Washoe County High Point Trip Report

Mt Rose (10,776 ft)

Date: February 3, 2002
Author: Kirk Mallory

I first read about Mt. Rose in Michael C. White's "Snowshoe Trails of California", although this peak is actually in Nevada. It said the round-trip mileage was 11.25, which sounded pretty long to me for a winter day hike. I decided I would at least give it a try.

I started at 7:40 am from the 8,743-foot parking area about a half-mile from the high point of the Mt. Rose Highway. The parking area was about half plowed, and the restroom was about half buried. The weather was perfect. I headed up the open slope until I intersected the well-packed trail. The second half of this trail is open to snowmobilers who originate from Tahoe Meadows. There were none to worry about during my morning approach, but were a hazard for my return. I met up with two other climbers headed for Mt. Rose at an open area just south of a 9,380-foot pass northwest of Tamarack Peak. A sign here indicates that the Mt. Rose trail continues over the pass, but is closed to motor vehicles year-round (meaning no more snowmobile tracks).

The trail was still well-broken by skiers and snowshoers as we headed into the Galena Creek Drainage. We followed it as it gradually descended until we reached the smaller drainage coming from the northwest. The trail continued about half-way up this drainage until it ended. The summer trail continues to the 9,731-foot pass, but I decided to head more directly to the north and gain Mt. Rose's west ridge higher up. I broke trail here, but it was much easier to break than what I was used to in Colorado. About half-way up, I took a break and the other two hikers broke the trail the rest of the way to tree line. Above tree line the slope was mostly wind-blown, so we removed our snowshoes. It was a short hike to the summit, with awesome views of Lake Tahoe to our southwest. It took me 3 hours 15 minutes to reach the summit - it was much easier than I anticipated.

Since I still felt strong and the weather was perfect, I decided to bag the 10,601-foot Church Peak just to the north before heading back down. On my way out, there were several snowmobilers in the area south of the 9,380-foot pass. One even zoomed over the pass as I was making my way over it! Total time was 6 hours 45 minutes, and about 12 miles and 3,134 feet, which includes the elevation loss in the Galena Creek drainage and the ascent of Church Peak. Church Peak only added about 140 feet.