Rose to Brockway Tour

I'd been looking at the Rose-to-Brockway ski tour for a while now. It follows a line that is clean, direct, and high, the start of the tour is 1500' higher than the end, and the route follows a ridge that offers nearly continuous views of Lake Tahoe. It looked superb, at least on the map.

  Ken Ehlers and Lake Tahoe
Ken Ehlers above Lake Tahoe
Our group, myself, Cathy, David, Ken, and Pat, skied it on Saturday, 1/24/98. The tour exceeded my high expectations. We had great weather, great snow (settled powder; our skis were sinking about 5" into it as we broke trail), and the scenery was breathtaking, even when Tahoe wasn't part of the view.

We found some fine slopes for cutting telemark turns on, though we couldn't quite do them justice since we had so far to go in one day. (Idea: a 3000'+ descent down the south rib of Rose Knob, ending up somewhere around Crystal Bay.) The tour was absolutely wonderful, at least until the last hour along the Martis Peak Snowmobile Highway anyway.

Considering how spectacular this tour is, there really isn't anything all that difficult on it. There are a handful of traverses across up-to-30-degree slopes, and some moderate 20-degree climbs and descents, but it was remarkable how consistently mellow the skiing was. We took 7 hours to do the 12-mile route. With firmer snow we could have made better time, but we wouldn't have wanted this one any other way than the conditions we had.

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This tour starts at Tahoe Meadows, which is the meadow about a mile or so from the pass on the Tahoe side of Mt. Rose Summit. Start at the southwest end of the meadow area (if you have the Mt. Rose 15' quad, the starting point is marked as 8569'). The tour ends at the popular winter trailhead 1/2 mile north (the Truckee side) of Brockway Summit, elevation around 7100'. There is roadside parking at both ends of the tour. The tour's average elevation is a nice high 8600'.

  Bob teles above Tahoe
Bob teles above Tahoe
The route: From Tahoe Meadows, head due west up into a small canyon for about a mile or so, to about 8900'. Turn south and ascend to a pass between two unnamed peaks; the pass is at around 9300'. Turn west from there, and contour across the south side of one of the unnamed peaks (and above Mud Lake) to another pass, 9400', just NE of 9696' Rose Knob Peak (attention: "Rose Knob Peak" is different from "Rose Knob"). Go around the north side of Rose Knob Peak and then get back up on the ridge line.

Continue along the ridge towards, and then around the south side of, 9600' Rose Knob. Soon after this, you will approach a big rock pinnacle on the ridge; that's probably Rifle Peak. Go around either side of this (we went around the south side). Just past there, we have a bit of a plateau, and the ridge splits NW and SW. Follow the SW ridge down to the unremarkable 9274' Mt. Baldy.

From Baldy, you need to turn to the northwest, following that ridge down through the trees to where it flattens out around 8400', east of Martis Peak. Drop down to around 8300' and contour around the south side of Martis. (Somewhere around here you'll probably pick up a well-worn snowmobile track to take you where you want to go.) Past Martis, just follow the popular snowmobile trail downhill to the trailhead.

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