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Re: Donner Summit Area

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avatar Donner Summit Area
June 24, 2009 11:34AM
Anyone with suggestions of good hikes or explores in the NorthwestTahoe/ Donner Lake/Summit area?
I have experience with the following options:
1. petroglyph exhibit on old Highway 40
2. hiking/biking through the old Central Pacific Railway tunnels south of Donner Lake
3. hiking Mt. Judah loop
4. Loch Leven Lakes Hike
5. Grouse Ridge and Lakes Basin hiking

?others?



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Donner Summit Area
June 24, 2009 11:47AM
FF,

Not too far away (across from Boreal Ridge ski area) is a gem of a summit, Castle Peak (9,000ft). It is a side trail off of the main PCT trail head found off of the Boreal/Castle Peak exit off of highway 80. It is approx. 6.75 out and back with backpack camping along the way. The trail up to the Castle Peak, itself, is about 1.75 miles and about a 1,200ft climb -- well worth it for the view.

If I do not return to do Dana this weekend, i will be doing Castle Peak, instead.

Bee Cowboy



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/24/2009 11:49AM by Bee.
avatar Re: Donner Summit Area
June 24, 2009 11:54AM
Frank,
Maybe you can talk Dale, Mike, and Shoshana into doing the "Classic Donner Route" up from the Great Basin after next winter's 4th or 5th good storm.eye rolling smiley
avatar Re: Donner Summit Area
June 24, 2009 12:01PM
Quote
szalkowski
Frank,
Maybe you can talk Dale, Mike, and Shoshana into doing the "Classic Donner Route" up from the Great Basin after next winter's 4th or 5th good storm.eye rolling smiley

I would be at great risk given my heavily marbled sirlons.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Donner Summit Area
June 24, 2009 12:18PM
Quote
Bee
FF,

Not too far away (across from Boreal Ridge ski area) is a gem of a summit, Castle Peak (9,000ft). It is a side trail off of the main PCT trail head found off of the Boreal/Castle Peak exit off of highway 80. It is approx. 6.75 out and back with backpack camping along the way. The trail up to the Castle Peak, itself, is about 1.75 miles and about a 1,200ft climb -- well worth it for the view.

If I do not return to do Dana this weekend, i will be doing Castle Peak, instead.

Bee Cowboy

There appears to be two routes (trail and little used dirt road) that meet at Castle Pass. Which do you use?



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
Re: Donner Summit Area
June 24, 2009 05:31PM
Quote
Frank Furter
Quote
Bee
FF,

Not too far away (across from Boreal Ridge ski area) is a gem of a summit, Castle Peak (9,000ft). It is a side trail off of the main PCT trail head found off of the Boreal/Castle Peak exit off of highway 80. It is approx. 6.75 out and back with backpack camping along the way. The trail up to the Castle Peak, itself, is about 1.75 miles and about a 1,200ft climb -- well worth it for the view.

If I do not return to do Dana this weekend, i will be doing Castle Peak, instead.

Bee Cowboy

There appears to be two routes (trail and little used dirt road) that meet at Castle Pass. Which do you use?

Frank, if you use Google Earth, go to it and activate the EveryTrail layer (it's a Gallery Layer). I have created a GPS track of this hike, including extended trips out to Basin Peak, and Andesite Peak on the return. Also, go to http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=64030 for a quick trip description and some cool photos.

If you do hike to the peak of Castle, take the challenge of hiking to the ACTUAL summit, which is the 3rd (most easterly) turret. It's 70-80 feet of near vertical class 3 rock climbing, but loads of fun. Here's a pic showing how steep it is:



Also, if you want to go a bit further south, along Hwy 89, there's Tinker Knob. I just did that this past weekend. Here's another link to check out, if you are inclined:

http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=250419



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/24/2009 05:31PM by cthenn.
avatar Re: Donner Summit Area
June 24, 2009 05:43PM
FF, I use the trail, but I am familiar with the existance of the road, too. I also did the "real" peakie, too, but, I have not been to the other peaks that cthenn mentioned.
avatar Re: Donner Summit Area
June 24, 2009 05:47PM
Great report. I am still struggling with full competancy with Google Earth but the link you gave was great.
I understand Castle Peak is volcanic and I noticed volcanic rock on Mt. Judah yesterday. "Andesite" is a term for a type of volcanic material.
I wonder what the geology is here in the land 'o granite to have this volcanic material exposed.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
Re: Donner Summit Area
June 24, 2009 08:26PM
Quote
Frank Furter
Great report. I am still struggling with full competancy with Google Earth but the link you gave was great.
I understand Castle Peak is volcanic and I noticed volcanic rock on Mt. Judah yesterday. "Andesite" is a term for a type of volcanic material.
I wonder what the geology is here in the land 'o granite to have this volcanic material exposed.

