Snow is a four letter word

It’s official, this season of storms at Tahoe has brought more snow than the HUGE ’82-’83 winter some of us remember. And it’s only January! Many locals are using four letter words to describe the amount of snow.

Driving around on 89 you already get the feeling there’s a lot of snow. Turning in to the Tahoma residential area. The smaller roads are plowed with clean streets and steep, sheer walls.


A little further in, the roads are not much narrower and not as clean. I’m assuming they will get cleaned as time allows. Crews were working in the area as I was driving around.


When you get to the Rubicon trailhead, you understand the issues facing those who would like to go play in the snow on the Rubicon. The berm at the trailhead is currently about 11 feet tall! (My truck is about six feet tall.)


Looking up and down the street, not all of the other berms seem as tall.


If you poke your head around the backside of the Rubicon berm, you see that the snow naturally on the ground is four, maybe five feet deep.


This morning, I sat down with Placer County Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery at her monthly coffee meet & great that she holds every fourth Thursday of the month in Tahoe City.

She had already been made aware of the situation and we discussed options for dealing with the situation.

Since we don’t know who piled the snow there (Placer is firm that their plow drivers do not dump snow there.), we can’t go after anyone yet. Placer does not have the resources to place someone there to watch. A game camera has been suggested, but if it was placed when mentioned, it would be under snow right now.

I’ve asked for a “No Snow Dumping” sign with the proper County ordinance and fines listed. Montgomery was open to the idea.

This year might be too late to get a program in place to keep the trail open but I’m hoping for written agreements for next season.

Always travel/wheel prepared for anything. Carry food, water, a change of clothes, phone, ham radio, sleeping bag, etc.


Rubicon Ronin


And now for something completely different…

Ok, not completely different but not directly Rubicon related.

Last September, the Hi-Lo’s ran the Barrett Lake Trail. I was lucky enough to make the trip. My passenger took the time to take a few videos. Here is one of them from the trip out…

It was a two day, one night trip. For the most part, the weather was good. Sunny skies with warm but not hot temperatures. The afternoon and evening brought a change of conditions. The wind picked up and setting up camp became a challenge.

The area, both the entrance of the trail and at Barrett Lake, was littered with downed trees from a wind storm the previous winter. It didn’t make for a settling night know that trees could get blown over.

I made sure to weight down my tent as soon as I put it up. But the next morning, with the wind still blowing a little, I forgot to keep something in the tent and as I loaded my sleeping bag and pad in to the Jeep, the tent blew away.

After getting the tent set up that first afternoon, we did the short hike up Tells Peak to see the B-17 aircraft wreckage. (Google it.) Very cool. Not a difficult hike but you should remember you’re at an elevation higher than you’re used to.

The trip out revealed a broken U-bolt, missing motor mount bolt and loose cross member bolt. After a short repair session, the rest of the trail was smooth sailing. At least until we got to the ‘gatekeeper’ and one of our rigs broke a pitman arm 50′ from the gate and pavement.

This is a great trail. It opens late in the season due to the area staying wetter than the surrounding forest. And my close early due to wet weather.


Rubicon Ronin

Snow at the trailhead

For those of you following the saga, the past practice of Placer County piling snow at the Tahoma entrance to the Rubicon should have stopped.

Unfortunately, not everyone got the memo. This was today, 1/4/17.


Now we don’t know who piled the snow here but I’m working on it.

For the record, the Rubicon Trail doesn’t close during the winter.

If you are prepared enough and brave enough to try the Rubicon during the winter, realize there may still be issues at the trailhead this winter.

On your way in, feel free to break-down any piled snow or shovel the snow away all together. Do not throw that snow in to the street. If capable, drive over the berm.

Remember that there is no street parking from November through May. A sheriff in a bad mood may try and cite you if your rig is in the street as you work the berm. My advice is be polite and don’t fail the attitude test.

On your way out, make sure the berm has not been altered. Get out and check before driving off the edge.

On a side note, there are currently two rigs stuck on the Rubicon. A recovery team is going in on Friday to get the vehicles out. All the people are safely out.

The first rig is near Miller Lake, in a water hole, on the trail (35″ tires). Please do not go off trail to get around this vehicle.

The second vehicle is almost to Observation (40″ tires). It lost one tire off the rim. They plan on bringing out a spare, swapping it on to the rig and driving out. That rig is off to the side of the trail.


Rubicon Ronin