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Home - Hiking - Ralston Peak

Ralston Peak

The Vitals; Elevation- 9,235
click here for topo map click here for the Ralston Gallery

Ralston Peak is the largest peak on a ridgeline that runs east to west from the mouth of Echo Lake to Desolation Valley and Lake of the Woods. There are many ways to get at the peak, none of which are very difficult. The easiest route is to take the boat taxi across to meet the trail at the far end of Echo Lakes. You can take the trail all the way to the NE Ridge for the easiest (longest) way up or you can head past Tamarack and Ralston Lakes and scramble up to the Northeast Ridge. Another way up is from Camp Sacramento and this is only a bit shorter than leaving from the Echo lakes parking lot, but at least you get 900 more vertical feet. It is a nice hike though and the way back down is almost completely downhill making it a quick out. This route is best for getting in during the winter as Echo Lakes Road is not plowed all the way up and this access gives you a way in on the less avalanche prone South facing slopes. The entire ridgeline from Echo Lake to ralston has North facing slopes that can hold snow well into June. This, and relatively easy roadside access make Ralston a popular winter destination too. Directly off the peak there are some southeast facing slopes that will corn up nicely in the spring. The view from the top of Ralston is one of the best around, with stunning lake views on three sides. I can't wait to get back there this winter for some ski pictures.
Yet another way up starts at the pull off just west of Sierra at Tahoe. This presents a very easy and fast way up when the conditions are right. It does take you through an avalanche prone bowl though so be careful. When avalanche conditions exist you can still start here and bear up along the trees on lookers right side of the bowl but it eliminates the fast part. As you head into the woods you will notice a road that heads to an abandoned cabin. After the cabin follow the stream bed until you reach the open bowl, then choose a safe route.

When entering the backcountry, proper precautions should be taken, including avalanche beacon and the know-how to use it, shovel, compass or GPS, friend, weather information, and common sense. Click here for thelatest avalanche advisory info. You can also find more info on our gear pages.

Ride Aware, It's Big out there!


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Last Updated December 2, 2008