Actually, there are a lot of areas of the Sierra which are composed of some kind of volcanic rock or solidified volcanic mud flows. Visit the area around Carson Pass, and you'll see a LOT of this kind of rock. In fact, most of the high peaks near Kirkwood ski resort are composed of this kind of rock. The Sierra is a really awesome place to see, I like it more than Yosemite (sorry!). Do I smell a poll?!??!?! (yeah, that sounds a little weird...)
avatar Re: Donner Summit Area
June 24, 2009 08:38PM
Quote
cthenn
Actually, there are a lot of areas of the Sierra which are composed of some kind of volcanic rock or solidified volcanic mud flows. Visit the area around Carson Pass, and you'll see a LOT of this kind of rock.

Plenty near Sonora Pass as well:

Columnar Basalt:

http://yosemitephotos.net/main.php/v/misc/p7020643.jpg.html
Re: Donner Summit Area
June 24, 2009 08:49PM
Question to anyone who viewed my everytrail page for Castle Peak. When you click on stats, does the gps track show up? That site is very buggy, and it looks like the track is lost...
avatar Re: Donner Summit Area
June 24, 2009 12:00PM
Hey Bee... you GOTTA try this... tastes just like chicken!
We'll be ok... we got plenty of food now!
avatar Re: Donner Summit Area
June 24, 2009 12:09PM
Quote
bill-e-g
Hey Bee... you GOTTA try this... tastes just like chicken!
We'll be ok... we got plenty of food now!

We BEE okay, 'cause not even the buzzards would touch our skinny carcasses. Hmmm..Mikey and FF: one for you and one for me! (chick-on can pick the bones)

Bee Cowboy
avatar Re: Donner Summit Area
June 24, 2009 12:38PM
Somewhat related topic:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tevis_Cup
http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1066451/index.htm


I first became aware of the Tevis Cup race from an article that appeared in the L.A. Times in 1997.
Tried to access the article on the web, but my computer hangs up when attempting to do so. (I'll have to either retype it or OCR my hard copy - it is an extremely well-written, enchanting piece.) In the meantime, the SI link gives a bit of the flavor of the Times article.
avatar Re: Donner Summit Area
June 24, 2009 03:32PM
From the L.A. Times,
July 27, 1997:



