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Backcountry Skiing on Waterhouse Peak

The Vitals elev.-9,497 Rock-Granite Southern Tip of the Carson Range
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Waterhouse Peak is one of the most popular destinations for the South Shore backcountry crowd. Its just out of town on Highway 89 at Luther Pass. The hike up starts just off the road and is not very difficult. After climbing the 1,700+ feet vertical you reach the top of what is not really Waterhouse Peak, but a sub peak with elevation of 9380. From here you have the choice of a cliff laden concave bowl with a range of exposures, or the north facing widely spaced trees which typically catch and hold the snow from the Sierra storms. It's a quick tour so many do it two or three times when it's good. The area is also fairly sheltered so it can be a good choice on stormy days. The views are excellent (or so I'm told, I've never had vis) and include Lake Tahoe.
Another option is to ski the actual Waterhouse Peak which involves parking at the east end of Luther Pass. The hike in is easier, but longer. The snow also holds well here but the skiing is lower angle and it does get a tad more sun. However, when conditions are right there is a gully on the eastern flank of Waterhouse proper that runs all the way down to Highway 88, giving you roughly 2400 feet of vertical. we did this February 18, 2005 and it was delightful. Unfortunately, we parked at the bridge rather than the Scott's Lake road so we had a bit of a hoof at the end of our journey.

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.

Ski Aware, It's Big out there.

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Last Updated April 22, 2008