Douglas County High Point Trip Report

East Peak (9,591 ft)

Date: April 5, 2003
Author: Dean Molen

We planned to spend a week in the Lake Tahoe area and I was hoping to combine some skiing and county highpointing. After reading Edward Earl's fine report, I decided that I would combine a day of skiing (via the gondola) with picking up East Peak.

Saturday dawned beautiful and I grabbed my skis, my money (not cheap to ski at Heavenly), and my small pack, and headed for the gondola. The gondola deposits you at 9100 feet, near the base of the Tamarack chair on the California side. You ride this high speed quad to its top and all the while you can look over at East Peak as you ascend in style. After getting off of the lift, you look down on East Peak just to the northwest of where you get off. East Peak is just slightly over the border and so while you are higher on the California side after riding the Tamarack lift, East Peak is several hundred feet lower.

To get over to it, you need to get enough speed up to make it all the way across the transitional crossover trail that connects to the Nevada side of Heavenly Valley and head down to the Olympic lift. The Olympic lift takes you to the top as Andrew Case mentions in his trip report. As you get near the top, you can see the antenna that marks the HP.

When you get off of the lift, head up and to the left towards the ski patrol building and go up to the area behind it and start making your way upward. Often the ski patrollers have already beaten a "path" into the snow and you might find your way that way. Using a GPS to aid me, it pointed right at the HP so I was able to steer an accurate route to the top. I kept my skis on only for a short distance and carried them for the first hundred feet as I followed the ski patroller's path. Step off of the beaten path and you'd sink into some very soft snow since it had snowed at least a foot the night before. I stashed my skis and continued on.

When I got to the top, I found that the actual highpoint was about twenty feet north of the antenna tower. Since I couldn't get up on top of the pointed rock with my ski boots on, I stood next to the rock that was the highest spot and put my hand on top of it. I took some pictures of this major event and also as well as many of the great view. Then I worked my way around to the other side of the antenna and touched the highest spot on the south side but from this vantage point, it was obvious to me that the rock I mentioned was the highest point.

The view was fantastic. You could look down on Lake Tahoe and all of the surrounding country. I had a perfect weather day and I kept pinching myself as I felt so blessed. After spending about ten minutes on the HP, I finally was able to get back to my skis, ski back to the regular slopes and spend several glorious hours enjoying the great snow before my aging quads began to rebel.

If you come when the snow is gone or you don't ski, you could ride the gondola to its high point of 9,100 feet. East Peak is obvious as you ride up the gondola, so there is no mistaking it. You could then leave the gondola and head over (north) and work your way up to the top. The cost of the gondola ride is 20 bucks, well worth it since you'll be able to pick up another local CoHp the same day.

I have pictures posted and if you are interested in doing this CoHp, maybe you'll find them helpful.