For Riders, Sierra Horse Race Blazes 100-Mile Trail of Faith

By STEPHANIE SIMON
TIMES STAFF WRITER

Auburn, Calif. – Getting here takes faith.
This is the finish of the Tevis Cup – the most famed, and most feared, of all endurance horse rides. One hundred miles. Twenty-four hours. A trail that bucks and rears over the Sierra Nevada.
Making it here to the finish means enduring muscles that yelp at every move, fatigue that tatters the eyes. It means bumping over truly wicked terrain.
Above all, though, it means faith.
For to succeed at the Tevis, you must trust your horse to guide you over treacherous trails. Quickly. And in the dark. You must cede control. You must let your horse takecare of you.
Only then will you make it to Auburn.
And only then will you understand the allure of endurance riding, the tug of this grueling, exhilarating race.
“Your horse becomes you,” explains Bill Pieper, president of the Western States Trail Foundation, which inaugurated the sport of endurance riding with the first Tevis Cup race in 1955. “It’s the best feeling in the world.”
Not that this ride is all euphoria. The Tevis is not only the oldest and most prestigious, but also the toughest of some 500 endurance races throughout North America. The official T-shirt says it best: “This is not a ride for snivelers.”
Indeed.
It starts at 5 a.m. in Squaw Valley, south of Truckee, in the thrilling chill of a mountain dawn. Soon enough, though, the sun blasts away the tingles; it’s 105 degrees by noon and the air is tight with dust and dung.
The trail swoops and swerves, relentless. One canyon unwinds in 42 taunting switchbacks. A mile and a half stretch through alpine woods scales a distance 300 feet longer than the Empire State Building is high – on a trail pitched at nearly a 60-degree angle. The best riders dismount and take these monsters on foot to save their horses from hauling their weight.
“So far, so hard,” one woman panted, sweating, as she swung back in the saddle at the summit and nudged her horse toward a veterinary checkpoint two miles down the trail.
“Unbelievable,” another woman, wrapped in a back brace, said. She managed to muster a cocky grin. “A very sobering hill.”
Winding past freakish outcroppings with names like Devil’s Thumb, Murderer’s Bar, Cougar Rock, and Ruck-a-Chucky Rapids, riders cover a total of 23,000 feet up and 18,000 feet down before they get to Auburn and the ceremonial victory lap around the Placer County Fairground.
Noses bleed. Heads swirl.
Vertigo. Nausea. Blisters.
Somehow, it’s oddly addictive.
“I don’t do drugs,” rider Traci Falcone said. “I do the Tevis.”
Held this year under the full moon on July 19, the Tevis attracted competitors from 16 states and from Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Germany, and Japan.
In all, 223 riders started the race. Just 109 earned the silver belt buckle that awaitsall finishers at Auburn. The winner was Marcia Smith, a veterinarian from Loomis who completed the course in 16&1/2 hours, sweeping across the finish line on her birthday (she wouldn’t say which one) riding an Arabian gelding called Elvis. She looked great at the finish. So did Elvis.
Most everyone else was considerably more beat up.
“I don’t have anything that isn’t sore,” rider Bob Oury, a Chicago executive, moaned at the 56-mile mark. “I want my mother.”
Oury, 59, had completed the Tevis twice before. But he was riding a rented mount this year, a peevish one-eyed mare named Patty. And things were not going well.
Slumped against a tree near Devil’s Thumb – a huge rock teetering at the edge of a canyon –Oury looked thoroughly wiped. Patty had stumbled on slick boulders near the start of the race. Oury had crashed to the ground.
The cut on his face was bleeding still.
“Do you want some lemonade?” a volunteer asked him.
“I need a psychiatrist,” he answered.
Still, Oury rested just a few minutes before creaking his banged-up body back into the saddle. This, after all, was the Tevis Cup. And no one quits the Tevis because of human fatigue.
The veterinarians posted along the trail can pull any rider whose horse wears out – as Patty eventually did. But that’s about the only excuse for failing. Blame the endurance riders’ code of honor: If the horse can do it, you must too.
“It would be a disservice to the horse [to give up],” explained R.F. “Potato” Richardson, a veteran endurance rider who now trains foreigners for the Tevis. “If it’s in condition, you don’t not ride it.”
To make sure that the horses are indeed in condition, volunteer veterinarians examine each animal before and after the race, and at eight checkpoints along the way.
Swarming each horse with stethoscopes and thermometers, the vets check blood flow and digestion, pulse and hydration, muscle tone and hoof condition. Riders must trot their horses in a straight line so the vets can check for signs of lameness. Spot blood tests screen for drugs.
“At the first sign of a problem, they’re disqualified,” head veterinarian Mitch Benson said.
He means it, too.
Vets this year pulled a leading contender, three-time Tevis winner Hal Hall of Auburn, because his stallion’s pulse was racing too fast at the 60-mile mark. They also disqualified Pieper, the Trail Foundation president, with just five miles to go, citing suspicious gurgles in his gelding’s gut.
“It happens to everyone I know,” Pieper said later, still disappointed. “That’s why they call this the toughest ride in the world.”
To finish the Tevis, riders must be truly attuned to their horses. They have to know when to dismount, when to ride hard, when to pause for water. If they push the horses too hard, the vets will disqualify them. But if they take it too easy, their horses will flag out of boredom. And they won’t make the 5 a.m. cutoff.
With so much strategy to ponder, “you get to talking to your horse, asking him how it’s going,” ride director Larry Suddjian said.
“Questions about your horse go through your mind all day,” Montana cardiovascular surgeon Jim Oury said.
