Although winter does not officially start until December 21st, snow has fallen on the west shore and put a white blanket on the trail.
The report I got was a fine sugary type of snow. The group made it to the turn for the Buck Lake Trail. That first climb out of the staging area can be a tough one.
Placer County has agreed to NOT pile snow at the entrance to the trail. If you see snow piled there, not just pushed to the side of the road like the rest of the residential area, please send me a picture and the date you found it.
As always, if you go, please be safe. Tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Never go alone. Bring proper supplies to spend the night, just in case.
The last few years have seen rigs abandoned on the trail in the middle of winter. One guy was prepared but had a string of bad luck. The other rig should never have been on the trail. Don’t be that guy this winter.
For those of you who also own a 2wd vehicle along with you 4wd rig, or for those looking to play in the snow with your trail rig, have I got a deal for you.
I just picked up a pair of tire chains for my daily driver, yes, it’s 4wd, but just in case. The beauty of this pair of chains is that they will also fit the tires on the project Jeep, which oddly enough is 2wd right now. A story for another time. The truck has 265/75R18 and the project jeep is 33×10.5R15. One set fits both sizes.
The guys name is Dave and lives near the south east corner of McCarran in Reno. He owns a Jeep (stock) but he’s in to old Harleys. Retired big rig driver who drove Donner Pass most of his career. Cool dude. He has an ad on Craigslist:
He finds big rig chains on the highway (free material) and resizes them to what you need. Since he doesn’t really have material costs, he only charges for his time. He claims it doesn’t take any more time to build chains for a set of 35″ tires than it does for 31″ tires, so the cost is the same. About $60.
He leaves the cam tighteners in place and for me included a homemade tool to work them. You can see from the pictures the cross links are not worn but there is surface rust. I guess if you wanted to you could clean them up and paint them.
I bet if you wanted a custom set with double the number of cross links and wider to drape down the sidewalls, he could build them.
Anyway, I just thought someone out there might need a deal on chains. I think CA law states you need to carry chains during conditions that might require chains. It doesn’t say they have to fit. But why not be prepared with a set that will fit your oversized tires?
Be safe and don’t be ‘that’ guy.
Below is an email I received regarding the latest efforts by Anti-OHV activists to close our public lands to OHV use. It’s from the local Tahoe snowmobile group. They recently held a meeting in SLT but more importantly, they need public comments.
Please take the time to write the Forest Service and let them know you are against closing 73% of the current snowmobile riding areas!
The scarier line in this email and FS proposal is the 1000′ corridor of non-motorized use along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). The Tahoe National Forest first put this ‘idea’ on a map several years ago. If they get their foot in the door with over the snow use, the next step is every other OHV use and all year long.
The Rubicon an many, many other trails cross the Pacific Crest Trail.
After the get their corridor along the PCT, thy will want it along every other trail in the country. Let’s stop this now.
Here is an easy way to send in your comments:
WE ARE AT RISK TO LOSE MORE OF OUR RIDING AREAS IN TAHOE/HOPE VALLEY/BLUE LAKES!!!
Enough is enough!
The Winter Wildlands have proposed closures of 73% of our existing riding areas in the ElDorado National Forest. And the Forest Service really, REALLY need to hear from all us so that the Winter Wildlands aren’t the only ones being heard.
And… as if that’s not bad enough — the Forest Service is pushing their “preferred alternative” which also closes and limits our riding areas as it imposes a 1000 feet “corridor” around the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Yes, the PCT goes through the Blue Lakes’ area and we would lose some of our most fun areas if the Forest Service got their way!!!
WE NEED TO PUSH BACK!!! WE’RE DONE LOSING RIDING AREAS!
Please go to our website for more info. And please SEND IN YOUR COMMENTS — deadline is August 6! Be respectful, be personal and be passionate in a constructive way!
PLEASE NOTE OUR NEW ADDRESS AND PHONE ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job,
wait until you hire an amateur.” — Red Adair (1915-2004)
1221 Sleighbell Lane
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
Cell (530) 318-3936
We just got through a series of major storms. Honestly, the biggest of the season. The summits got more than six feet of snow. The Homewood Mountain Resort claims about five feet over the last the last week. That means the Rubicon is buried.
So, I drove past Monday (March 5th) and took a few pictures of the entrance. I was up there just before the storms and took some to compare:
Last Monday the 26th: really no berm to speak of…
Again, this was before the storm just 100 yards up the trail:
After the latest storms: now the neighborhood probably got two feet of snow but notice the snow is piled higher than my six foot tall truck.
Compare that to berms around the neighborhood, maybe three feet tall. I have already sent an email to Placer County letting them know this is unacceptable (dumping snow on a county right of way) and that although the County probably didn’t do it, they need to remove it as they would a load of rock dropped on any county road. Don’t hold your breath.
Looking over the berm, where no motor vehicle has driven, yet; it looks like a good place for a fun day of snow play.
The berm will need to be taken down. Right now you could get a quad or snowmobile through the slot but not much else.
Let me get on my safety soap box…
I can’t say it enough but travel prepared. Figure something will go wrong and you have to spend the night, or two. Have food, water, clothing and shelter for multiple people and many nights.
Believe it or not, some people still don’t get it.
(Photo stolen from a post on Pirate4x4 by “The Fixxer”.)
This rig has been stuck on the trail for a few weeks now. It’s just east of Miller Lake at the water hole. There was room to go around but not much. Now think about this with 4-5 feet of snow burying it.
You might be wheeling along just fine and not realize the rig is underneath you. Honestly, it’s probably still visible but there is a greater chance of sliding in to it if you try and go around.
Some fellow Hi-Lo’s are reaching out to the authorities and the owner to see if we can help get the rig out or at least off to the side for the safe passage of others.
I’ll keep you posted.
So it’s been a mild winter. No where near what we all experienced last winter.
Yesterday, I ventured out to the staging area. The residential area has yet to have enough snow to bring any plowing issues but I’m keeping an eye on it.
The road in is both icy and down to the pavement depending on tree cover. Here is a shot of the bridge over McKinney Creek just before the staging area. Not enough snow so that you’d slip off the bridge.
Here is the view from the bottom of the first climb just past the staging area. It looks innocent enough. Hard packed snow with no signs of ice.
But just up around the corner, there is ice under the thin layer of snow. I was in my pick-up, alone, without a winch, sliding all over the place. So, I very carefully backed down the hill. With better tires and friends to encourage me I think I could have made it.
Last week, John Briggs and Dean Anderson (both of the Tahoe Donner 4wd Club) made it out to Observation. Here is a shot of Miller Lake.
Here is a shot of one of the last climbs before getting to Observation. It’s got a good west facing slope so the snow wasn’t too bad.
The unusual poser shot at Observation (looking the wrong way).
And the traditional poser shot at Observation, with the sun behind them washing out the shot.
Snow is forecast for Sunday and Monday (18th and 19t). Only five inches or so but should be enough to eliminate the ice issue and make for a nice day of wheeling on Tuesday. More snow next Friday so the weekends might not be the best time to go play.
Remember to go prepared. Bring enough gear to spend the night if something goes wrong: think food, water, shelter, heat, communications, etc, Always carry some kind of saw. Even if you wheel out without issue, you might encounter a tree across the trail on your way back. That’s where my “Turn Around, Don’t Go Around” catch phrase doesn’t really work. You’ll need to get home. A hand saw and a winch can move big trees, especially on the snow.
Please remember that at this time, all side trails off the Rubicon are seasonally closed. Just because there is not a gate does not mean the trail is open.
The first side trail to open is the Richardson Lake Trail on April 1st.