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Mt Rose

Location: Mt. Rose Wilderness – Lake Tahoe, NV
Duration: 2 – 3 hours
Elevation Change: 2,176′ – from 8,600′ to 10,776′
Recommended Map: Mt. Rose, Nevada

Elevation Profile:

Mt Rose Elevation Profile


Map of General Route:

Mt Rose Topo Map

The Mount Rose Wilderness Area is a backcountry winter wonderland. Access is easy from the top of hwy 431, above the Northeast Shore of Lake Tahoe. With a high elevation start at 8,000’, you can count on Mount Rose for producing the deepest and driest snow in the region. Spend the day exploring a number of small sub peaks near the car, or go for the summit for a stark contrasting view of the Tahoe basin and Nevada high desert. The peak itself is often wind scoured, and usually a goal for adventure and views. Have a local show you the better routes to wind through this area, or study the map closely to grasp the possibilities. Climbing halfway up the south side of Mount Rose Peak will reveal major ski touring options. Buy a lift ticket at Mt. Rose ski area across the street one day for more views of your backcountry options.

The most popular skiing in the Mount Rose Wilderness is Tamarack Peak.  It’s a 1000′ climb from the car and has great views back to Lake Tahoe. Tamarack offers excellent ski descents on all sides actually, including the popular Hourglass Bowl facing NE. This is the best bang for your buck, and surprised locals with a huge climax slide in 05. There is a nice, low angle and peaceful cruise on the west slope, and plenty of treed ridges in the area if you are not sure of avalanche danger. If you parked near Tamarack Lake, returning to you car may require a glance at a map. You can’t see the road at any point through the trees, but there are usually tracks to follow. Listen for road noise.

For a really long and low angle ski tour, skin from the hwy 431 Tahoe Meadows area to Relay Peak. Your hard work will earn you a huge view of Lake Tahoe, and most of it’s surrounding mountains. Look to the East for another awesome view of the greater Mt. Rose area. You will have to share this zone with snowmobiles, so you might want to avoid going on the weekend.

Mt. Rose Peak Proper offers fast growing corn snow on the south side, steep southeast chutes that sometimes fill in, and mellow east-facing trees above Sky Tavern. Avoid getting sucked into the Galena Creek Drainage if you go touring on the east slopes, and remember you’ll have to traverse back around the mountain and stay high enough to reach your car. Or, leave a car near the Sky Tavern Ski Area and do a car shuttle for extra vertical.




  1. Mike

    Here are some pics from 12/13/17. Chester and I skied N side of Tamarack Peak and South side of Houghton. Smooth Corn in the sun and fairly firm tracked out on Tamarack as expected of course. Only one other party on the hill and some cool clouds over the lake. Chester is 9 and this is probably his last say ski touring with me.

    • William Pleskow

      These pictures are awesome !

  2. Mike

    Today on Christmas day Ryder and Steph skinned and skied some extreme terrain with me in between Relay Peak and Incline Peak. Crossing creeks, skirting rocks and logs, and travelling a steep ridge the whole way rather than choosing the easy drainages. They did great!

  3. Mike Schwartz

    Jan 18 2018 was a great powder day in the Mt. Rose BackCountry. Paul and Caleb from the shop went with me out to the prow of Mt. Houghton on a great half day loop.

  4. Mike Selby

    You neglected to mention here two very significant pieces of information. Point Number One: Due to terrain, wind loading, aspect and elevation this region is oftentimes one of the most dangerous places in Tahoe to ski due to persistent avalanche conditions. We have seen crowns of up to eight feet rip thousands of feet in these gulches with debris fields thirty to forty feet deep and spanning a hundred yards.

    Point Number Two: Skiing or boarding out of Davis Creek can be a harrowing and life threatening experience if there is not sufficient low snow (and there is not 99% of the time). Friends of ours were benighted in the manzanita in extremely steep rocky terrain that didn’t have enough snow to ski but way too much snow to walk out of. Their trip was 19 hours long and they were suffering from hypothermia when they finally came out in a drizzle.

    Washoe County Search and Rescue get many many call outs for rescue in this area and risk their lives to save others that may be heading this direction due to your advertising.

    If you are going to advertise that people ski in this area you should at the very least alert them to the many hazards. Anything less is reckless and irresponsible backcountry advertising in my humble opinion.


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