Unlike his brother Bob, Jim Oury finished the Tevis this year – and pronounced it even tougher than Hawaii’s Iron Man Triathlon because of the constant concern about the horse. “It’s emotionally and physically draining,” he said.
To encourage good horsemanship, the tevis awards an annual prize, known as the Haggin Cup, to the top-10 finisher whose mount is in the best condition at the end of the race. Won this year by Oregon rider Ona Lawrence, the Haggin Cup is as coveted as outright victory.
But even those not in contention for the Haggin lavish care on their horses at every break.
They sponge sweathy manes, massage stiff flanks, kiss lathered lips. They feed their horses watermelon. They smear diaper rash ointment on saddle sores. They mush electrolyte paste into applesauce to create an equine version of Gatorade.
They also organize crews of loyal friends to hike into the two main checkpoints – mandatory one-hour rest stops at 36 and 69 miles – dragging wheelbarrows filled with hay and bran. The crews bring plenty of people food, too, so riders can fuel up with fruit and sandwiches and Power Bars. But most riders insist on making their horses comfy before they sink into lawn chairs to chow down themselves.
“My horse comes first,” said 21-year-old Whitney Bass, grinning as her mare, Iza, slobbered bran mush all over her black Lycra riding tights.
The pampering pays off after dark.
Though the trail is marked with yellow glow sticks, most riders have trouble seeing the way after sunset. The moon trips them up: A patch of light jabs into the path like a boulder. A far-off glint ripples like a puddle. They can’t tell mirage from obstacle. Their horses, however, can.
This is where faith kicks in.
“You start out this ride thinking you’re the boss. You’re the one deciding right or left, fast or slow,” Bob Oury said. “But over the course of the day, the control changes hands. At night, it isn’t you taking care of the horse. It’s the horse taking care of you.”
The experience is intense. It ties riders to their horses in a way they struggle to describe. The bond, they say, is what makes the pain of the Tevis worthwhile.
“It’s really a rather profound experience, riding your horse at speed in the dark,” said Sonoma resident Anita Fiondella-Eck, 45, who finished her first Tevis this year on a horse named Sam. “It was very moving.”
Many riders find it moving as well to ponder the legacy of the Tevis course, part of which has been designated a national historic landmark. Gold prospectors passed this way. Silver miners, too. And pioneers plodding forever westward. “You can hear them whispering to you sometimes,” Pieper said.
The trail takes riders across swinging bridges and through abandoned mining camps, past the old Deadwood cemetery and through rumpled small towns where fans line the streets to cheer. Meadows fuzzy with blossoms give way to rugged cliffs. The sun rises, then the moon. Butterflies dance by. A deer darts from the trees. A coyote races across the trail.
“It’s so beautiful,” said San Luis Obispo dermatologist Jeff Herten, who has won two Tevis buckles. “You can’t imagine how beautiful.”
Though a few thoroughbreds and even a few mules make it through the Tevis each year, most of the horses are purebred Arabians. The best train like Olympians – on trails, on treadmills, in pools – and they look the part, sleek and toned, ever pumped to go.
Their riders, in contrast, are a decidedly motley bunch. Some wear jeans and cowboy boots; others, running shoes and nylon shorts. Ace bandages encircle wrists; back braces protect bruised ribs. Surgeon’s masks – or sweaty bandannas worn train-robber style – block the worst of the dust.
Seniors and juniors, cocky and scared, with beer guts and without – the Tevis attracts all types.
Two men with prosthetic hips finished this year. Julie Suhr, age 73, won her 21st buckle. Seventh-grader Stephany Ashley finished as well, at 4:42 a.m. – thus adding another offbeat accomplishment to a resume that includes competitive wrestling.
“This is character city,” said Kate Riordan, a ride director. “Absolute character city.”
Even among such an eclectic crowd, Grass Valley contractor Ken Mindt stands out.
A shy-looking, tough-talking man, Mindt landed in the Tevis by accident, when a buddy had to drop out unexpectedly the morning before the race. The friend asked him to ride a dappled Arabian mare named Brian.
Mindt, 52, had never met Brian. He had never attempted a 100-miler. He had never ridden at night. He had no time to fetch his riding shoes or his saddle. Plus, his left eye was swollen and purple, from a spooked horse that bashed his head. His forehead sported a nasty lump, the result of a mishap at work. Also, he mentioned in passing, he had been through quintuple bypass surgery less than a year before. He could still feel the scar tissue ache.
But this was the Tevis. Brian was in shape. Mindt could hardly refuse.
Checking out his competition at the pre-race vet check, he decided: “If these people can do it, I can do it.”
Mindt made it nearly 70 miles before his mare was pulled for a sore back. He did not win a buckle. But he had made a pass at the Tevis. He had taken the challenge – on faith.
“I can’t say no,” he had told his friend. “I can’t pass up a chance to ride.”
avatar Re: Donner Summit Area
June 24, 2009 05:39PM
Very nice.
avatar Re: Donner Summit Area
June 24, 2009 09:06PM
The GPS tracks didn't show up for me using Internet Explorer.

There you have it. The Sierra is quite different along it's entire length.
A huge number of different geological features.
For me Yosemite is so special. It's the glacial polish and domes that do it for me.
You just don't see that sort of "delamination" elsewhere.
But as I like to say.. It's all good...
smiling smiley

(the wife gets incredibly sick of me saying Yosemite is the best whenever we
go anywhere... so I try not to say that...)
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