Five-Star Trails: Lake Tahoe: 40 Unforgettable Hikes in the Central Sierra Nevada
by Jordan Summers (Menasha Ridge Press)
© 2016 Jordan Summers/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.
level strenuous (5?), 7.4 mi, 4100+ elev gain, 9983' elev at highest
Pyramid Peak is 3.7 miles from the trailhead The elevation gain is about 4400 feet over that 3.7 miles. Then you have to hike back down – total 7.4 miles. OK, first of all, this hike was 4.6 miles in - you hike forever before you even see Pyramid Peak! We finally got a glimpse of it after 3 hours! The hike takes off from hwy 50 and starts off with a good mile of steep hike. After a long while it eases up a bit with smaller sections of steep incline. The trail was easy to find once we got on it. As we got nearer the top we were surprised when we found ourselves in a grove of low pines and again couldn't see the peak. As we finally broke out of the tree line we were facing the rock pile known as Pyramid Peak. Now to give you an idea of how difficult this rock pile is, imagine an enormous pile of junk yard vehicles - stacked 450 feet high - that you have to maneuver around, over and through them all in a steady climb up. Now, imagine the huge gaps that are potential leg breakers between the chunks of vehicles. Now imagine that every once in a while when you land on what you think will be sturdy, the thing your standing on wiggles under your weight giving the instant thought of the entire 450' pile crashing down on you. Now imagine you have a 15lb back pack and the wind is trying to shove you down at about 60mph so even if you could stand up, you don't dare to. That about explains my next hour of climbing! None of us realized just how much elevation gain 4100' was on the way up, but we were all feeling it on the way down! every step meant sliding forward in your boots a little more, calves screaming, hips sick of maneuvering the fallen trees.
Rocky Canyon Route is the way to do this mountain. I have attempted Pyramid peak before from Horsetail and failed. Rocky canyon route is a clear, well marked single track dirt trail all but the last 400 vertical feet which is good fun bouldering. Some sections are very very steep, so when the bouldering came I was very happy! Great trail. Bring lots of food and at least 3 liters of water. I went through 4 and could have had more!
This trail is amazing, definitely extra straneous, bring lots of food and water, especially if you are going to be hiking on a warm day. One complain we had is that the guide states that 2 faint trails in the begining of the hike are approx. 345 feet east of 43 milestone, which is incorrect, they are almost directly across the highway from the 43 milestone, so this made it very difficualt to find the trail at first, but once we did, the trail is very clear and easy to follow.
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