Location: South Shore – Lake Tahoe, CA
Duration: 1.5-2 hours
Elevation Change: 2,289′ – from 6,606′ to 8,895′
Recomended Map: Echo Lake, California
Map of General Route:
Echo Peak feels like the little brother to Mt. Tallac to me. It has the same great qualities in a smaller package. Ok parking if we don’t abuse it, East Tree covered ridge to climb, Amazing views, skiing on 3 sides, and some hairball adventure if you want it. Echo is less busy and offers something for every skill level. The Echo Peak Bowls grow great spring corn snow on both sides of the ascent ridge, if it gets cold enough, but I usually go here for powder earlier in the year. There are huge cornices up there and only a few sketchy entrances. Most people will ski back along the same route you climb. I always wish I could stay longer on this big flat summit. You can see the Crystal Range well and also the south slopes of Dick’s and Jack’s Peak in Desolation Wilderness from the summit. You can see Tahoe really well. And you aren’t that tired yet, because it was only 2400′ to climb up there. The otherwise hidden northeast bowls of Ralston Peak and Talking Mountain will probably make it to your wish list when you see them from the top as well. You will probably have it all to yourself as well.
Echo peak is really a high point on a long ridge that includes Flagpole Peak and Angora Peak. Echo Peak gets you pretty close to the center of Desolation Wilderness, but there is no snow on the west slope to help you get there. The easiest and safest way to climb Echo Peak is from a dead end street named Wintoon, off of Lake Tahoe Blvd in South Shore. The homeowners on this street have been friendly towards backcountry access here to my knowledge, but always, always car pool and be quick and quiet in these situations. There may be other dead end streets that work just the same off of N. Upper Truckee Road.
The ascent route is easy to see due to a recent fire. Look at the peak from your car, and spot the prominent, tree covered East Ridge. To find your car, you will want to remember some landmarks or use your phone.
Extreme backcountry skiers will wander off towards the north facing Indian Cliff Chutes, but you’ll have to skin all the way back up to Echo Peak. Read about that rad area under the Angora Peak route description.
If the Fallen Leaf Lake Road is plowed, you could leave a car at the end by the fire station and climb the East side of Echo Peak from Wintoon, for a tour over the mountain. If you’ve read through this guide, you know what I generally think of car shuttles however. Too much time wasted driving around, when you could be skiing. I do however recommend ski tours where you experience and learn the most amount of terrain possible. I knew some guys who would do an annual car shuttle so they would ski the north side of Ralston Peak or Talking Mountain from hwy 50, and keep going over Echo Peak. I’ll have to try that sometime in a long day.
Some of our crew from The BackCountry skied Echo Peak with me on 3/17/17. We parked at the end of Wintoon Circle which was plowed out well, and skied both the North and East sides. We found great dry boot deep powder a week after the last snowfall. The steep Indian Cliff Chutes like A line and Hall of Gods was wind hardened, but the steep tree chutes just skiers left of that was money. Skinning back up is never that fun, and it’s a bit exposed back there in the wrong conditions. Thanks for the company to Paul, Brad,… Read more »
testing out new REPLY with PHOTO upload feature. These pics are from Feb 21, 2021. I do at least one Echo Peak tour every year. If I lived in south shore, I would aim for this neighborhood. We found good old pow in sheltered N and NE but really didn’t care what was out there. We knew it would be a beautiful day in the mountains with fun people!
March 27, 2020 shop staff trip on Echo with Tim, Nelly, Stevo, Gabe. It was thin snow cover and we skipped the chutes. There are some cliffs to weave around near the bottom of the north side thst are fun to figure out. Climb back up and over to the front side
to get back to Wintoon street.
here are some pics from a few days ago, 1-27-23. We have double the normal snowpack as of today, but slides during the big storms raked the coverage away and winds scoured most of Tahoe into oblivion this week.Good thing it’s snowing again tomorrow! I went over Echo Peak to the north side to scope around with Taude and Jen. We are preparing for a Canada BC hut trip next week. it will really get good in Tahoe because I’m leaving. That’s what happened last year. Desolation looks really white right now and it’s not Feb yet.