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Thunder Mountain - off Carson Pass


TollerMom
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On Aug 4, I was celebrating a milestone and we wanted to try a new hike but didn't want to fight the Saturday traffic in the Lake Tahoe basin. I sat with my hiking books and found a trail we hadn't explored yet. It was Thunder Mountain on the Carson Spur, 1.7 miles west of the Kirkwood Ski Resort juction. This trip had varying mileages from 6.6 RT to 8.8 RT but the elevation gain and final destination was consistent on several websites. We logged 7.8 miles and started at roughly 7900' and ended at 9400'--a 1500' climb ending on peak of volcanic rocks.

One of my friends declined to join us saying she had completed the hike before and found it to be a 'brute' of a hike. Hmmm. We were not deterred. My only concern was the weather report saying there was a very good chance of lightening and thunder in the afternoon. I hoped we could be off Thunder Mountain before our hike lived up to its name.

It was uphill but nothing brutal. We went through covered forests, across open hillsides dotted with avalanche fencing and along ridges with views of the ski resort. Nicely varied terrain. There was one very, very large and steep volcanic rock (I guess that's what you'd call it) where we could see pins and caribiners left behind from the climbers. The steepest part of the climb was softened by some radical switchbacks.

Once we reached the tip of the volcanic rocks (ok, this was scary) we had views of Silver Lake and the entire valley. Had there not been haze from the fires in California, the books say one can see as far as Yosemite!

This is the 'rock' where the pins and caribiners were. This rocks goes all the way to the valley floor.

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Aaron Zagrodnick

TollerMom,

Congrats on the milestone, really enjoyed reading the report. Great pictures, the fact that the climber's rock descends all the way to the valley floor is amazing. I was also struck by the sign that reads "You or Your Heirs Will be Charged for Any Rescue" :D Was the turn around at 9400 or was it a one way trip?

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The turnaround was at 9400...We also bristled at the 'heirs' being charged for rescue. I know of one person who died in the early 90's doing some cliff extreme ski jumping at that resort. Oh, and the rain, lightening and thunder hit just 4 minutes after we got back in the truck!

More trip reports to come...

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  • 2 weeks later...

I wouldn't call it scrambling per se although that's kinda what it felt like. There is a defined trail that snakes over a pile of narrow volcanic rocks at the tip top, so when my buddies got ahead of me, I wasn't sure which pile of rocks the trail went round? I did make a video with my GoPro which I'll try to shorten so I can post.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Cool, I have been seeing more GoPros out on the trail and in all areas of life (lot of motorcycles seem to have em on their helmets). Do you like yours?

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Cool, I have been seeing more GoPros out on the trail and in all areas of life (lot of motorcycles seem to have em on their helmets). Do you like yours?

I bought the GoPro for my husband. He's a ski instructor and he videos his clients then makes a little movie for them. I have to laugh thinking of one day when we were skiing and he was wearing the GoPro behind me. Out of the blue some guy comes skiing across the montain and right into the back of me. The GoPro was on the whole time and all you can see is a white gloved fist reach out and grab the errant skier by the throat. He wasn't 'groovin'.

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