about 2 hours to get back to the car. A 5 hour day to do 9 miles was satisfactory to me as I'm hoping to get into good shape for a Mt. Hood and later a Mt. Shasta effort in May.

This was a very enjoyable hike and I recommend it if you get a chance. You could do it the same day with East Peak in Douglas County by taking the gondola at Heavenly Valley.

I have posted my Snow Valley Peak pictures here.