Mount Disney and Crows Nest - Sierra Nevada Summer-Skiing

Published by 360 Pro , 17 June 2019, 01h03.

Region: World » United States » California
Date of the hike:14 June 2019
Ski grading: F
Geo-Tags: USA   US-CA 
Height gain: 450 m 1476 ft.
Height loss: 450 m 1476 ft.
Access to start point:Exit Norden, Soda Springs on I80 Follow the Donner Pass Road to the Sugar Bowl ski resort

After an extraordinary long winter with more than average amounts of snow, the Sierra Nevada really lived up to it's name: there was and still is a lot of "Nevada" up in the Sierras and it'll take quite some time to melt it all. One ski resorts for example decided to stay open until August! (click).

I was in the Donner Pass area last week and noticed, that the snow heights are definitely higher than what I have seen there so far in mid June. From Old Donner Pass, I saw that the "Sugar Bowl" ski resort's northern slopes were still perfectly white all the way down to the base station. Since I had to go back here for a different reason on this weekend anyway, I wanted to take advantage of that white stuff for bagging two named mountains in this zone which otherwise wouldn't be on my to-do list: Mount Disney and Crows Nest. Both of these peaks are within the "Sugar Bowl" ski resort and during skiing season wouldn't be very attractive for me to climb, and, in the summer they don't seem like a 'juicy scrambling tour' either. However, a mid June "backcountry" ski tour to the peaks in the (closed) ski resort, sounded like an attractive alternative to the soaring triple digits (up to 40 and more Celsius) in the Sacramento valley.

During the drive to the base station at Sugar Bowl Village, I not only have to ignore some skull signs but also the warning of a worker there, who tells me that I should be aware that "they were blasting up there yesterday". Since I can't seem to find a clear sign anywhere that states it is illegal to ski in the closed resort, I decide to "risk my life". I illegally park my car at 'The Lodge at Sugar Bowl', which is probably the highest risk I would take on this day. I put my skis on right there, just past the green and blooming daffodils. My original plan was to climb all the named peaks within the ski resort, but due to a traffic incident which blocked both lanes of the highway and considerably delayed my start, that plan had to be somewhat shortened. Since I have to be back in Nevada City shortly after noon, I decide to only go for the two peaks which I haven't stood on top yet: Crow's Nest and Disney Peak. 

Orientation, technical difficulty or the danger of avalanches are not an issue today. The route I take from the Village Lodge: up the "Lonesome Pine" slope to Disney Meadow and Disney- / Crow's Traverse and from there to the top of the Crow's Peak chair lift. Since the south sides of these mountains are snow free, I leave my skis there and walk to the top of Crows Nest (Peak, easy walkup on the south side, T3), take a short photo stop and traverse over to Disney Peak. The highpoint there is probably the room where the ski patrol usually hangs out and on that wrap around balcony, I take my break. For my way down, I ski the black-diamond "Donald Duck" and get back to my car, which to my surprise is still there ;-)

Hike partners: 360

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