Ski Mountaineering

Judah and Lincoln
Jan 31, 2004

Reiner Stenzel

On the last weekend of January I was in the Bay area for a family visit. It had stormed for several days but cleared up for the weekend. Fri night my son said: "Let's go skiing tomorrow at Tahoe". I like such spontaneous trips; very refreshing compared to our long-term scheduled SC trips. We got up at 4:30am, were at Donner Pass by 8:30am, and started a backcountry tour of Mt Judah (8,243') and Lincoln Mtn (8,383'). We parked on the Lake Mary Rd near the former Donner Spitz Huette, ascended the NE slopes of the Judah Ridge. There was lots of untracked fresh snow. Once on the ridge, near the microwave reflector, we took a break and enjoyed the great view. After the storm all the trees were still rimed. It was a clear, sunny winter day with excellent visibility. Castle Peak, Donner Lake, Lincoln and Anderson/Tinker Knob were all clearly visible. We continued SW along the Judah Ridge, bypassing a small wooden summit sign on the high point.

Then one drops down into a saddle to reclimb the slightly higher Mt Lincoln. It is part of the Sugarbowl ski resort. Thus many people were on this peak. They all skied down the groomed N side. We skied down the backcountry SE face and then reclimbed the Judah Ridge. In the afternoon other skiers and snowshoers ascended Mt Judah to enjoy the great views. The 800-foot run down from Mt Judah was a real pleasure. We telemarked in mostly fine powder snow. Although the steep e-facing chutes toward the Lake Mary Rd looked inviting we stayed away because of cornices and avalanche danger. By 2:30pm we were back at the road before the crowds from Sugarbowl plugged up the road. Another four hours later we were back in palo Alto. A great way to spend a Saturday.

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