First tracks on Round Top

Published by 360 Pro , 2 April 2019, 16h30.

Region: World » United States » California
Date of the hike:29 March 2019
Ski grading: PD
Geo-Tags: USA   US-CA   Mokelumne Wilderness 
Height gain: 650 m 2132 ft.
Height loss: 650 m 2132 ft.
Access to start point:Highway 88 to Carson Pass
SNO-PARK Pass Parking Permit required (5$ per day or 25$ for a season pass)
Check this link for details and how to purchase the permit online

Round Top is on my wish list every season and today I was contemplating to start at Woods Lake, like I did here. However, the last winter storm brought more snow to the already very high snow pack in this area and I was afraid to not even be able to park at the turnout there. Instead I planned to start at the sno-park on Carson Pass once again.

Due to the facts that I got up late (for my taste) and there was chain control on the way up to Carson Pass (all non 4x4 had to mount chains), I get a rather late start today, way past 10 am. There are two hand full of cars parked at the sno-park already so I'm convinced that there would be tracks to Round Top already. On the PCT towards Frog Lake I pass quite a few snowshoe hikers and a skier without skins... Shortly after Frog Lake, the existing ski tracks go up to Elephants Back and to my surprise no-one went up to Round Top yet, so I get to plow through the fresh powder myself.

At Winnemucca Lake I take a short break and then go up to the saddle between Round Top and The Sisters. Putting in the track is not all that strenuous because the powder is rather fluffy and I can already tell that skiing down will be pure pleasure. I plan to get to the highpoint via west ridge and where it steepens to >40 degrees I leave my skies and go on by foot. At an altitude of approximately 10200 ft the route goes to the south side and the snow there was very hard and sometimes icy. Without crampons it was too dangerous to continue so I take a break instead and turn around. Skiing down was one of the best I've done so far in the Sierra: compact powder on a very good base.

In order to avoid the somewhat flat part from Winnemucca Lake back to Carson Pass, I decide to ski down towards Woods Lake and from there plan to skin back up the the pass. However, the snow in the relatively flat part after Winnemucca Lake down towards Woods Lake is wet and very slow, so slow that I even have to push going downhill. So at about 8600 feet I decide to not go any further but go back up and take the way I came up instead.

Hike partners: 360

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