Super fun day on Maggie’s Peak North, almost a week after the last storm – and we still found knee-deep pow.
Maggie’s North and South Peaks tower over Emerald Bay, split in the middle by Granite Lake and a narrow saddle. We happened through this area two years ago on our way to and from Dicks Lake. At the time there wasn’t much snow, so we hiked most of the route and only got to ski part of Maggie’s South. We knew then we’d have to return if the conditions ever lined up.
Today, with an excellent snowpack, we parked at the Bayview TH and headed up. The route gains elevation quickly and we found ourselves above Granite Lake and almost to the saddle in less than an hour. Our route gained the saddle between the two peaks, then skirted along the ridge up to the North Peak. In retrospect it would be faster to go straight up the South Face/ East Ridge, but it was still a quick tour, on top in 1:15.
The views were some of the best in Tahoe, or maybe anywhere we’ve been. To the North lies a set of classic chutes that cut through steep granite to Lake Tahoe. To the East is pristine Emerald Bay, clear, blue/green water that draws flocks of tourists most of the year. To the South stand Tallac and Dick’s Peak, the two dominate peaks of the skyline. West is Desolation Wilderness, full of big cliffs, snow covered lakes and cascading Eagle Falls.
After a quick lunch we looked for a reasonable decent. We’d read there’s a line that should drop North toward the Eagle Falls TH, but it’s hard to tell from the summit if the route end in cliffs or opens into rideable terrain. We slowly poked over the blind roll until we found what looked like a passage through the cliffs. Jake and Sara took riders right to a safe spot above the chute and felt confident it would go. Connor got to drop riders left into steep, untouched, boot top powder. This upper section had some of the best turns all year.
We picked our way down, leap frogging each other in case anything happened (avalanche, crash, etc.), and eventually made it into less steep and more heavily treed middle section. It was still hard to tell if the route ended in cliffs or made it to the road, so we played it safe, riding a couple hundred feet at a time and assessing as we went. Eventually we found a visual all the way to a creek at the bottom of the face. We rode down and high fived at the bottom – what a route!
Well, we weren’t done. After two failed attempts to find an easy spot to cross the creek, we made it to an area of thick slide alder that looked crossable. Connor Ginny pig’d the final step/jump from a half submerged alder to a snowy alder on the other side. Everything went well until his foot slipped, dropping a foot into the creek. He pulled hard on the other branches and flew out, ready to be done with the water. Jake and Sara followed, both getting a bit wet but no disasters. We hitched a ride from Eagle Falls back to Bayview and were done! Great route – would 100% do it again.